Skip to main content

Winging It

I see from the Mail on Sunday this morning that a taxi driver showed more “bottle” than me when faced with an almost identical situation in the BBC News studio.

The mystery cabbie man stepped unwittingly into the national spotlight when he was interviewed by mistake on the corporation's News 24 channel. You can watch the video here.

With the seconds ticking down to a studio discussion about a court case involving Apple Computer and The Beatles' record label, a floor manager had run to reception and grabbed the man, thinking he was Guy Kewney, editor of Newswireless.net, a specialist internet publication. I know Guy's work and can confirm that he looks nothing like the ‘black cabbie’ who took his place.

The same thing almost happened to me a couple of years ago in the same studio. I forget what I was in there to talk about but the floor manager marched me into the studio, sat me down next to the news reader and then left.

I had a moment or so before going live; and the weather was running in the gap to the top of the hour news and the anchor turned to me and asked “how long have you been doing knees then?” I looked blank. “Knees?” I replied. “Yes as the team physiotherapist” and he mentioned a Premier League club linked to a major news story of an injured player.

At this point, I wondered if I should “wing it” or tell the truth but buckled under the strain and confessed that I was there for the next story. This caused a brief panic and the running order was quickly changed as there was no time to find the real physio. The black cabbie last week did however do a fantastic job by all accounts and nobody knows who he was.

Perhaps the funniest incident I had was on Sky News at the time of the 3G telephony auction, where the government made ‘squillions’ by selling the licenses to the likes of Vodafone at inflated prices the later regretted and which we will pay for over the next ten years. Sky dragged me in to the studio for another technology story and as a ‘regular’ they didn’t bother checking the content with me before sitting me down in the studio, with a good friend, one of their news anchors, giving the interview.

“I haven’t a clue about all this 3G stuff” he said, with twenty seconds to run, “So I’ll ask you a pretty broad question and you fill up two minutes with your answer.”

“What 3G stuff”, I replied, “I though I was doing ‘x’ today?”

The Sky News music started to play, ten seconds left before going on air. “We’ll have to wing it” he said and thankfully, nobody noticed, which says a great deal about modern news gathering and rather less about the experts!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…