Two Australian TV journalists are pilloried after an awkward blunder during Nine Network’s coverage of the royal funeral.
Nine stars Tracy Grimshaw and Peter Overton were in London to comment on the arrivals at Westminster Abbey on Monday when they were stopped by a VIP whose vehicle pulled up to the curb.
“This is an important column, we are now being told. Join us as we try to determine who is getting out of the car. This of course under police escort. I’d suggest these are royalties, Tracy,” Overton said.
The new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, jumped out of the car. She was accompanied by her husband, Hugh O’Leary.
The Australian couple remained stunned.
“Hard to identify. Maybe minor royals, members of the… I can’t identify them right now,” Overton continued.
Grimshaw said “unfortunately we can’t spot everyone”.
“They look like they could be local dignitaries. It’s hard to see,” she said.
“We mainly look at the back of their heads.”
Moments later, after a heads-up off camera, Overton had the real information.
“I was told that Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister, could be seen jumping out of the car in the distance. Thank you very much for this information,” he said.
The blunder sparked outrage from nine viewers — and further afield.
Channel Nine didn’t even know who Liz Truss was. Damn,” one viewer tweeted.
“Liz Truss has just been incorrectly identified as a ‘minor royal’ by the Channel Nine commentator,” wrote another.
“Peter Overton and Tracy Grimshaw who had no idea who Liz Truss – the new British Prime Minister – is during live coverage of the Queen’s funeral was so ‘awks,'” said a third.
“Shouting at the Australian Funeral commentators who call Liz Truss and her husband ‘minor royals,'” said another.
A Nine Network spokesperson said on Tuesday that Grimshaw and Overton had difficulty identifying guests from their position during the funeral process.
“From their elevated position during the broadcast, Peter Overton and Tracy Grimshaw were unable to identify guests until they were seen on the broadcast monitor,” the spokesperson told news.com.au.
“We are extremely proud of the efforts of the entire Channel Nine broadcasting team to cover this momentous occasion.”
Mrs Truss was famously photographed with the Queen when she was appointed as British Prime Minister just two days before the monarch died. She was the 15th Prime Minister to be sworn in by the Queen during her historic 70-year reign.
The confusion was not all one-way, however, as the UKTN apparently failed to identify Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese when he walked into the abbey.
Instead of guessing, the UKTN presenters let the silence speak for itself.
“Obviously the commentators have no idea who he is,” tweeted author Jane Caro as Albanian and his partner, Jodie Haydon, arrived for the service.