Just a slip of the tongue

I was among a group of old media colleagues the other day and the conversation got round to funny tales from our long ago. One denizen of the newsroom at Grampian Television recalled a tale about Reflections.

You remember Reflections: two-minute homilies, usually presented by a minister, occasionally a priest, and very rarely by someone from another religion or even (shock-horror) a humanist. They were recorded in batches of five and each was broadcast following the late-evening weather forecast after News at Ten or, in latter years, banished to around midnight.

Unfortunately, the pressure on studio time and perhaps on budgets meant that retakes were not allowed. To all intents and purposes, the recording was live, fluffs and blunders included.

One leading churchman who was not at all impressed by Grampian’s refusal to let him do retakes was the late Campbell Adamson, Dean of Aberdeen and Orkney.

He stood it for several years. “Until one day I realised there was a very easy way to force a retake,” he said.

From then on, every time he fluffed a line, he would follow it swiftly with: “Oh, bugger.”

He got his retake.

• If you are interested in the history of Grampian Television, I recommend a wonderful site, grampianstudios, which goes into all the details of events before, during and after, behind the scenes and front of camera for nearly half a century.

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