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Radio presenter suffers amusing on-air blunder after wrong guest contacted

Evan Davis was put through to a different Robert Shapiro from the one he expected to be talking to.

BBC Radio 4’s PM show host Evan Davis (Ian West/PA)
BBC Radio 4’s PM show host Evan Davis (Ian West/PA)

By Luke Powell, PA

Radio presenter Evan Davis suffered an amusing on-air blunder after being put through to the wrong Robert Shapiro for a segment on TV cameras being allowed into UK courts.

The BBC Radio 4 PM show host said he was “mortified” after realising he was not speaking to OJ Simpson’s defence lawyer but instead another American who shares the same name.

Laughter could be heard in the background from Mr Shapiro as he was wrongly introduced as the lawyer who in 1995 successfully defended the former American football player when he was accused of murder.

Let me say that I am Robert Shapiro, an adviser to Democratic presidents, not the lawyer Robert Shapiro

Speaking during the show on Thursday, Mr Davis said: “Robert Shapiro, I am fascinated in what you think about these rather tentative steps that have been taken here to show court on television and whether we are moving on the right track.”

An amused Mr Shapiro replied: “First of all, it’s an honour to be on with Lord Sumption, second, let me say that I am Robert Shapiro, an adviser to Democratic presidents, not the lawyer.

“You called the wrong Robert Shapiro.”

In response, Mr Davis said: “Oh my goodness, what a mistake we made. You are obviously in our Rolodex.  I am surprised we didn’t pick that up in the pre-conversation.”

“I am surprised too,” Mr Shapiro said.

Despite the blunder, Mr Shapiro carried on to provide his views on new draft legislation that could lead to TV cameras being allowed into crown courts to broadcast judges’ sentencing remarks.

He was joined over the phone by former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption, who the show had correctly contacted.

Mr Davis said: “We are obviously mortified by this. I hope we have the former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption on the line. ”

Speaking at the end of the segment, Mr Davis said to Mr Shapiro: “That is the worst mistake on air we have made since I think I started on this programme.

“Thank you so much anyway for knowing so much about it.”

PA

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