Real-life BBC exec given damning leaving speech by W1A’s Neil Reid

...and BBC journalists couldn't resist getting selfies with the W1A cast

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Given that W1A’s entire raison d’être is to parody the BBC, it is perhaps surprising to hear that some of its journalists are the series’ biggest fans.

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Speaking at a screening for the latest – and probably last! – series of W1A, the cast made a few revelations about getting fan-girled by BBC journalists.

David Westhead – who plays Neil Reid, Controller of News and Current Affairs – was asked to do a leaving speech for a real-life BBC exec who loves the show.

“I got a curious phone call when I was on the train after the first series, and somebody said, ‘Oh, hello, it’s so-and-so from the BBC and we were just wondering, we’ve got a senior news executive who’s leaving now after 25 years of service, would you come and give the farewell speech?’” he revealed.

“And I was sat there and I said, ‘You do know I’m not the real Controller of News and Current Affairs?’ And they said, ‘No, he’s a great fan of the show.’

“So I said, ‘Of course,’ and they said, ‘Just say whatever you like.’

“I didn’t really know who this person was, so I said, ‘He’s been f***ing useless for the last 25 years. Clear your desk now, look at your computer screen it’s absolutely empty, you’re a disgrace!’

“They loved it!”

And it seems that this unnamed BBC exec isn’t the only W1A fan. Hugh Bonneville – aka Ian Fletcher Head of Values – said that on all the series he’s worked on, there have “never been more selfies taken than in the BBC building, who you would think would be too cool for school”.

He recalled that when they were filming at Broadcasting House, “everyone was at it”, including the BBC’s security correspondent. “Frank Gardner, you know, buzzing around, it was hilarious.”

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Westhead added: “It is a world of selfies. You think, christ, it’s like I’m looking at a TV screen in my living room because there’s Huw Edwards and Sophie Raworth, and people running up and they’re getting their picture taken with you. It’s bonkers.”