BBC presenters apologise over Hunt name slip-up

James Tapsfield,Pa
Monday 06 December 2010 13:00
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Two BBC presenters have apologised after making the same embarrassing verbal slip over the name of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Jim Naughtie, an anchor on Radio 4's flagship Today programme, accidentally replaced the first letter of Mr Hunt's surname with a "C".

The on-air stumble just before 8am sent Mr Naughtie into a coughing fit, and attracted a slew of emails from listeners who were either amused or angry.

He later issued several apologies for his "Spoonerism" - a reference to Dr William Spooner who was notorious for inappropriately switching letters between words.

"Sometimes things happen in live broadcasting that you deeply regret," Mr Naughtie said. "I hope that all those who were offended by what they heard realise it was completely unintentional."

Posting on social networking site Twitter, Mr Hunt also made light of the incident. "They say prepare for anything before going on Today but that took the biscuit," he wrote. "I was laughing as much as u Jim or shld I say Dr Spooner."

However, within hours colleague Andrew Marr had got in on the act during his Radio 4 cultural discussion programme, Start The Week.

When a conversation on philosophy turned to Freudian slips, the BBC's ex-political editor promised he would not repeat Naughtie's mistake, before doing just that while trying to say "Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary".

"I must apologise for saying it again but it's just very hard to talk about it without saying it," he said.

His error provoked embarrassed laughter from his guests - choreographer Matthew Bourne, dance writer Jennifer Homans, journalist David Aaronovitch and psychotherapist Jane Haynes.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "James and Andrew regret what happened and have both apologised for their verbal tangles on air.

"These instances involved a slip of the tongue during a live broadcast, and we apologise for any offence caused."

News of the mistakes spread like wildfire online, with many people posting recordings - although the "listen again" facility on the BBC website appeared to be experiencing delays.

Writing on Twitter, comedian David Schneider joked: "Bloody hell. Andrew Marr just done a C-word now. It's contagious. Radio Fourettes."

Listen to the slip-up below

Warning: contains strong language

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