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BBC airs pre-recorded Talkback despite election announcement

BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback presenter William Crawley
Brendan Hughes

THE BBC faced criticism yesterday for airing a pre-recorded edition of Radio Ulster's Talkback programme despite Theresa May announcing a snap Westminster election.

While the unexpected election news made global headlines, the flagship current affairs show broadcast an interview with West End star Rachel Tucker.

Listeners who had tuned in hoping for local reaction and analysis on the dramatic political development expressed their frustration on Twitter.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney tweeted: "For the day that's in it, John McEnroe springs to mind! Seriously!" – in an apparent reference to the tennis star's famous "you cannot be serious" rants at umpires.

One Twitter user said: "Seriously Talkback, you should be on the ball here regarding political developments. The big BBC indeed – not during our holidays it seems."

And another tweeted: "Sudden general election called and no BBC Talkback? Surely a programme could have been put together."

Others criticised the lack of BBC staff on Easter Tuesday, with one Twitter user saying it was "at the expense of us licence payers".

In another embarrassing turn, the programme's Twitter account mistakenly posted a picture of US comedian Melissa McCarthy to plug the interview.

Spotting the error, Belfast performer Ms Tucker said on Twitter, "Not me in this photo by the way," and posted a laughing emoji.

Talkback presenter William Crawley shared news of the snap election online yesterday morning, but the broadcaster is in Sydney filming a TV series.

The BBC said Talkback will return to live broadcasts today. A spokesman said Mr Crawley will be back on air in a few weeks, with colleagues taking on presenting duties in his absence.

"BBC Northern Ireland has been running the news of the prime minister's call for a snap general election across our news bulletins and services and will continue to cover the story as it progresses," he said.

On the image of Ms McCarthy, he added: "The picture appears to have been tweeted mistakenly with the correct image of Rachel being tweeted soon after."

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