The twenty four hour news channels are brilliant late at night, as the work experience guys are firmly in charge. The interns. Maybe even members of the public who’ve randomly got in there, pissed, to twiddle with knobs. The proper staff, the guys who know what they’re doing, take one look at the request that they might want to work after midnight, and laugh hysterically as if such a thought was the biggest joke since Eurovision. It’s the only explanation for the car crash that emerges.
Late night news is a strictly amateur operation, a testbed for stars of the future. At least, that’s the theory. More often than not, it’s a story of autocues not working, reports refusing to appear, presenters having all the skills of a hyena trying to keep a straight face, and the wrong captions appearing beneath interviewees (all endless fodder for the following week’s edition of Have I Got News For You).
Tonight’s sports bulletin on the BBC News Channel was a perfect example, featuring as it did a simple report on Andy Murray’s match in the French Open tennis. It seemed to go fine: a good link, followed by a comprehensive round-up of the encounter. The only problem was that Murray had just played his THIRD round match, while the report shown was about his SECOND round. I thought the score was a bit weird, because only five minutes beforehand I’d read the real match report on the BBC Sport website and it bore no relation to what I was seeing!
When the item ended and they cut back to the studio, I could tell that the presenter knew something was wrong (producer screaming into her ear, maybe?), but she waffled about the sports bulletin “overrunning” rather than apologising for showing a blatantly out of date report. But that’s late night news for you. Not even in the same bloody time period.