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When live TV cracks up: Louise Lear and the curse of corpsing

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Anna Pollitt
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A TV weather presenter has treated the nation to an uncontrollable fit of bone-shaking giggles live on air in a clip we've been playing on repeat now for about four hours.

Louise Lear tried - and miserably failed - to cling to her last scrap of composure during a forecast that lit up Wednesday afternoon for much of the UK.

Here's a breakdown of her giggling breakdown:

“I think we've lost her,” BBC newsreader Simon McCoy observes as Lear is attacked by a fit of laughter seconds before her segment.

“I'll try to keep it together,” Lear insists, after the shaky start. “Because it's not a laughing matter with the weather in Scotland today,” she continues with an increasing urgency that rises to a hysterical pitch.

louise lear

When the BBC newsroom bantz is just too much

“Sorry,” she continues with desperate tears in her eyes. The forecast briefly resumes. We hear something about gale-force gusts in Wales.

Then Lear turns at speed to face her map and as her shoulders slump, we know it's not over.

She's crying. Actual tears of laughter are rolling down her face as cloud graphics bubble over the south east behind her.

“Sorry,” she says again, this time with a sincerity and gravity that makes the viewer feel really quite bad. Is Lear in trouble? Is corpsing a matter for disciplinary? 

louise lear

'Sorry.' But Louise Lear can't help it.

There's a pause. Then, as we teeter on the edge of our seats eating our knuckles, she goes again. 

“We've had some highs of 24 degrees,” she's almost screeching now.

It's tense. This veteran purveyor of straight-laced weather news is caught in the grip of lolz that's relentless, unexpected and almost too much to endure. For her and the viewer.

In keeping with the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the entire glorious spectacle, suddenly, like nothing has happened, she launches briskly into the rest of her forecast. “So, that's 75 fahrenheit,” she says firmly. 

Lear's confidence gathers pace and she's pointing defiantly at the camera now. “Let's move back to this area of low pressure,” she commands. Yasss. The boss is back. 

Oh... no. That area of low pressure in the north-west triggers something in Lear and it all comes tumbling down again. She's wracked with frustration and we're beginning to wonder how long this weather broadcast can possibly go on.

It being the Beeb, there are no ad breaks to cut to. 

Finally, 58 seconds into her broadcast, Lear gets back on track.

See for yourself:

Naturally, everyone wants to know what or who is responsible for her mirth and the virtual finger is pointing squarely at  her colleague McCoy, 54.

He's having none of it and, for now at least, the cause of Lear's laughing fit remains a mystery.

(In case you'd forgotten, McCoy's the presenter who mistook a pad of A4 paper for an iPad during one of his own live broadcasts in 2013):

Lear, 48, is by no means the first to crumble on air. Here are some of our favourite belly-laugh bloopers:

"He's set to become the biggest bullock in Britain," is the line that tips Bill Turnbull over the edge:

Susanna Reid asking Dan Stevens if he has to "beat off" men for parts:

Sky News' Niall Paterson struggles to read news on the bird population that discusses "Great Tits":

Quentin Sommerville high on a stack of burning drugs (that he was reporting on):

And, one of our all-time faves, Radio 4's Charlotte Green can't keep it together when someone apparently whispers in her ear that the world's oldest voice recording sounds like "a bee in a jar".

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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