BBC's Radio 4 adds to Jeremy Hunt gaffe with fake MP slip-up

Listeners to Radio 4, the BBC’s flagship “serious” radio channel, will be starting to wonder if some strange virus has swept across production teams and presenters at the venerable and very worthy station.

First of all Today presenter James Naughtie, in what, knowing Jim’s political sympathies, may well have been a Freudian slip, managed to replace the H in Jeremy Hunt’s name with a C, when introducing the Government’s culture secretary to the nation.

This was later compounded by Start the Week presenter Andrew Marr, who when referring to the incident, managed to repeat the error. Another Freudian slip?

Now Radio 4’s latest gaffe is to have carried out a phone interview with a fake MP on The World At One. They chatted to a man claiming to be Lib Dem ministerial aide Mike Crockart, who indicated he would be prepared to resign over the Government’s proposed increase in student tuition fees.

Trouble was the guy on the end of the phone sounded like a “Yorkshireman putting on a squeaky voice”, according to one listener, while the real Crockart has a distinct Scottish accent.

To be fair the BBC wasn’t the only media institution caught out. Later in the day, the London Evening Standard also quoted the impersonator’s resignation threat, which was followed by a correction from the Press Association.

Nevertheless people will be wondering who’s in charge at Radio 4. Maybe it’s time for P D James to give BBC director-general Mark Thompson another grilling.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.