Video of children crashing BBC interview goes viral

Prof Kelly's children strolled into what seems to be his home office while he was appearing on the BBC via Skype.
Prof Kelly's children strolled into what seems to be his home office while he was appearing on the BBC via Skype.PHOTO: BBC NEWS/YOUTUBE

LONDON • There are well-known drawbacks to working from home: isolation, need for self-discipline.

But here is a new one: the invasion of the toddlers.

Political science professor Robert E. Kelly of Pusan National University in South Korea learnt this the hard way on Friday when he appeared as an expert on the BBC via Skype to discuss the South Korea impeachment scandal.

He appeared to be in a home office, with a door closed behind him. Shortly before the interview, he let his Twitter followers know he would be on TV.

Then, as the questioning began, the door opened. A child toddled in.

Then another strolled in, this time in a squeaky walker. And then their mother burst into the scene, skidding around a corner and frantically trying to herd the wayward young people out the door.

She knocked books off a table before falling to her knees and grabbing the handle to close the door.

The interruption, almost slapstick if it had not been real, was over within 40 seconds, during which Prof Kelly veered from apparent mild annoyance to repeated apologies and stifling smiles, while ultimately keeping his composure as he discussed the latest political drama under way in South Korea, where a court has removed President Park Geun Hye from office.

While the professor appeared to do his best to keep the live broadcast professional, the clip was inevitably destined to do what these things do: spread widely across the Internet.

News organisations and television channels, including BuzzFeed, The Guardian and CNN, picked up the story. Online, many of the comments were sympathetic, while others said that Prof Kelly had "strong-armed" one of the children when he reached behind him to repel her advance, all while keeping his eye contact with the camera and continuing to speak.

Prof Kelly, who is an expert on politics on the Korean Peninsula, has been a contributing guest on the BBC for many years, as well as on ITN News and Sky.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 12, 2017, with the headline 'Video of children crashing BBC interview goes viral'. Print Edition | Subscribe