A pensioner from Exmouth made headlines last week for unwittingly cultivating a 5ft cannabis plant in her garden – and, ahem, grassing herself up on her local radio phone-in. Patricia Hewitson, 65, called BBC Radio Devon’s horticultural show – aptly named The Potting Shed – for help identifying “a weed” giving off a “sickly, sweet pong”. Told live on air what it was, she replied: “Oh dear.” Here are four other recent phone-in faux-pas…
Sent to Coventry
An irate Coventry City fan called up BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio to moan about his team’s performance last season – without realising they’d won with two late goals. The supporter was under the impression the Sky Blues had drawn 0-0 against Crewe. After a rambling rant, “Dan” admitted he’d left the match a few minutes early. When presenters Stuart Linnell and Clive Eakin told him the final score was actually 2-0, he still insisted: “I’m not having that.”
Now then, now then
In 2012, a joke text about sex offender Jimmy Savile fooled BBC Radio Ulster. Discussing the disgraced star, presenter Karen Patterson quoted listener texts. One of the messages she read out said: “I wish everyone would stop criticising Jimmy Savile. He was a nice man. When I was eight, he fixed it for me to milk a cow blindfolded.” Upon learning the text was a prank, Patterson apologised and called it “a genuine mistake”.
Bo-Jo loses mojo
Lovable, labrador-like London mayor Boris Johnson fell foul of an LBC phone-in last year by humiliating himself in a quiz. His Eton and Oxford education didn’t help when asked the cost of a tube fare from Angel to London Bridge live on air. After umm-ing and aah-ing for an awkward two minutes, he then also failed an IQ-style test by getting two questions wrong and refusing to answer a third. “No one said IQ is the only measure of ability,” he huffed. Except this was his first public appearance since suggesting poor people fail in life because of low IQs. Oh, Bozza.
Strange things happen in the fictional Fargo – and strange phone-ins happen in the real Fargo, too. In 2012, “Donna” called the Morning Playhouse programme on North Dakota radio station Y94 to voice her concerns about deer crossings on local highways. In two years she’d had three deer-related car accidents shortly after passing a “deer crossing” sign. Her solution? The authorities should move the signs to less busy roads, encouraging the deer to cross elsewhere. The giggling host replied: “Are you kidding?”
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