//BBC mistakes taxi driver for 'expert'

BBC mistakes taxi driver for 'expert'

AFP Saturday, May 13, 2006  20:24 IST

LONDON: A London cabbie suffered an awkward few moments of fame when the BBC mistook him for a computer expert and interviewed him live on the flagship News 24 channel, the corporation admitted on Saturday.

The real expert was Guy Kewney, a journalist specialising in computer issues who had been invited to comment on Apple Computer's legal battle with Apple Corps, the Beatles' music publishing company.

Awaiting his moment in a back room of the BBC studios last Monday, Kewney glanced idly at the television and was astonished to see that presenter Karen Bowerman was supposedly already interviewing him.

But the uneasy-looking black man on the screen bore no resemblance to the bearded, ginger pundit, though he was doing his best to answer Bowerman's questions.

In fact, this 'expert' was the taxi driver who had come to collect Kewney after his interview. But as soon as he had arrived at the BBC building, an excitable assistant had bundled him into the studio and equipped him with a clip-on microphone before he had a chance to protest.

It was only a few seconds before the mistake became evident and the cabbie was taken off the air. But the BBC nevertheless saw fit to issue the following official statement of apology on Saturday: "The wrong person was interviewed briefly on the air before we cut to our reporter, and we apologise to viewers for any confusion."