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BBC Technical Glitch Leaves TV Presenter In Silence (theguardian.com) 56

Viewers of BBC's News at Ten were entranced last night when a glitch in its system produced over four minutes of surreal beauty. Two readers share a report: Huw Edwards was left sitting in silence for four minutes at the start of BBC News at Ten on Tuesday night after a technical fault delayed the start of the programme and bemused viewers. Viewers on some devices and channels were left watching the presenter sitting in silence as he waited for his cue to start. The BBC News Channel showed Edwards sitting mute for the entirety of the delay, while BBC1 put up a message apologising for the fault and played saxophone music. On BBC iPlayer an announcer apologised for the glitch and breaking news alerts also appeared during the delay. When the programme started at 22:04, Edwards apologised for what he described as a "few technical problems." The presenter said on Wednesday that nobody had told him he was on air until two minutes into the delay. However, Edwards told Radio 4's The Media Show that he "sensed I might be on" so took "the most conservative approach possible" and sat at his desk reading his notes before the bulletin started. BBC hasn't shared more about those "technical glitches." You can watch the clip here.
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BBC Technical Glitch Leaves TV Presenter In Silence

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  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @03:50PM (#54670805)
    If this story is real or somehow relevant to Slashdot then the network should be criticized for not preparing for this sort of event.
    • That's exactly right. If something like this happens, there should be a contingency to switch to full manual control (even if "manual" still belongs in quotation marks). They spent way too long trying to fix it on the spot when they should have just bypassed the whole thing.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @04:38PM (#54671081)

      BBC Radio actually does have a backup system (or used to) that involved DAT players, and a system that would run them should it detect more than 2 minutes of silence. This became an issue when they wanted to broadcast a performance of John Cage's 4'33" [wikipedia.org]. The subtle sounds of the orchestra turning the pages and the crowd noise was not sufficient to reset the watchdog, so it had to be temporarily disabled for the duration of the broadcast.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mrbester ( 200927 )

        It's part of the licence to broadcast radio 24hrs a day that there be no more than *20s* of dead air. Nearly every commercial radio station in UK has had incidents where a crossover didn't happen or a track didn't play and after total silence suddenly unannounced music will start.

        Also because of these regulations, the two minutes silence on Armistice Day has the gain turned up to eleven so you can hear traffic from six streets away and the slightest breeze rustling leaves on the trees.

        • by Strider- ( 39683 )

          Also, BBC 4 used to be part of the UK Nuclear deterrence system. If a submarine commander thought that the UK had been attacked, one of the tests was to check whether BBC Radio 4 was still broadcasting.

          • Also, BBC 4 used to be part of the UK Nuclear deterrence system. If a submarine commander thought that the UK had been attacked, one of the tests was to check whether BBC Radio 4 was still broadcasting.

            Ah, so that's why Just a Minute has been going as long as it has. Nicholas Parsons, the dead man's switch for the free world!

      • us radio station have an weather alert automation if some does not hit the button when reading it out live.

  • A refreshing change. He's normally a right Welsh windbag.

  • BBC1 put up a message apologising for the fault and played saxophone music.

    Let me guess... [youtube.com]

  • by pj2541 ( 600359 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @04:00PM (#54670865)
    Otherwise known as the theme song to the Benny Hill Program.
  • OH. MY. GOD!

    BBC1 put up a message apologising for the fault and played saxophone music.

    It had better have been the Smooth Jazz Pink Floyd Greatest Hits...

  • "You can watch the clip here."

    With every bit of entertainment available to everyone around the world at a moment's notice, why would anyone in this ADHD age want to watch a man sitting at a desk, doing nothing, and saying nothing, for FOUR MINUTES?
    • It's kind of funny to watch the "Breaking News" glitches. Besides, years ago they invented this thing called "Fast Forward", so you can kind of scan the video for anything that looks amusing.

    • why would anyone in this ADHD age want to watch a man sitting at a desk, doing nothing, and saying nothing, for FOUR MINUTES?

      This would have been the appropriate background music:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • With every bit of entertainment available to everyone around the world at a moment's notice, why would anyone in this ADHD age want to watch a man sitting at a desk, doing nothing, and saying nothing, for FOUR MINUTES?

      I watched it while listening to Yakety Sax, as suggested elsewhere, and the experience compared favourably to sitting through Rogue One for over 2 hours (the last movie I went to). The best part of that was when Darth Vader said "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations", while using the f

  • News station manages to go 4 whole minutes without lying.

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