- Rachel Russell
- BBC News
The BBC’s “Match of the Day” presenter, Gary Lineker, played down the importance of hearing sexual voices sent by the owner of comedy tricks content on YouTube, which disrupted live coverage of the programme.
Sexual sounds were heard from a pornographic clip as Lineker spoke live before the FA Cup match between Wolverhampton and Liverpool.
Studio staff discovered a mobile phone hiddenly installed, which Daniel Jarvis, creator of comedy trick content on YouTube, said was behind it during Tuesday’s match.
The BBC apologized to any viewers who felt offended.
But Lineker, who later tweeted a picture of the cellphone, said it was “taped to the back of the seat”, suggesting he thought there was nothing to apologize for.
Lineker described what happened as a “good joke”, and said: “With this act of vandalism going on, it was a lot of fun.”
The sounds were heard when Lineker was presenting the program in a studio at Wolverhampton’s Molineux Stadium, with analysts Paul Ince and Danny Murphy.
Lineker told the BBC later on Tuesday that he initially thought a video had been sent to one of the analysts’ phones, and that the phone had been left on inadvertently.
But he said the sound was “very loud” and noted that every time the show’s creators stopped to show a video, the sexual voices stopped immediately.
So he deduced that someone watching TV was playing these sounds at a distance.
Asked by the BBC about how loud it was in the studio, the presenter said he had not been able to hear what any of his setters were saying in his earphones, making it “very difficult” to keep talking about the match before it started.
At one point, he had to explain to viewers what he thought was going on. “I think someone is sending something on someone’s phone,” he said.
“I don’t know if you heard that at home or not,” he added.
And when coverage of the match itself began – and the studio staff knew they wouldn’t be on the air for 45 minutes before Lineker and the analysts returned to analyze the half-time events – the search for the source of the sexual sounds began.
It wasn’t long before Lineker posted a tweet explaining what had happened, posting a picture of a mobile phone, three smiley emojis and the words: “Well, we found this affixed to the back of the seat.”
The BBC issued an official statement saying: “We apologize to any viewers who were offended during the live football coverage this evening.” A BBC spokesperson confirmed that the channel was investigating the incident.
Less than an hour after taking a break from BBC One live, Lineker reappeared on BBC Two to talk about what happened on Newsnight.
Lineker said he thought it was funny and asked why the BBC had apologized.
“Absolutely, we have nothing to regret,” he told the BBC’s Kirsty Wark as he returned from analyzing the FA Cup match between Wolverhampton and Liverpool.
“If you had told me this morning that I would be on Newsnight tonight to talk about a porn scandal, I would have been terrified,” he added, laughing.
The incident did not go unnoticed by the public, as clips of that moment were widely circulated on social media on Tuesday night.
Daniel Jarvis, who presents YouTube videos with comic tricks, said he was behind the stunt, and posted a video clip on Twitter showing him at Molineux.
Jarvis was given a suspended prison sentence last October after being found guilty of trespassing over an incident in which he crashed into England cricketer Jonny Bairstow while storming the Oval in south London during a match.
He was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and banned from entering any stadium where a sporting match is being played in England and Wales for two years. He was also banned from traveling abroad for 12 months.