A BBC newsreader was left red-faced on Thursday evening after accidentally referring to colleague Aleem Maqbool as “Ally McBeal” live on air.
Clive Myrie was introducing a segment about American actor Jussie Smollett, who has been arrested on charges of filing a false police report after claiming to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, when he made the blooper.
He said: “Chicago’s chief of police says the actor may have staged it all because he was dissatisfied with his salary.
“Well Ally McBeal… er Maqbool is in Chicago for us tonight. Ally.”
Mr Maqbool, North America correspondent for the broadcaster, closed his eyes and swallowed a laugh as he realized the mistake but continued to deliver the report with consummate professionalism.
Hundreds of social media users picked up on the blooper as #AllyMcBeal trended on Twitter.
Mr Maqbool, who has spent years with the BBC reporting from around the globe, took the slip-up in good humor.
Responding to one Twitter user who said they were crying with laughter at the mistake, he wrote: “…had a bit of a job not spluttering myself…!”
To another person who described his reaction as “a picture”, he tweeted: “…turns out i didn’t quite manage to hide my surprise completely…”
Two hours after the segment aired, Mr Myrie tweeted simply: “I got my mucking words fuddled! #AllyMcBeal”.
Twitter users found the muddle hilarious.
Had to follow you just so I could tell you how I’ve rewound it 6 times as I couldn’t stop laughing! Your minor reaction was professionalism at its finest! 😂
— Samantha Hobbs (@Sameth1010Hobbs) February 21, 2019
It was quite funny you have to admit xx
— Christine Dobson (@Chrisdobson59) February 21, 2019
I would have loved to have heard the commotion in the gallery! Amazed you managed to keep a straight face and carry on!
— Kavitha (@kavithajourno) February 21, 2019
Haha your face is brilliant Ally! 😂
— Noreen Khan (@DJNoreenKhan) February 22, 2019
That look tho…. 🤔🤦🏽♀️
You couldn’t make this stuff up….
— Shaista Aziz (@shaistaAziz) February 21, 2019
I had to look you up on Twitter to find out what others thought of this. I thought it was hilarious that @CliveMyrieBBC called you Ally McBeal!
— Thomas Page (@999tp) February 21, 2019
Calista Flockhart approves.