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By The Drum, Editorial

November 2, 2011 | 2 min read

Did the BBC set-up Gordon Brown during the famous bigot gate row?

BBC presenter, Jeremy Vine last night told the IPA Effectiveness Awards dinner that he did not 'understand' how a famous radio interview he did with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the election campaign came to be televised.

During the interview, for his BBC Radio Two show, Vine asked Brown if he had referred to a North West woman who had spoken to him on the election trail as bigoted.

Brown was in the BBC Manchester studio, and Vine was in London. But Vine told the IPA audience that the television pictures of Brown collapsing into his hands became one of the 'defining' moments of the election.

As well as the BBC, the pictures were broadcast by every network, and within hours were even being beamed around the world. One US commentator said, 'you could see Brown's political career leave his body.'

But how the pictures were captured in the first place is a mystery, according to Vine, who said he had no idea Brown was being filmed as he did the interview.

"I could not understand how it happened," he said suggesting that Brown's staff had been given guarantees that he would not be filmed. But somehow, 'a camera was plugged into the wall which seemed' connected to all the major news channels.

Vine said he asked an official about the incident, inquiring how long it had been BBC to allow such filming in its radio studios. 'About eight days' was the answer.

The row erupted after Gordon Brown left a Sky radio microphone on which had initially been recording his exchanges with voters. However, after getting into his car, forgetting the microphone was still on, he described one voter as a 'bigoted' woman after she had challenged him on immigration policy.

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