The Friday Question: Best TV Balls Up


It’s brilliant when stuff goes wrong on TV. Whether it’s a live broadcast that wasn’t planned to perfection – as above – or just a flawed concept that never should have seen the light of day, TV history is riddled with horrendous production mistakes.

For me, the current Eastenders paedophile sitcom debacle is the most interesting televisual mess we’ve got available – providing shake-your-head moments every time the ill-judged script gets rolled out by actors who deserve better.

Through the ages, unplanned material can be pulled from the archive and now stored forever on Youtube as a reminder to our childrens’ grandchildren that we were rubbish at making television.

So what’s your favourite TV balls up? 

Is it on Youtube?



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84 Responses to “The Friday Question: Best TV Balls Up”

  1. ugeine Says:

    Do you mean balls up as in an elephant pooing on the blue peter stage or balls up as in Owen Heart snapping his neck in WWF?

  2. wally bazoom Says:

    Stone Roses on the Late Show in about 1989. The power goes off about a minute into a (fairly terrible) performance of Made Of Stone. The presenter then hurridly introduces the next section while Ian Brown saunters around in the background like a disgruntled shop fitter bellowing ‘Amateurs! Amateurs!’

    There’s probably plenty funnier and outrageous moments, I just like the way it breaks the atmosphere of the whole thing. There’s something quite bleak about it.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    Good choice Wally:

    Ugeine – it’s a very wide remit – both of those fit.

  4. ugeine Says:

    Well, the WWF one was pretty good. In fact, most of my favourite balls ups come from that shambles of a male soap opera. Also, Nirvana doing SLTS on TOTP. Watch for Dave putting his hands in the air during the drum roll before the chorus, Kurt singing in a crooner voice, and 90s mosher kids on the stage.

  5. Swineshead Says:

    Youtube links to your nominations would be good… unless you can’t because you’re at work…

    Top Of The Pops offered up loads of favourites – I remember Evan Dando’s bizarre behaviour all those years ago… he started singing like Morrissey then sang the song while lying on the floor. It’s not on youtube.

  6. ugeine Says:

    Sorry, SH, it’s blocked on our work filter.

  7. Swineshead Says:

    That’s unfortunate.

    Btw – has anyone seen The Family on Channel 4

  8. Mikey Says:

    I watched parts of Eastenders last night to see this storyline, and was a bit confused. The girl seemed to be complicit in this. Anyway enough Eastenders for me. (btw the Mitchell family photo, apart from Peg, Billy and Phil I did not know who any of the other Mitchells were..where have they come from!).

    I love Elephants and so any cock up with an Elephant involved!

  9. Swineshead Says:

    Mikey said:

    I love putting my cock up an Elephant!

    You disgust me.

    The girl is complicit in it, but she’s only 15…
    What annoyed me last night were the scenes loaded with pathos and dramatic irony – both forms of comedy, essentially – and this isn’t really a subject fit for comedy in the context of a soap. The Romeo and Juliet bit was clever, but also uncomfortable for the wrong reasons. Same with the ‘girl next door’ first crush conversation in the taxi booth.

  10. ugeine Says:

    Has anybody seen the Screenwipe episode on television news? There’s a great cock up in that.

  11. Mikey Says:

    Wasn’t the novel “Lolita” all about this anyway?

  12. Clarry Says:

    SH – Have you watched The Family then? If so, what did you think? Also did you manage to watch CCDWM?

  13. Swineshead Says:

    I watched an episode Clarry, it seemed to go on forever but was addictive… so I might not watch any more. Sympathised with the Dad. Poor sod.

    CCDWM was hilarious. Stringfellow’s a rum old beggar.

  14. daveselectricblanket Says:

    Leo Sayer fallin’ off a treadmill FTW.

  15. Swineshead Says:

    What is ‘FTW’?

    Can you link it?

  16. daveselectricblanket Says:

    I’m at work but FTW wasn’t the show and a chap like you should have watched enough highlight or countdown shows to know what clip I’m referring to.

    FTW = For The Win, BTW (that means by the way).

  17. Badger Madge Says:

    the family was dire. sooooo scripted.

    my control and alt keys aren’t working by the way…

  18. Swineshead Says:

    It wasn’t scripted! They were maybe too aware they were being filmed but I wouldn’t say it was scripted…

    Christ, Dave’s right, this was good…

  19. Clarry Says:

    Did you notice the way Emily spoke to her poor dad when he quietly went from room to room enquiring what each person wanted for tea, something like: ‘Oh dad! *makes loud tutting sound* How should I know!!? Anything, but not rice (exactly what the other sister had just requested). Or anything with pineapples in. Or jam. And as long it’s quick.’

    If I was her dad I’d be making a nicely slow-cooked jam and pineapple rice ‘surprise’. The stroppy little madam….

    Wasn’t it funny when Michelle and Linda went into that room (which was more akin to a 12 year old child’s – I missed a few minutes at this point, it might have actually have been one of hs kids’ rooms) and were speculating about how many nights his fiance slept in there? Hmmm, options, choices…. Peter’s room (complete with handcuffs, mirrors and battered (excuse the pun) copy of karma sutra) or the ‘safe room’.

    I did feel a bit sorry for him for some reason.

  20. Swineshead Says:

    You felt sorry for wealthy, always smiling, well-liked club-owner Peter Stringfellow?


  21. Clarry Says:

    Erm, because he is deluded enough to believe his fiance is with him for his charisma and lustrous hair. Because he is still playing at being rich despite being rich for decades – only seeming to think food is good if it contains lobster, caviar, truffles and champagne (all the things he thinks make him look rich). The fact that he has clearly parted with a MASSIVE wedge of cash to have that pokey little flat on the Thames (I know it’s the location he’s paid for, but even still….). The fact that someone conned him into buying some horrid chintzy plates for £500 a piece. Because he’s in a time warp.

    It’s just all whiffs of desperation. I feel that if you were to scratch the surface you’d see a broken man, who craves a life of slippers and long walks with a woman his own age that he can relate to.

  22. Swineshead Says:

    He may cut a bit of a tragic figure – but he’s a nice man by all accounts so I find him hard to dislike… there are worse out there, after all…

  23. Clarry Says:

    I don’t dislike him either, he’s just pitifully tragic as you say.

    Of the four on CCDWM I thought Michelle Heaton was the worst. A bit drunk and a bit trampy.

    I was amazed at how good Lee Ryan was at cooking (thigh-me debacle aside).

  24. Swineshead Says:

    They were all quite likable, really. Lee Ryan gets a lot of bad press, doesn’t he?

    Read on…

    The British “boy band” Blue was participating in a group web interview with the British tabloid The Sun shortly after 9-11; the band had been in New York at the time and had witnessed the second plane that hit the World Trade Center. After the other band members had spoken of the horror of the attacks, Lee Ryan spouts off:

    Lee Ryan – What about whales? They are ignoring animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important. This New York thing is being blown out of proportion.

    Simon- Shut up Lee.

    Lee – Who gives a f… about New York when elephants are being killed.

    Duncan- Shut up.

    Lee – I’m not afraid to say this, it has to be said. I’m not afraid to say it and that’s why I’m the outspoken one from the band.

  25. Davesthermalpants Says:

    Stringfellow should alter himslef to meet the requirements of your sense fo taste? Never.

  26. Swineshead Says:

    The man oozes class.

  27. Davesthermalpants Says:

    I’d love to forcefully shave him.

  28. piqued Says:

    Aw, I was hoping Leo was gong to get really hurt -little tit that he is

  29. Swineshead Says:

    Another tragic figure – he and Stringfellow should go bowling together.

  30. piqued Says:

    ..with Bowling for Soup? That would round it off nicely I feel

  31. daveselectricblanket Says:

    We could invite the late Columbine shooters too. Just for shits and giggles.

  32. charliemingles Says:

    whats CCDWM again. It sounds interesting. what channel?

  33. charliemingles Says:


  34. charliemingles Says:

    nice to see anthea turner exploding again. fluffy bastard.

  35. piqued Says:

    She goes over like a sack of shite an’ all

  36. charliemingles Says:

    I feel sure that miranda richardson’s pixie-wixie amy hardwood character (who turns out to be the blackhearted highwayman The Shadow) is based very closely on her.

  37. piqued Says:

    I wrote the last comment, me

    It’s gone very quiet in here, has someone stepped on a duck?

  38. charliemingles Says:

    In Blackadder the third, I should add. for non comedy obsessives.

  39. charliemingles Says:

    friday afternoon. theyre all of in the pub getting pished probably. lazy bastards. I bet everyone on WWM works in the city. no wonder this country is fucked.

  40. piqued Says:

    I still love this, has ths bloke worked since?

  41. charliemingles Says:

    Oh yes, that really is superb. The other guy is such a smug wind-up cunt though and has one of those faces youd never ever tire of punching.

    I think Id probably have gone the same way. Although I like to think Id have had the sense to punch the cameraman in the goolies first. Im nothing if not professional.

    (great word ‘goolies’ Im trying to bring it back)

  42. Swineshead Says:

    Ah – a brilliant episode of Panorama… somebody wrote about it… comments section was alright, if I remember rightly…

  43. Davesthermalpants Says:

    The knife thrower on This Morning was funny. Threw a blade right into a spinning lady’s side. Yikes. And he wanted to continue!

  44. piqued Says:

    I fogot about those comments, says it all really. Ironically that nutter who wrote in caps lock I imagine to be shouting in the same way as Sweeney

  45. piqued Says:


  46. charliemingles Says:

    thats a good article. did you write that SH?

    that tommy character looked exactly like tom cruise, down to the height build and hairstyle. did anyone notice that. theyre obviously cloning the little fucker in some lab. god save us all from an army of tom cruise.

    But never fear. Im currently attempting to clone 1000 nicole kidmans to defeat him, I’m with nothing more than an old mattress and a battered copy of eyes wide shut. But I’ll get there in the end.

    * goes into shed and closes door*

  47. Swineshead Says:

    Oh Christ – please don’t clone Kidman, she’s bloody awful.

    Proudfoot wrote that – he’s not written for WWm for some time as he’s no longer got a computer and sold his soul to rock n roll.

  48. charliemingles Says:

    fuck me, that kallee character is a bit, full on. Im surprised Marilion even bothered to write that song about her. ‘Kaylee – Do you remember, barefoot on the lawn with shooting stars?’


    Its distrurbing that they found such a small blog as this and started posting within 6 comments. I think Napoleon was right – all hail Mork, or zanu or whatever. Just dont kill me.

  49. ugeine Says:

    Great article that was! I remember reading that the first time, those bloody nutcases.

  50. charliemingles Says:

    anyone know what channel CCDWM is on?

  51. Davesthermalpants Says:

    I remember reading that too but suspect the comments may be fake…

    Still, The Mork and Mindy reference was inspired.

  52. charliemingles Says:

    Dave – no, if you click on kaleee’s link, it goes to a major scientologist site.

    quite scary, I left immediately in case they saw me and I awakened the beast.

  53. Swineshead Says:

    Mingles – it was on Channel 4 I think – Wednesday night.

  54. daveselectricblanket Says:


    What’s your point?

  55. charliemingles Says:

    Dave – your pointlessly confrontational side has kicked in again. No wonder you cant get a girlfriend.

    this is the site that link goes to. Go there if you dare:

  56. Swineshead Says:

    Dave only gets tough in the online arena for a reason….

    (he can’t get tough outside it)

  57. charliemingles Says:

    you need a new philosophy dave. One which can give you self-confidence, increase your memory and cock size and make you omniscient and invisible.

    (see my link above)

  58. Davesthermalpants Says:

    CM – On my list of flaws that’s so far down the list I see it as a positive attrivute if anything. But you’re right.

    SH – That was implied without the brackets, you numpty.

    And have you seen those magnetic testing things they place in the streets these days? They have them in Manchester every weekend these days.

  59. ugeine Says:

    Has anybody, ever, ever heard somebody actually try to stick up for scientology?

  60. Swineshead Says:

    Dave – stop being a cock.

    Who uses the word ‘numpty’ anyway? People like Keith Chegwin and Steve Wright. That’s who.

    You COCK.

  61. Davesthermalpants Says:

    I’m a mess, SH.

  62. charliemingles Says:

    ugeine – I think the million obsessive scientologists trawling the internet day and night for any mention of their religion do that well enough themselves.

    But can I just take this opportunity to say what a marvelous and perfectly sensible belief system it is.

    Lets talk about something else now. or, I guess say goodbye. as suspect everyone has gone for the weekend.

  63. piqued Says:

    Yes, it’s in the link you were talking about

  64. piqued Says:


  65. charliemingles Says:

    dave – only scientology, strict catholicism or a big titted randy MILF can save you now.

    Good luck with the last one.

  66. Davesthermalpants Says:

    Remember when that elephant pooed and weed all over the Blue Peter studio, or when they nailed through the shell of a beloved turtle on live tele in the 70s!

    I feel nostalgia for things I’ve never experienced…

  67. charliemingles Says:

    any children watching – thats what working in a callcentre does to you.

    Hey kids – stay in school, yeah?

    *gives thumbs up in like a really kool way which kids find inspiring*

  68. Davesthermalpants Says:

    That made me numb inside, CM.

  69. Mikey Says:

    We all work in a call centre one way or another. This call centre that we call modern life. Hold on…phone’s ringing…Hellooo……….

  70. ugeine Says:

    Sorry, that was meant to read:

    Has anybody, ever, ever heard somebody actually try to credibly stick up for scientology?

    As in, has somebody offered an argument or opinion that says ‘well, these are some good things the religion / cult does but I understand your argument’ rather then XENUSUSA GUNNA BE WELL NGRY U GAYWAD.’

    I mean, Beck and Nancy Cartwright are, as far as I know, good people. Natural police. That’s right, natrul poh-lees.

  71. ugeine Says:

    I bloody love that show. I’m five episodes in to series 1 again and it’s actually getting better once you know the whole story.

  72. The Tombstone Says:

    Bad times Owen Hart comments up there you can’t put a dedicated hard working man who was terrified of heights plummeting to his death to make more money for the evil millionaire who refused to release him from his contract despite the fact that he desperately wanted to leave as a “Best TV Balls Up” along with people falling off chairs and accidently saying rude words.

    If you like wrestling fuck ups that don’t result in death then type in Botchamania in Youtube some blokes made over 50 videos of them.

    And the best TV balls up is letting Kelly Brook talk, it’s like watching a child give a report on something they should have done some work for the night before but didn’t.

  73. John McCain Says:

    This definetly was a terrorist attack.
    As president I will hunt all these muslims down that attacked this fine blond American girl.
    Vote for me.

  74. goerge Says:

    Tombstone, I think letting one of your performers fall to their death when they are dressed up as a superhero counts as a bit of a balls up. He’s just a living example of what wrestlers put their selves through everyday for entertainment value. You’ve got to respect people who are able to jump off steel cages in the name of entertainment.

  75. StoneRazor Says:

    Some great comments here (this isn’t one of them!)

  76. Napoleon Says:

    I got fed up of ploughing through these ‘ere comments, so don’t know if anyone mentioned that ferret attacking Richard Whitely. Did anyone mention that ferret wot attacked Richard Whitely? If not, then I vote for that. If someone did, get fucked, the lot of you.

  77. ugeine Says:


  78. ugeine Says:

    Sorry, for some reason the word ‘attacked’ made me think an element of surprise was involved, like the Ferrett came out of nowhere.

    It’s still very good though.

  79. The Tombstone Says:

    I do respect people who jump of steel cages for entertainment. I don’t respect owners making a guy do a stupid stunt when he’s scared of heights just because he wants to leave the company and refuses to do story lines involving sex people because he’s a family man. Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles are daredevils who will jump off anything onto anything, Owen Hart just wanted to wrestle, and he was damn good at doing it.

  80. Napoleon Says:

    Where’s the KFC Boneless Bargain Banquet For One?

  81. Swineshead Says:

    I’ve removed it… the Youtube clip at the top wasn’t for the ad… it was for some satirical website taking the piss out of KFC. So the article read like promotion of that website.

    Good holiday?

  82. Napoleon Says:

    I had a smashing time, thanks. Literally ‘smashing’, as I’ve done broken one of my fucking ribs.

  83. Matt Says:

    The Hart one is a classic but surely in terms of all time TV gaffs, it’s got to be the bloke in a bucket who plummets to his depth on prime time Saturday evening TV (is that an oxymoron?) on the Late, late breakfast show.

    Broke just about every bone in his body and killed Noel Edmonds’ career off for a good few years.

    That and Grace Jones battering Russel Harty, but that’s not really a gaff, just one of those clips that gets trotted out on shit TV gaff compilations.

  84. Matt Says:

    Arse, where’s my comment gone?

    Bloke in a bucket on late, late breakfast show?

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