Today's weather will be mostly dry, with scattered profanity...

BBC presenter gives one-fingered salute

Jonathan Brown
Wednesday 18 August 2010 00:00 BST

It was Oscar Wilde who described conversation about the weather as the last refuge of the unimaginative. But then he had never met Tomasz "Shufflepants" Schafernaker.

Since joining the BBC a decade ago the Polish-born meteorologist has outraged the Scots by describing the Outer Hebrides as "nowheresville", collapsed into fits of giggles after predicting "muddy shite" for a rain-lashed Glastonbury and turned on a whole new audience to the delights of his occluded front by revealing his bulging pecs and rippling abs while posing in a pair of skimpy shorts for a magazine.

Schafernaker's latest exploit on the rolling News Channel was yesterday earning him thousands of hits on the internet after he was caught delivering a one-fingered salute to the BBC news anchor Simon McCoy after McCoy's bantering ironic suggestion that his forecast would be "100 per cent accurate and provide you with all the details you could possibly want".

Schafernaker, 31, is seen flipping the presenter the bird and then appears to hide his hand in his mouth, as if trying to destroy the evidence, as McCoy's co-presenter Fiona Armstrong squeals in dismay.

McCoy, a former BBC royal correspondent, tries to gloss over the incident remarking: "Every now and again there's always a mistake and that was it." A BBC spokesman said the Corporation was sorry if anyone had been upset by the brief incident yesterday morning: "Tomasz was not aware that he was on air, and whilst the gesture was only shown for a second, it was not acceptable. The News Channel presenter live in the studio acknowledged a mistake had been made, and we apologise for any offence caused."

The dozens of Schafernaker video clips running on YouTube bear testament to the forecaster's growing celebrity, though the BBC insists he remains a serious scientist having joined the Weather Centre as a broadcast assistant in 2000 with a degree in meteorology from Reading University and, at 22, becoming the youngest man to present the regional forecast.

As well as being a civil forecaster he has also undertaken training at RAF Lyneham in aviation forecasting and this year was named best TV weather presenter at the Tric (Television and Radio Industries Club) Awards.

But it was his stripped-off appearance on the front cover of Attitude which saw him live up to his BBC nickname of Shufflepants. One BBC insider at the time remarked: "Let's just say that everyone is seeing Tomasz in a different light now. But we are worried that when people are watching the weather they will not be able to concentrate on watching the symbols."

This is not the first time banter between McCoy and Schafernaker has led to embarrassment. During a cold snap, the newsreader handed over with the line: "You've got a frozen ball there", referring to an on-screen snowball graphic. "Ooh, just the one", Schafernaker replied, before bringing a hand to his mouth and giggling. After composing himself, he ended his forecast saying: "Apologies for the giggling earlier on. I swear it's not my fault."

See Schafernaker's gaffe:

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