Earlier today Nick Ferrari hosted an hour long phone-in with Boris Johnson. Nowadays all these interviews are not only filmed, but streamed live. We have a whole host of cameras in the studio, and unlike certain other broadcasters if we are going to stream something we are increasingly professional with the video production. It's just as much a TV studio than a radio studio.
This interview has become (in)famous because of some fake news which many on the left have revelled in promulgating today, despite being appraised of the truth and what really happened.
At one point in the interview, Boris Johnson was seen doing a throat-slitting gesture. He was, at that moment, having some difficulty answering a question about social care.
This was leapt upon by conspiracy theorists who assumed it must be Boris Johnson signalling to Nick Ferrari to end this line of questioning and to move on to another subject. This was seen as proof that Boris was much more comfortable in a studio with Nick Ferrari, who would do his bidding in a way Andrew Neil was never likely to. But as usual, it was cock-up, not conspiracy. But that didn't stop the likes of David Lammy, David Schneider, Jewish Voice for Labour and many others spreading this utter lie on Twitter, although at least the two Davids had the good grace to delete their tweets eventually, once they were informed of the truth.
In a studio environment, all presenters use signals to the producers who are behind the screen in the gallery. Nick uses a throat slitting sign to tell his producer to 'shut the f**k up' and stop talking in his ear. I use the same gesture if I don't want to speak to a particular caller.
If I want the producer to be quiet - and it does happen, even though I welcome advice in my ear - I tend to do a Larry Grayson 'shut that door' kind of signal in a sort of dismissive hand gesture. With the cameras on you have to be wary of doing something that might be seen as inappropriate, but the presenter-producer relationship is one of mutual trust and things are said and done in the heat of the moment that are forgotten minutes later. It's a live studio environment.
I remember one incident where my producer was in a particularly bad mood one day, and so was I. He asked me to read something out, which I duly did, but a minute later he buzzed in my ear and told me to do as I was told and read the 'fucking thing out'. He clearly hadn't been listening.
I was triggered. I replied in kind and it escalated in us both calling each other the 'c' word through the glass, all the while while I was conducting a conversation with a caller. Thank God I pressed the right button. We didn't speak for the remaining 45 minutes of the show. But we kissed and made up afterwards, especially when he realised I was in the right!
On a live show these things happen. Adults get over them. Non-adults harbour resentments for months afterwards.
Anyway, I digress. All Boris Johnson was doing was mimicking what Nick Ferrari had done to his producer. He clearly found it very amusing. Some time later in the hour Boris noticed on the TV screen in the studio that Sky were showing a video of him 'throatslitting. He then drew Nick's attention to it and Nick explained what he had been doing and Boris explained he had mimicked Nick. End of story, you'd have thought.
To clarify the PM’s gesture this morning on LBC, this is sign language between me and my producer to signify he needs to stay quiet in my ear. It’s been in common use for over 10 years. End of. NF— Nick Ferrari (@NickFerrariLBC) November 29, 2019
Here is the clip of Boris explaining what happened...
But still the conspiracy theories abound and people who aren't fans of either Boris or Nick are delighting in spreading them. Shameful, really. But that's what happens now on social media, and the poor bloody voter is expected to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Shelagh Fogarty discuss this in today's Daily Trail podcast on the LBC Election 2019 podcast feed.