Saturday, 29 March 2008

When Charlotte Giggles.

When an upset stomach wakes you at 5.45am, there's every reason to believe that the hours ahead will be grim.

This was indeed what was happening to me yesterday morning, and I was thoroughly fed up. Until the now widely reported moment of joy during the 8am news on the Today programme.

Charlotte Green was reading it, and had just introduced a clip of the earliest known recording of the human voice, singing Au Clair de la Lune in 1860. When Charlotte returned after the clip it was clear within moments that she was starting to lose it. What ensued was fantastic, even more of a giggle attack than the infamous Jack Tuat incident.

~~~~Listen here~~~~

Charlotte's collapse was covered all over the media, with the Guardian writing this:

BBC Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Green's famously steadfast composure on the Today programme deserted her this morning as she dissolved in a fit of giggles live on air while reading an obituary - sending the press office into meltdown.

Green's perfect enunciation is so constant it is an article of faith among her millions of fans, but it fell apart shortly after 8am today as she read a news item about the death of Oscar-winning screenwriter Abby Mann and had to be rescued by presenter James Naughtie.

However, the corpsing spread, with Naughtie struggling to suppress giggles when introducing the next report at 8.10am, about the danger that Iraq may be sliding into civil war after this week's clashes in Basra between government forces and fighters loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al Sadr.

The Today programme received hundreds of calls and emails after Green's fit of giggles and the BBC press office went into "meltdown", according to the show's presenter Edward Stourton.

Stourton later explained to listeners that Green had been put off after the previous news item, about the first recording of a human voice, singing Au Clair de la Lune.

Stourton said Green was distracted after an as yet unidentified Today staffer whispered in her ear that the quaint female singer sounded like a "bee buzzing in a bottle".

He and Naughtie both denied responsibility for the prank.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Yes, Charlotte Green got a fit of the giggles after hearing a recording of the first human voice from 1860, this was the first time she had heard this. The next item was an obituary about Abby Mann."

"I'm afraid I just lost it, I was completely ambushed by the giggles," said Green later.

She admitted a similar giggling fit struck her about 10 years ago, also on the Today programme.

"I did feel slightly embarrassed, knowing I have this reputation that I am prone to getting the giggles," she said.

"People have been very sweet and everyone has been coming up to me said how much it has cheered up their Friday morning."

The Today editor, Ceri Thomas, said most listeners who contacted the show had commented on "how much they had enjoyed the moment".

He added: "When Charlotte loses it, she really loses it."

Despite the sensitive nature of reading an obituary, and the disastrous event of giggling throughout one, our favourite Charlotte doesn't seem to be in any trouble. The nation loved it, it was re-played less than an hour later before the end of Today, as there had been so many requests.

You can listen to the giggling fit here or here.

And as if that wasn't enough mirth for an early morning, the Monty Python song I'm So Worried was used to illustrate the Heathrow fiasco, thanks to its lyrics,

I'm so worried about what's happening today,
In the Middle East, you know.
And I'm so worried about the baggage retrieval
System they've got at Heathrow. (read full lyrics here)

1 comment:

crowth said...

What a delightful little blog this is. I'm rather glad I came across it. As a similarly obsessive compulsive Radio 4 listener, it's a lovely discovery. Keep up the good work.