A Chauncy for our times
May 14, 2006 8:35 AM   Subscribe

BBC interviews news editor regarding the Apple/Beatles verdict. Only one problem: the gentleman in the hotseat was the news editor's driver. Hilarity ensues. (video of the interview here - the driver's expression when he realizes he's been mistaken is priceless.)
posted by aberrant (75 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Amazing. Hilarious. Good on him for doing his best. I keep replaying his reaction to being introduced over and over. I can't believe he kept his composure and rolled with it. I would have burst out laughing.
posted by loquax at 8:42 AM on May 14, 2006

I think he did a great job. I'm not sure the 'expert' would have said anything more interesting.
posted by MrMustard at 8:45 AM on May 14, 2006

The cabbie's reaction was amazing and beautiful.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:46 AM on May 14, 2006

He actually did okay. Just repeated a few pieces of common knowledge like most of these experts do.
posted by fire&wings at 8:47 AM on May 14, 2006

Let's just make him an honourary expert.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:49 AM on May 14, 2006

Hilarious example of BBC incompetence and newsreader ignorance. The cabbie was brilliant.
posted by BeepK at 8:57 AM on May 14, 2006

His face is priceless.
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:02 AM on May 14, 2006

I love the transcript of the interview (scroll down for it).
Face of horror.
posted by hooray at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2006

Aw, you can't really blame the newsreader, can you? She was as game in this situation as the cabbie; her 2nd question, jumping off his first hilariously incomprehensible response, is actually a decent enough attempt to make sense of what he said.

I do think the cabbie should be given a medal, though. As confused as he was, he still wanted to do right by them and maintained his cool on live tv.
posted by mediareport at 9:06 AM on May 14, 2006

I think this points the way to a new TV show idea: take random people and interview them, rather than the paid experts, on issues. We'd probably get more useful responses, though I guess I don't trust the TV folks (in any nation) not to patronize the interviewees.
posted by mmahaffie at 9:18 AM on May 14, 2006

Oh dear lord... I had to turn this off the first time I saw it, it was so excruciating. His expression is great - if it was a cartoon there would be a submarine-style klaxon going off in his head. "Dive, dive..."

Good on him for getting through it, though.
posted by greycap at 9:23 AM on May 14, 2006

Metafilter: you are going to see a lot of people downloading the internet and the website and everything they want

Excellent post.
posted by m@ at 9:24 AM on May 14, 2006

give him a better suit and 15 minutes to commit a few basic tInternet platitudes to memory, and he's gonna be as good as any other Internet expert I see on TV
posted by matteo at 9:26 AM on May 14, 2006

haha. brilliant. I havent laughed at anything on the Tinternet as much in a long time. As everyone has said the look on the guys face is amazing.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 9:32 AM on May 14, 2006

He's like Tank Man!

"The BBC apologised, saying the mistake occurred because the man was wearing Mr Kewney's name tag. Mr Kewney said: "Everyone seems to think he was a taxi driver waiting in reception to take me home. But no one knows for sure."
Last night, the driver's identity remained a mystery. None of the taxi firms regularly used by the BBC would admit to employing him. "
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:36 AM on May 14, 2006

Priceless is too cheap for that expression. Instant classic.
posted by Zombie Dreams at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2006

I think this points the way to a new TV show idea: take random people and interview them, rather than the paid experts, on issues. We'd probably get more useful responses, though I guess I don't trust the TV folks (in any nation) not to patronize the interviewees.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:18 PM GMT

Actually, I think that'd be a brilliant idea for a current affairs programme of some kind. Instead of having a panel of experts pontificating on what the latest poll shows, have it cut into half (like Law & Order :) ) ... the first half/two-thirds is people from various walks of life being interviewed on the topic as if they were knowledgeable experts, the second half/third is the actual experts analyzing the results.

Just imagine, War In Iraq, NSA, Global Warming, Globalisation, Medical Ethics, White-collar crime, etc. The difference between what 'the man on the street' think and what the experts believe/the facts could be fascinating.

AND/OR, if ya think the 'current events show' would be a little too dry ...

You could even combine it with 'reality TV' by making it a competition - how about 'American Expert'? :) Each week you, the viewer, after the analysis from the experts, get to vote on which 'expert off the street' you thought was the most plausible :)

Or You could combine it with Channel 4's 'faking it' by changing the format a little and not revealing, in the first segment, who are members of the public and who are 'real' experts :)

I tell ya, this idea has wings. I'm contacting the BBC ... :)
posted by kaemaril at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2006

Actually, I think that'd be a brilliant idea for a current affairs programme of some kind.

Like Question Time?
posted by public at 10:30 AM on May 14, 2006

I really look forward to seeing a show with more "man on the street" opinion, but what makes this so priceless is the guy not expecting be the expert analyst. It's Man on the Street unwittingly finds himself Senior Technology Correspondant and you just have to sympathize with him.

I seriously doubt if you gave Joe Sixpack 3 minutes on the air to talk about gay marriage on CNN it would be nearly as enjoyable.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2006

public : last I looked, Question Time didn't feature expert interviews, least of all members of the public pretending to be experts.

Members of Parliament pretending to be experts, yes. Members of the Public? Not so much :)
posted by kaemaril at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2006

Hehehe. Kewney writes in a number of tech mags. This one will do the rounds for quite some time :)
posted by kaemaril at 11:01 AM on May 14, 2006

Hilarious example of BBC incompetence and newsreader ignorance.

Well, it was a Monday morning.
posted by macdara at 11:06 AM on May 14, 2006

Any idea what the mystery is?
All I have to do now, is keep my next interview secret. Following the embarrassing incident at the BBC, it appears that the joke has irresistible appeal to my fellow hax: specifically, anybody who isn't News 24 thinks it's hilarious.

The story of how the BBC managed to interview a black taxi driver instead of the guy who was sent to bring him to the studio (well, that's one theory!) is apparently going to appear in media which go well beyond my normal biographer, Rupert Goodwins.

Specifically, the Times has been probing at TV Centre, and the Grundiana has been interviewing my family. And even the BBC's internal organ, Ariel, has been hot on the trail.

But there is another august institution, which I may not reveal here, which is considering running the story. And there are two things they are concerned about: secrecy, and secrecy.

The first secrecy is simple "scoop" security - they want to make sure that I don't talk to too many rival shows. Fair enough: they know about the Garudani anyway.

But the other secrecy is rather more to the point: "We don't want any repetitions." And if my "friends" online find out where the interview will be, then there's a real risk (apparently) that a couple of dozen ringers will show up. In reception. Claiming to be me.

Could this have given Dead Ringers an idea or two? :)
posted by kaemaril at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2006

Andy Warhol would have loved it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:32 AM on May 14, 2006

This reminds me of an old joke-

After he became famous, Einstein travelled around giving the same lecture on general relativity all over the country. One day, his driver (who happened to look a lot like him) said, "Dr. Einstein, I've heard your talk so many times I'm pretty positive I could give it myself." Well, Einstein had quite a sense of humor, so he agreed to change clothes with his driver, and the driver would give the talk pretending to be Einstein.

Well, after the talk, someone asked a question the driver hadn't heard before. After a second of panic, he regained his composure and said, "That question is so easy and obvious that I'm going to have my driver answer it."
posted by JMOZ at 11:33 AM on May 14, 2006

Aw... The cabbie was such a sweetie. He was really polite and did his best to answer all her questions. I kind of wish they knew who he was so people could send him gifts.
posted by RokkitNite at 12:10 PM on May 14, 2006

This is the best of the web
posted by mert at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2006

Haha, wow. This really lifted my spirits. Best of the web, ever. :)
posted by BeerFilter at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2006

That's beautiful - his expression does the whole range:

normal > surprise > panic > fear > mischief > normal

posted by blag at 1:29 PM on May 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

aberrant, it only took me all day, but nice touch on the title.
posted by mmahaffie at 1:50 PM on May 14, 2006

Simply brilliant. Thanks for the post.
posted by stumcg at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2006

at least the world would find out that perhaps I wasn’t a complete ignoramus, without the ability to communicate in good English.

Not gracious at all, actually.
posted by Chuckles at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2006

Expert truck's (or is that taxi?) a coming... coming to your town... coming to your town!

Oh how true Mr. Show with Bob and David. How so true.
posted by symbioid at 3:24 PM on May 14, 2006

oh, man.

He can start his own cab company now.
posted by blacklite at 3:28 PM on May 14, 2006

Face of horror

I can't stop laughing about this. Ah. See, what he clued in to -- which most people don't -- is that the whole TV thing is a complete mockery anyway, so, everyone's really just playing along, why not join in?

Good on him. Hehehe.
posted by blacklite at 3:31 PM on May 14, 2006

what a lovely man.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:40 PM on May 14, 2006

I can imagine what was going through the poor guy's head. All these BBC handlers hustle him onto the set, sit him down, strap a mic on his lapel and *bang* the interview begins. Totally ambushed.
He soldiered through it like a champ.
Hopefully his employers have a good sense of humor about it. I can well imagine assholes out there who would sack his butt over this.
Great stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:55 PM on May 14, 2006

the whole TV thing is a complete mockery anyway

UK news/affairs TV can be especially tabloidish, in a whole different way from the US cable news vibe. The Day Today or Brass Eye sends it up wonderfully. Although it was surreal seeing 1994's "IT'S WAR!!!" episode basically replicated verbatim during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
posted by meehawl at 4:00 PM on May 14, 2006

Some have greatness thrust upon them...
posted by jcking77 at 4:29 PM on May 14, 2006

Bravo! I say this Guy Kewney fellow has to drive the cab for an afternoon to pay the guy back.
posted by dhammond at 6:10 PM on May 14, 2006

William Gibson's comment is quite funny in itself.

This reminds me so viscerally of what it feels like to be interviewed on television about cyberspace, cyberpunk, the future, whatever.

I got even more enjoyment out of the clip watching it again and translating into Gibson being interviewed about tech.
posted by blacklite at 7:35 PM on May 14, 2006

Frankly, considering how news today is produced for television in much the same way Henry Ford built Model T's a century ago -- assembly line style made as fast as possible for the masses to enjoy -- I'm surprised mistakes like this don't happen more often. I mean it's well known that the news media often gets things wrong. Like the 2000 presidential election when the numbers were all wonky...

I just wish it were funny like this more often. I hope the cab guy gets his own show out of this.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:29 PM on May 14, 2006

I haven't been in London for years, but I just noticed something...doesn't this guy look very well dressed for a cab driver? I'm just sayin' is all.
posted by dhammond at 8:33 PM on May 14, 2006

I love his fumbling attempt to explain that they have the wrong guy:

Taxi driver: I am very surprised to see... this verdict to come on me because I was not expecting that. When I came they told me somehting else and I am coming. So a big surprise anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 PM on May 14, 2006

What Astro Zombie said. He actually tried to fess up but she was having none of it!

This thing is funny on so many levels.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:28 PM on May 14, 2006

I didn't think the real Guy Kewney was an ignoramus after watching the BBC clip, but I sure did after I read his article where he repeatedly calls the cabbie who did better in a tight spot than most of us an ignoramus. Bleh. The guy didn't understand what he was getting into, and he got out of it as graciously as possible given the circumstances. For Kewney to call him an idiot is terrible.
posted by FortyT-wo at 10:42 PM on May 14, 2006

Just been thinking about my post, and I know what pedants some of you are... He didn't really fess up at all. He was just being very honest about "the verdict".

He was surprised by the verdict of the show's producer. That verdict being: "Git your mic-ed up ass in front of that camera and be interviewed about the Apple / iTunes court ruling".
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:50 PM on May 14, 2006

FortyT-wo, I thought the Real Guy was being overly harsh in that blog post too, but consider that he was extremely excited about being a guest expert, and hoped that this stint would enhance his professional credibility. I'll bet he now has enough perspective to realize that the name "Guy Kewney" is recognizable in a (benign) way that it never would have been even if he'd given the most brilliant 15 second interview in the history of the BBC.
posted by maryh at 1:06 AM on May 15, 2006

In his initial blog post, Kewney is desperately justifying his urge to sue the BBC for this. In depicting the driver as a fool the deformation of character becomes so much more tangible and he can act genuinely offended.

About the 'black' thing, I don't see anything racist about it. If anything, the general feeling of 'ah didn't he do well' feels rather patronizing and racist to me. It's not like he masterfully fooled anyone for extended periods of time or anything.

Oh and also: man that was funny

aberrant, it only took me all day, but nice touch on the title.
posted by mmahaffie at 1:50 PM PST on May 14

I didn't get it (and I'm not alone), please enlighten us?
posted by beno at 3:15 AM on May 15, 2006

I didn't get it (and I'm not alone), please enlighten us?
Beno, see here: Peter Sellers as a simple (?)-minded gardner mistaken for a business and political genius. (It really is a great movie - worth a watch.)
posted by hilatron at 4:58 AM on May 15, 2006

Chauncy was the name of Peter Sellers' character in Being There.
posted by dmo at 4:58 AM on May 15, 2006

For Kewney to call him an idiot is terrible.

Agreed. There's nothing wrong, or even strange, about the "black" thing—it should have been a pretty strong indication that there was some mistake, since the producer had seen his blog and knew what he looked like—but insulting the guy is just plain uncalled-for.
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2006

The full story about affair from Kewney's colleague Rupert Goodwins:

posted by Summer at 5:54 AM on May 15, 2006

Sorry, seem to have forgotten how to post. Link.
posted by Summer at 6:03 AM on May 15, 2006

For Kewney to call him an idiot is terrible.

Oh, come on. He slipped a little, but it's obvious he wasn't really attacking the cabbie and he's since expressed admiration for the guy's "incredible recovery...and determination." Kewney was simply pointing out the horror of watching someone with no knowledge of the subject get identified as Kewney to thousands upon thousands of people by the BBC. Would *your* first reaction to that be graciousness? I seriously doubt it.

The real villain here isn't Kewney, it's the BBC folks who fucked up, then asked Kewney to record a segment after the fact, failed to air that segment and *then* called someone else for an interview on the exact same topic that very night. That's just fucking despicable - the TV news jerks covering their own asses at the expense of a guest they'd just fucked over.
posted by mediareport at 7:15 AM on May 15, 2006

Having finally got around to reading Kewney's initial blog item, I have to say that yes, he does harp on a bit too much on regarding the colour of his skin, and he seems to directly insult the other guy several times. I find it difficult to see how it could termed "gracious" at all.

As a side note, when I was a wee nipper in the 1970s Kewney was already flogging his punditry, and during the 1980s he was positively, tiresomely ubiquitous, especially during the endless Speccy/C64 and MSDOS/DRDOS/Amstrad shenanigans. His wikipedia entry terms him the "John Dvorak of England", which is not really accurate, because Dvorak is funny at least some of the time.
posted by meehawl at 7:33 AM on May 15, 2006

meehawl, aberrant's "gracious" link was to Kewney's *second* blog item about the episode, where he is somewhat gracious - definitely more so than in the initial one.
posted by mediareport at 7:49 AM on May 15, 2006

mediareport: exactly so - thanks for clarifying. I posted the second link (his initial reaction) because it seems a bit at odds with the first link I posted (his followup, and the one I read first). I attribute that to having had some time to reflect on the absurdity of the situation and treating it with the humor it deserves. I was a bit taken aback by his initial reaction, but then I put myself in his shoes: he basically got screwed here, and he's venting a little - and I didn't see anything HORRIBLY wrong with his mini-rant. His followup is complimentary of the driver:

Watch his incredible recovery, and his determination to show that this may be a complete surprise to him, but that he can out-Kewney any darned NewsWireless Editor if he has to.

Whoever mentioned that his anger should have been directed at the BBC was 100% spot-on.
posted by aberrant at 7:57 AM on May 15, 2006

his anger should have been directed at the BBC was 100%

Agreed. This could be the best thing to happen for Kewney in years. Get him and "Mr Cabbie" together to riff off each other in a ZDTV-style nerdfest show and we could have a sure-fire winner here. Think: Hitman and Her, only with the background gurners all geeked up in the style of It's All About The Pentiums.
posted by meehawl at 8:09 AM on May 15, 2006

Fuck Kewney. I'm white he's black he's black I'm white that guy was an ignoramus also I'm white he's black waaaaaaaah. Whiteblack.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:39 AM on May 15, 2006

I knew someone who was a producer at the BBC back in 2003 (for a radio show) and they didn't use "regular" taxi firms very regularly. They would often ring up private hire cars (there was a different name for the type of service, it was not exactly legal, I think, but it was widely used--it's not a limo service they we think of it in the US) driven by well-dressed, well-mannered men just like this cabbie. My friend would call up a car to get back and forth to work (or elsewhere) sometimes if taking the tube meant being late--the cars were always impeccably clean Mercedes or BMWs, driven with a sort of quiet and quick but polite precision.
posted by josephtate at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2006

Seems the cabbie wasn't a cabbie after all. Guy Kewney himself says that the "cabbie" was really Guy Goma, a business Scholl graduate applying for an IT job.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:01 AM on May 15, 2006

I'm baffled by Kewney's assertion that this took place:

But what about Apple? "I don't know. I’m not at all sure what I'm doing here," he admitted sadly, as they finally twigged that something was going badly wrong, and hustled him off the set.

I watched the clip and read the transcript, and I don't recall the Frenchman saying anything like that. It seems clear the "real" Guy is the ignoramus.
posted by ktoad at 11:25 AM on May 15, 2006

ktoad : "I watched the clip and read the transcript, and I don't recall the Frenchman saying anything like that. It seems clear the 'real' Guy is the ignoramus."

Kewney was on the BBC premises when this happened. Most likely, he was watching a raw cameria feed on a monitor somewhere, whereas the broadcast signal showed a switch to the field correspondent/interviewee.
posted by daksya at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2006

....was really Guy Goma, a business Scholl graduate applying for an IT job.

They should hire him! Get that man the job!

Related. News 24's 'wrong Guy' is revealed at BBC.
posted by dabitch at 12:25 PM on May 15, 2006

Yeah, to echo other's opinion - Kewney's own fixation on "the pink me, not the black me" etc, doesn't read well on html. I don't think he's racist but his obsession with the joke sure reads embarrassing for him. Less said, etc. We all caught.

That said - man, can you imagine the hell the BBC would be in right now if the REAL Kewney was black, too?

I mean they all look alike ri- -- -
posted by Peter H at 12:42 PM on May 15, 2006

edit, that's

We all caught the difference between the two of you.
posted by Peter H at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2006

i hope he gets the job .
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:00 PM on May 15, 2006

said before but i'll also say: his expression is hilarious!!
posted by jcruelty at 9:56 PM on May 15, 2006

I think the widespread assumption that a black, chubby man with a foreign accent in London must be a minicab driver is midly racist. That and Kewney's comments. We're not talking about white hoods and burning crosses, but it's still ethnic stereotyping nonetheless.
posted by randomstriker at 12:44 AM on May 16, 2006

I just keep watching his expression when he realizes the mistake over and over. Give that man his own show, where they accidentally introduce him as the wrong person all the time!
posted by antifuse at 1:59 AM on May 16, 2006

Widespread assumption? Seems to me that maybe one person suggested it, possibly based on some additional piece of information which may or may not have been erroneous, and everyone else simply accepted this as fact. Hardly grounds for calling people racist.
posted by edd at 2:48 AM on May 16, 2006

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