Fields of wheat, number blunders... and Lord Bell's phone: Six biggest car-crash interviews of 2017

From Amanda Holden's moon rock gaff to Diane Abbott's numerical mishaps and Piers Morgan forgetting names - this year has seen no let up in the number of cringe-worthy media interviews. Here are six of the best (or worst).

Lord Bell’s phone farce

It had to be, didn’t it? Lord Bell’s excrutiating grilling by Kirsty Wark on Newsnight about the demise of Bell Pottinger will live in infamy for years to come, largely due to the bizarre moments when the interview is disrupted by the ringing of Bell’s mobile phone.

The most surreal incident came when the legendary PR man shows his phone to Wark to, one assumes, reveal the identity of the caller. Rumours abound as to who that could be, with Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson and various clients in the frame.

Inevitably, some people had fun speculating about the caller's identity:

Diane Abbott’s numbers nightmare

It’s not the first time a Ferrari has been involved in a car crash, but blame for this figurative automotive pile-up lies with the other party.

Several senior politicians, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jeremy Corbyn, struggled with numbers when interviewed ahead of the 2017 general election. However, Labour’s shadow health secretary’s numerical meltdown is the most memorable.

Talking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari about Labour’s plan to recruit 10,000 extra police officers, Diane Abbott initially put the cost at £300,000. Pressed on the numbers, a flustered Abbott corrected herself, saying it would be about £80m. She was told that would mean paying officers just £8,000 per year. Painful deliberation followed - later reports of ill health could not undo the damage.

The wheat is on for Theresa May

Among the Prime Minister’s numerous PR missteps this year, this interview with ITV News’ Julie Etchingham does not rank as the worst. However, for sheer hands-over-ears awkwardness, it stands out.

Asked what the naughtiest thing she had ever done was, Theresa May said she used to "run through fields of wheat" with a friend and that the local farmers "weren't too pleased about that". Cue ridicule and memes galore.

'You don’t know that?'

Staying with politics, across the pond Ted Crockett, a spokesman for recently defeated Alabama senate hopeful Roy Moore, had a rabbit-in-headlights moment when corrected on a point of fact about whether an elected official must swear on the Bible.

Luna lunacy

It’s not always interviewees who are guilty of producing cringe-worthy moments. Amanda Holden caused much mirth on ITV’s This Morning when she asked astronaut Tim Peake if he had stolen a rock as a souvenir during his visit to the moon.

Unfortunately, Peake never set foot on the moon (and no one has done for 45 years, aside from Wallace and Gromit).

Piers Morgan’s name shame

Not much humour in this interview on Good Morning Britain, but certainly much awkwardness caused by interviewer Piers Morgan getting the facts wrong. Speaking to five year-old Pride of Britain winner Suzie McCash, who saved her mother's life after she collapsed at home and stopped breathing, Morgan repeatedly referred to the child as 'Rowena' (the name of her mother) until he was corrected via his earpiece.

Video of the incident is not available, but here's a blow-by-blow write-up in case you're not maxed out on the awks.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in