R4’s Charlotte Green gets giggles on air

Mar 28, 2008

Charlotte Green, the BBC radio newsreader famed for her velvet tones and unflappable manner, was overcome by a fit of giggles while reading the 8.0 am news during Radio 4's Today progamme on Friday morning. The subject of mirth was the discovery by American historians of what they believe is the first recording of the human voice, made 17 years before Thomas Edison demonstrated his gramaphone.

After the scratchy, barely audible recording of a woman singing Au Clair de la Lune was played, someone in the Today studio apparently whispered in Green's ear: "It sounds like a bee in a bottle". Green dissolved into giggles while trying to read the next item, which, luck would have it, was the news that the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Judgment at Nuremberg, Abby Mann, had died at the age of 80.

A flood of calls to Broadcasting House followed - not complaining of any insult to the family of Abby Mann, but begging that the giggles be played again. Today duly obliged, noting two historic moments - first the recording and second a rare lapse by the woman once voted the "Most Attractive Female Voice on National Radio".

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