The BBC has apologised after a porn prank sabotaged their pre-match coverage of Liverpool’s FA Cup tie at Wolves on Tuesday night.
As Match of the Day host Gary Lineker and pundits Paul Ince and Danny Murphy tried to discuss the third-round replay ahead of kick-off at Molineux, loud moaning noises of a sexual nature could be constantly heard at full volume throughout the broadcast.
It was initially unclear where the sounds were coming from, with Lineker and his fellow pundits trying their best to persevere with their analysis with straight faces and make light of the situation despite the constant awkward interruptions playing on a loop that just would not cease.
The noises continued as Lineker tried to cut away from the studio and chat with co-commentator Alan Shearer up on the stadium gantry.
“Somebody’s sending something on someone’s phone, I think. I don’t know whether you heard it at home,” Lineker then said.
He later revealed shortly after kick-off on social media, which had been thrown into meltdown by the prank, that the source of the noises had been discovered in the form of a phone hidden on the Match of the Day set.
“Well, we found this taped to the back of the set,” he tweeted alongside a picture of the mobile in question. “As sabotage goes it was quite amusing.”
Lineker then tweeted a picture of the embarrassing incident dominating Twitter trends and quipped: “Nothing to moan about, I guess.”
Lineker poked fun at the incident several more times during an amusing half-time segment and again after the game, joking: “Harvey Elliott’s goal was a screamer... which was not the only one we’ve had tonight.”
Responsibility for the sabotage has now been claimed by notorious YouTube prankster Daniel Jarvis, better known as Jarvo 69. He has released a video on YouTube live streaming from his living room showing exactly how it was carried out with the help of accomplices.
Jarvis is already well known for a string of other stunts including numerous pitch invasions that have landed him in hot water. He collided with England cricketer Jonny Bairstow at The Oval after initially hiding in the toilets and then running onto the field on day two of the fourth Test against India in September 2021, later receiving an eight-week jail term suspended for two years for aggravated trespass.
He was also banned from attending any sporting fixtures in England and Wales for two years and from travelling abroad for 12 months.
Jarvis’ other high-profile sporting stunts include gatecrashing the New Zealand national anthem ahead of their rugby union Test match against Wales in Cardiff during the 2021 autumn series, while he also invaded the pitch during Tottenham’s Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade at White Hart Lane back in 2014.
The BBC have apologised to viewers who were offended by what transpired during their pre-match coverage of Wolves vs Liverpool and pledged to investigate the incident fully.
“We apologise to any viewers offended during the live coverage of the football this evening,” the Beeb said in a statement. “We are investigating how this happened.”
Reflecting on a bizarre night in an impromptu appearance on Newsnight on his way home from Molineux, Lineker joked: “If you told me this morning that I’d be on Newsnight talking about a porn scandal, I’d have been terrified!
“Thankfully it was just something that happened in the studio. When it started I did recognise that sound, I think we’ve all been done with that when you open up a WhatsApp or something and somebody has sent you it as a trick on the train or when you’re busy in people’s company.
“It was quite difficult to cope with during the pre-match build-up. I thought maybe it had gone to one of the pundits’ phones, but then I thought no, it’s too loud. Then I obviously worked out it was a prank.
“It was so loud that I couldn’t hear anything that Paul Ince, Danny Murphy or Alan Shearer said. Every time it went to a piece of VT it stopped, so then I’m figuring this is being done by someone watching the television.
“I have to say I think it’s funny. I know the BBC have issued some sort of apology, I know not why. They certainly have nothing to apologise for.”
He added: “As pranks go it was a good one. But on a serious note, the only thing I think the authorities were worried about was that if someone can plant a phone like that then that is a security issue for obvious reasons, they could do something else.”