ITV’s FA Cup Disgrace

It’s Wednesday night, and a taut Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool is deadlocked at 0-0. With three minutes to play in extra time and the possibility of the first ever competitive penalty shoot-out between the teams looming large, ITV suddenly and inexplicably cuts to an advert break. Down here on the south coast, the advert break merrily plays a BT Broadband the tagline of which is “There’s nothing worse than losing your connection”, before cutting suddenly back to… Everton players celebrating the only goal of the match. At full time, the screen cuts to the familiar ITV1 ident, which sits on the screen, ominously silently, for a couple of minutes, before cutting to a surprisingly low resolution VT clock. A minute or so later they’re back, and Steve Ryder is offering his apologies to those of us that missed the goal. Who, then, is to blame for what can only rationally be described as a monumental balls up? The answer, as so often seems to be the case with these things, seems to be “the system”. It is too soon to say what exactly happened, but it is not too early to make an educated guess. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bits between the programmes on the television these days are largely automated. In the trade, it’s known as “broadcast and transmission operations”, and ITV1 awarded a six year contract...

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