Sex noises on Match of the Day to Brian Cox’s X-rated speech: it’s 2023’s wildest TV moments | Television

It’s been a year of televisual oddities. Be it the most unfortunately-timed countdown by a BBC newsreader ever, a human centipede-style performance at Eurovision or the numerous bits of mangled pronunciation, there has been plenty to make you gawp at your TV in 2023. Here are our favourites.

A middle finger drove the nation wild

BBC presenter gives middle finger live on air – video

Hero of the year? Look no further than Maryam Moshiri on BBC News, whose raised middle finger was accidentally shown in the opening moments of a bulletin, before continuing with “Live from London, this is BBC News”.

After it was picked up by the internet, Moshiri apologised and said that the rude gesture was a behind-the-scenes joke.

While the “defund the BBC” lot tried to turn this event into a stick to beat the broadcaster with, everyone else saw the funny side. The full countdown by Moshiri then leaked, which was somehow even better than the original. Memes superimposed her next to the London Eye counting down to New Year’s midnight and introducing Thunderbirds. Undoubtedly she’ll be booked for multiple end-of-year countdowns.

‘Good evening, Daddy’

This was a year where many newsreaders uttered one thing but definitely meant another. Gareth Barlow on the BBC News channel started a broadcast by saying “I’m watching BBC News.” Instead of saying “enjoy the rugby”, an ITV News Wales presenter said “enjoy the riggbgbgby.” And a Look North presenter ended a bulletin by saying “good boy” instead of “good bye”.

But the most notable slip-up was by Mark Austin on Sky News who, while reporting on the escape of prisoner Daniel Khalife, introduced correspondent Danny Shaw. “Good evening, Daddy,” Austin said, before a swift correction to “Danny”.

Sex noises on Match of the Day

“We apologise to any viewers offended during the live coverage of the football this evening,” said the BBC. “We are investigating how this happened.”

Someone had taped a mobile phone at the back of the studio set during a Wolves v Liverpool game. While Gary Lineker was presenting, they rang it, with the phone’s ringtone set to some very loud sex noises.

In a very British reaction, Lineker and his team continued to present the sex noises for five whole minutes. It was later discovered that the phone was a prank by a YouTuber (of course it was). “Well, we found this taped to the back of the set. As sabotage goes, it was quite amusing,” Lineker tweeted.

Prince Harry’s lookalike

In the phone hacking case, Prince Harry told the court that every single article played a destructive role in his life.

There are no cameras in court so as part of a special programme Sky News has recorded what was said by the Duke, played by an actor.

Watch ☟

— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 6, 2023

In June this year, Prince Harry appeared at the High Court to talk about his experiences at the hands of the tabloid press. As cameras are not allowed in the High Court, Sky News had the daft idea to reconstruct the court exchanges by hiring an actor to repeat his words for a special programme – while looking like a very weird Prince Harry interpreter indeed. “I love how they have ‘Reconstruction’ in the top corner in case people think this is actually Prince Harry,” said the comedian Michael Fry. Thank goodness The Crown ended before it got to 2023, or we’d have had to watch an actor pretending to be an actor pretending to be Prince Harry.

Naga Munchetty loses it

BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty reacting to CCTV footage of a pigeon hitting a man’s head outside a shop can only be described with one word: joy. As co-host Ben Thompson reported on the lighthearted story, and the pigeon was shown thwacking the man’s head again and again, Munchetty corpsed to the extent that she needed her makeup fixed because of tears of laughter. A delight.

Angela Bassett did the thing

At the Bafta film awards in February, Ariana DeBose launched into a freestyle rap celebrating many of the female nominees. The most notable lyrics? “Angela Bassett did the thing / Viola Davis, my woman king.”

The performance had a surprising backlash: some people didn’t like it, but then that backlash got a backlash and a lot of other people said they loved it, especially because of how bizarre and unexpected it was. It was made worse by the fact that the camera cut to the people DeBose was singing about, for their reactions, but far too early; many hadn’t yet registered that it was about them. The following day, DeBose deactivated her Twitter account.

But then, in the words of DeBose talking about the incident on Zoe Ball’s breakfast show … “apparently gay Twitter seemed to like it, and that’s good!” The story also had a happy ending. After days of us all wondering what was the thing Angela Bassett actually did, Bassett won entertainer of the year at a US awards ceremony. “I guess Angela Bassett did the thing!” she enthusiastically told the crowd.

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Samantha steals the show

Kim Cattrall clutches a mobile in the back of a taxi
Kim Cattrall phones it in for the season two finale of And Just Like That …

How likely was it that Kim Cattrall would reprise her role as Samantha in the spinoff of Sex and the City? Considering rumours of a feud with co-star Sarah Jessica Parker had circulated for years – and that, when asked about the revival, Cattrall told Variety, “I’ve come to the conclusion that really the greatest compliment I could have as an actor is to be missed” – unlikely. It didn’t help that Samantha was then crudely written out of the show.

But lo and behold, in the season two finale of And Just Like That, Samantha came back for one beautiful cameo that lasted just over 70 seconds. Samantha calls Carrie from the back seat of a car leaving Heathrow, her flight cancelled because of fog. Reportedly, stranding her character in London meant the showrunners could film the scene without Cattrall having to see any of her fellow co-stars.

In an interview with the Guardian in 2019, she famously said, “I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself.” Thank goodness she gave us this minute, though.

Holly Willoughby’s ‘Firstly, are you OK?

This was the year the often viral This Morning went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Phillip Schofield unexpectedly quit the show, before admitting to an affair with a younger member of the production team. Co-host Willoughby quit not long after, following news of a kidnapping plot made against her.

With the show in damage control mode, it felt as if there wasn’t a day without a very well-rehearsed statement read out by This Morning presenters. The most surreal one, uttered by Willoughby shortly after Schofield quit, started with, “Firstly, are you OK? I hope so.” A question to which viewers answered: “Err, yeah … I’m fine?”

Mel ‘churning butter’ at Eurovision 2023

Eurovision this year was a fever dream (in the best possible way). Just look at the entries … from Finland’s Käärijä, who wore a green bolero jacket and rode a giant human centipede while singing Cha Cha Cha, to Sweden’s Loreen, who won the whole of Eurovision while performing in a panini press.

The interval consisted of Iceland’s Daði Freyr covering Atomic Kitten’s Whole Again. At one point, a giant Peppa Pig fronted a conga. But the highlight was commentator Mel Giedroyc imitating Poland’s iconic 2014 entry We Are Slavic by silently churning butter in the background of a shot.

“Shall we get back to the competition?” said Hannah Waddingham. “No! I want to see Mel churning butter some more,” said co-commentator Graham Norton, losing it behind his microphone.

GB News breaks while breaking the news

This will be shown on journalism training courses for years to come on what happens when someone with no discernible news anchor ability is asked to deal with a breaking story

— Tom Hourigan (@TomHourigan) September 9, 2023

GB News has been so embroiled in scandals and suspending its own presenters this year that it nearly forgot to do what it does best: legendary technical blunders.

That is until they reported on the arrest of prison escapee Daniel Khalife. For GB News host Martin Daubney, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. After telling viewers, for some reason, “This is breaking news – it’s fast, it’s happening,” Daubney couldn’t tell us who had actually been arrested, so panicked and just came up with “terror man” before introducing the wrong guest.

Newsnight’s X-rated final word

We started with a swearing incident, so we might as well end with one. Newsnight has had some rather unusual signoffs over the years, from Emily Maitlis interviewing Cookie Monster to Kirsty Wark recreating Thriller (yes, really). At the end of their final episode of 2023, following a difficult month for the programme after announcements of job cuts, Brian Cox was asked to sign off for the show as Logan Roy from Succession.

“That’s all from Newsnight. We’ll be back in January. I hope you have an amazing festive season wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. And now … just fuck off.” Happy 2023!


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