When you work in broadcasting, things that go wrong on-air seem even funnier (unless it's your transmission, of course). Here is an example of a Sports Outside Broadcast going spectacularly pear-shaped. On May 25th 1966 Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammed Ali) fought Henry Cooper in London: the fight was broadcast by BBC Radio. The referee stopped the fight in the sixth round because of a cut over Cooper's eye, and Clay was declared the winner.

Total chaos ensued as photographers and members of the audience clambered into the ring - climbing over the radio commentator's table in the process. The main commentator, W. Barrington-Dalby, tried to keep going while Simon Smith attempted to get into the ring to interview Clay - he was never heard from though his microphone could be heard being kicked round the floor, together with swearing and general noise for long periods. Altogether a complete broadcasting mess, which you can hear in this extract from the live transmission.


3 mins 51 seconds, 1.8MB




Roger Wilmut