The BBC falsely pronounced its own broadcaster dead—and then resurrected him

The BBC headquarters in London
The BBC headquarters in London
Image: Reuters/Luke MacGregor
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The BBC announced the death of its long serving broadcaster, Brian Matthew, earlier today. Tributes came flooding in for the presenter best known for his role on radio program “Sounds of the 60s.” BBC Radio 2 planned on dedicating a special show to Matthew’s legacy.

The only problem? Matthew is still alive.

The BBC was forced to correct their first announcement several hours later. In an updated statement, the BBC said it was informed by family members and friends that Matthew died last night. Matthew’s family members and friends then contacted the corporation to clarify that Matthew was in fact critically ill. “Our thoughts remain with his family at this very difficult time,” the BBC noted.

As it happens, the BBC made a similar mistake last month. On March 5, BBC Music tweeted “RIP Mark E Smith” on the artist’s 60th birthday. Once again, Smith was not actually dead. The BBC was forced to retract the tweet, and wish Smith happy birthday instead.

Matthew was one of the earliest pop music presenters on the BBC. He started broadcasting in 1957, first for the “Light Programme,” an entertainment show that led the way for the creation of Radio 2. Matthew’s longest presenting gig was on the “Sounds of the 60s”, which he hosted for 27 years. He stepped down earlier this year due to ill-health.