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Watch a BBC Anchor Stare into Space for Four Minutes on Live TV

The technical glitch resulted in what could be an upcoming 'Planet Earth' episode on the daily habits of humans in the newsroom.
22 June 2017, 4:02pm

A technical glitch during BBC's News at Ten Tuesday night turned four minutes of what should have been a normal nightly news program into strangely beautiful slow TV.

As Gizmodo points out, the glitch got the feed caught in some kind of loop: First, a "breaking news" intro graphic flashed on-screen, then it cut to host Huw Edwards at his desk. But there wasn't the usual musical tag fanfare that leads into a new report. It was just silent. Edwards wasn't talking, or even looking directly into the lens. He sat at his desk, staring off into space, biding his time, unaware he was live. Then the "breaking news" graphic popped back on-screen, and the whole process repeated itself.

It went on and on like this for minutes, periodically cutting random B-roll shots from other BBC segments into the mix, like some algorithm programmed to cut according to Eistenstein's theory of montage.

When the BBC IT guys eventually straightened out the bizarre issues in the control room, Edwards apologized for the "technical problems" and got on with the show.

The Guardian reports that BBC news editor Paul Royall blamed the mistake on a "technical system crash" and they had to frantically swap over to a backup system to get things back on track.

Edwards had a feeling that something was up when he saw the crew freaking out on set, he later told Radio 4, so he played it chill. Sensing "he might be on" the air, he did "the most conservative approach possible" and skimmed through his notes while probably trying not to pick his nose and give the world a great GIF opportunity.

Ultimately, the whole debacle only lasted four minutes and wasn't some big catastrophe—but it left us with mesmerizing footage that looks like a Koyaanisqatsi DVD extra or a promo for Planet Earth's upcoming episode on the daily habits of humans in the newsroom. Still, it's definitely not the strangest thing that's happened on a BBC broadcast. Give it a watch above.