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Most Memorable Moments on Live TV

Tuning into live TV resonates with Forrest Gump’s famous saying: “life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get”.

You can sometimes expect the unexpected, live TV moments are not complete without them making you laugh out loud, gasp in pure horror or sink deeper and deeper into your sofa with pure awkwardness. Be it reality TV, sports, soaps or news, live TV has brought us some of the most golden moments in television history that never fail to lighten the mood.

RAW Pictures, video production company based in Oxford share their round up of the most memorable moments on Live TV.

Live TV episodes

Live episodes are notoriously tricky to pull off. Think about it – you have an entire set and crew to think about, and no second chances if you forget your lines. With such pressure comes expectation from audiences at home, who feel fully immersed in the events on screen, as unsure as the actors behind the camera as to what might come next.

Although live TV is common for some branches of entertainment, such as Saturday Night television, scripted television is usually recorded months before, with time for edits, reshoots and final touches added before the episode is broadcast.

West Wing

West Wing famously live aired an episode back in 2005; the live episode was deliberately presented in a similar style to a live political debate with various aspects including camera quality and a relaxed script allowing the actors to improvise at points. Critics commented on how the live ‘televised debate’ echoed that of a real debate, with no follow up or cut to an additional scene. This gave the West Wing episode a further feel of credibility, as viewers were left to their own thoughts about the aftermath of the debate. The two actors, Jimmy Smits and Arnold Vinick, had a crash course in debate strategy to prepare for the show, and read up on issues that allowed them to veer slightly off topic, which would be the case in a real event.


EastEnders famously went live for the first time in February 2010 to celebrate 25 years of the show, which was generally praised, despite a few misdelivered lines and bumpy camera shots. Notable glitches included a customer not paying for their goods at the Minute Mart – however the most famed moment from EastEnders’ Live moment came in 2015, when actress Jo Joyner returned to the screen asking ‘How’s Adam’ when referring to fellow actor Adam Woodyatt, whose name on screen is actually Ian Beale.

Around the world

Olympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic Ceremony had big shoes to fill, following on from the visually stunning opening ceremony in China in 2008, a masterpiece that left watchers around the world in awe. Danny Boyle directed the 2012 ceremony in London, which has been commented on as a whirlwind of British cultural history, spanning the decades, celebrating all things British. From the industrial revolution, to Shakespeare, Bowie, The Beatles, Mr Bean, Bond and The Queen, you name it – it was in there. Notable highlights included Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series and a celebration of the NHS and British music. The show was brought to a close by Sir Paul McCartney and has been heralded as an entirely original showcase of British history and culture.

Oscars Blunder

The 2017 Oscars Blunder has gone down in history as one of the most embarrassing moments in awards history. Many attendees and viewers were left in shock at how such a mistake could have happened, at one of the most prestigious events in the film industry calendar. The producer of the wrongly announced winner, La La Land, graciously handed over the golden statue to the rightful winners, the team of Moonlight, as celebrities and those at home watched in disbelief. The presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, tried to explain how the colossal error had occurred, having been handed the wrong envelope. The blunder was not taken lightly, with the two accountants responsible from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, no longer eligible to participate in the Academy Awards show.

Just plain silly

Children Interrupt BBC Interview

Now famously hailed as the ‘BBC Dad’, with over 40 million views on Youtube, Robert Kelly’s BBC Live interview was famously and raucously interrupted by his two children in 2017. The whole moment has been called a masterpiece and a perfectly orchestrated comedy of errors which shot the family to fame. The star of the show, the little girl, Marion soon became a meme, and emails came flooding into Kelly from newsrooms and TV studios around the world within the hour. The BBC Dad in question, a Political Science Professor, thought the hilarious interruption would bring an end to his live TV career; rather, from the Wall Street Journal to the Ellen DeGeneres show, this delightful family blooper captured the hearts of the world.

Presenter falls into pool

Another live blunder captured by the BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell who was the star of the show when he fell into a pool live on camera at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. As he tried to redeem himself amongst a crew and a group of athletes who couldn’t control their laughter, the whole interview was broadcast live on BBC Breakfast. The interview had to be cut short due to the water damage the microphone and sound pack suffered, but that didn’t stop it having an impact!


This round up mentions just a few of the most memorable moments caught on live tv. Arguably, it’s these moments that make live TV so special; as a platform, it can connect to an audience like nothing else, meaning we share every high, low, and unexpected mistake for years to come. Even with all the preparation in the world, it can be full of surprises!