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A Post-Match Analysis of the BBC's Bill Turnbull Saying "Cunt" Live on TV This Morning

The news reader's gaffe will go down in Vine history.

af Joel Golby
21 juli 2015, 11:28am

This is a screengrab of Bill Turnbull saying "cunt" (Photo via Vine)

Big Billy Turnbull saying "cunt", there. Take a look. Roll around in it. Revel in it. Drape yourself in it like velvet. Eat it up like veal. It is delicious, this moment, and rare. Bill Turnbull straight up saying the C-word, at barely 9AM in the morning. This is a glass of gold top milk served on a sunny balcony. This is decadence and excess. This is caviar served on a dirty cracker. This is Bill Turnbull saying "cunt":

"'I regularly speak to clients about illness and pass the knowledge on to other–" and then a pause, a pause as wide and smooth as a glassy lake, a pause that contains an entire world, a pause like Michael Jordan hanging in the air "– cunts, er, clients as well.'"

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The Turnbull Truthers among us – and we are legion, we are many, we have more than one IRC chatroom of which I am all-seeing mod and admin – the Turnbull Truthers see the pause as indicative of Bill throwing in the breezy breakfast TV towel. He planned this from afar, the news story about public health was Hiroshima and Bill Turnbull saying "cunt" was the A-bomb.

We believe that Bill Turnbull has had absolutely fucking enough of Susannah Reid getting the breakfast TV headlines for semi-erotically eating Angel Delight off her finger, and he's gone fully rogue. We believe that Turnbull said "cunt" as a sort of informal and viral resignation letter to the BBC, the twist of the knife that signals the end, that he is ready to get up at 7AM instead of 5AM for once, that he has had enough of reading the morning 'papers and then turning to Peter Andre and saying, "Cancer: what are your thoughts?"


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I suppose the wider issue here is that moments of humiliation and embarrassment have the ability, now, to become large and huge and noteworthy; that five, ten years ago, Bill Turnbull would have been able to conflate the words "client" and "customer" while reading off a sheet of A4 and end up with "cunt", and he would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for these pesky kids, with their Vines, with their smartphones. In the olden days, Bill Turnbull would have been able to get home just in time for some cheeky pre-lunch tea and biscuits without the wincing knowledge that he'd just said "cunt" really loudly on breakfast television. But it is no longer thus. There is always somebody around to Vine it. This is the cultural pyramid which we have built, and we will die and be buried in it.

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What's so bad about saying "cunt", anyway? It's a blunt and guttural word, granted, and with connotations thicker and more complex than we have time to wade into here, but maybe that's what Bill Turnbull is saying: when he says casually "cunt" and flicks the lapel of his jacket, he is reclaiming the word from the mouths of oppressors, he is saying, "It's just a deep, bad consonant sound. Nothing else." He is saying: "Words only have power if you let them. I regularly speak to clients about illness and pass the knowledge on to other cunts." History will be kind to Bill Turnbull over that time he said "cunt" on live breakfast TV. History will be kinder than the current Metro homepage.

But until then think of Bill, Bill Turnbull wending and wefting through grey BBC corridors before making it to his dressing room and sobbing, Bill Turnbull saying "FUCK!", Bill Turnbull saying, "FUCKING HELL!", Bill Turnbull knowing that he said "cunt" and that saying cunt is bad, Bill Turnbull already seeing the headlines flash before his eyes before the first Vine has even hit 100,000 loops – "Breakfast's Bill Turnbull just said the C-word on live TV", "Bill Turnbull says C-word live on BBC Breakfast during discussion about cancer" – Bill Turnbull anticipating the meetings with those pony-tailed producers he so dislikes, the ones who say, "We're already up against it with Susannah defecting to ITV, Bill" – Bill knowing this, Bill missing Susannah every day – producers saying, "We really need you to stop saying 'cunt' on BBC Breakfast, and maybe try erotically eating blancmange-like puddings instead," Bill trying to explain but the words sticking in his throat, Bill sadly calling his wife from the smoking area outside MediaCity and assuring her he's OK, Bill tweeting something fun and breezy about the whole affair, Bill secretly feeling like he's been punched in the chest, Bill sitting in the toilet on the train home and just staring. Bill Turnbull said "cunt" on BBC One today. Be kind to him about it.

@joelgolby

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