Now it’s time to review a few more technical fault moments that I have watched on YouTube, this time ones that happened in Britain when our enjoyment is somewhat suddenly interrupted.
Sometimes technical problems can’t be helped. In 2000 and 2001 the BBC had a major power failure which meant that all their channels went off air. This meant that all sorts of bizarre things began to happen such as testcards appearing on BBC News 24 and the news on BBC1 having to come from a different studio. The failure in 2000 happened just before a crucial England match at Euro 2000, meaning that the local news was replaced by a random episode of Dad’s Army before we joined the coverage earlier than expected.
Another reason that things can go wrong is when strikes happen. Sometimes channels try to stay on the air but when all the technicians have walked out strange things can still happen when you get the tea lady pressing the buttons and you get the wrong episodes of shows appearing.
One of my favourite howlers from ITV is the start-up from Tyne Tees on Christmas Day 1982 which really is a classic. After the ident, we then get a blank screen followed by some colour bars and beeping. When announcer Colin Weston finally appears (seemingly moonlighting from Granada) we can’t hear him and he has to be told to put his microphone on. He was going to wish us all a Merry Christmas but it’s all gone wrong. He got his hat ready for nothing and he looks suitably embarrassed. Maybe they’d started on the eggnog early in the gallery.
Another odd fault that I came across recently was during the ITV game show Cluedo in 1991, an adaptation of the famous mystery board game. The picture suddenly disappears so we get a couple of minutes of music as the rather flustered announcer assures us that we’ll return to the show as soon as possible. Just as Thames must have considered pulling a Bugs Bunny cartoon off the shelf to fill the gap, they do manage to return. This series was hosted by Chris Tarrant who according to UKGameshows.com said that it was the worst thing that he’d ever done in his career saying “we used to have to turn the studio audience over just to make sure they didn’t get any bed sores”, so it seems that we didn’t miss much.
There are lots of other reasons that faults can happen too including the picture suddenly rewinding or VT clocks accidentally being put to air which is always considered a real no-no and an interesting way to resign. This is the final part for now but if I ever find any more interesting and bizarre technical fault moments from various channels I’ll share them here.
UPDATE: I’ve had a request to add links to the YouTube technical fault videos featured in this piece. Here’s a 12 minute clip from the BBC1 power failure in 2001: https://youtube.com/watch?v=y_n3Cxe2Ix4 The Tyne Tees fault: https://youtube.com/watch?v=rSw2HKRtg68 The fault during Cluedo (starts at about 7:55): https://youtube.com/watch?v=V84TL0KXnbg Plus also the fault during a 1991 advert break which is where the clock picture comes from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAMdcgSkOyI