BBC News anchor accidentally calls male colleague ‘Ally McBeal’ live on air

Newsreader Clive Myrie made the error while introducing North America correspondent Aleem Maqbool.

A BBC newsreader was left red-faced on Thursday evening after accidentally referring to colleague Aleem Maqbool as “Ally McBeal” live on air.

Clive Myrie was introducing a segment about American actor Jussie Smollett, who has been arrested on charges of filing a false police report after claiming to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, when he made the blooper.

He said: “Chicago’s chief of police says the actor may have staged it all because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

“Well Ally McBeal… er Maqbool is in Chicago for us tonight. Ally.”

Mr Maqbool, North America correspondent for the broadcaster, closed his eyes and swallowed a laugh as he realised the mistake but continued to deliver the report with consummate professionalism.

Hundreds of social media users picked up on the blooper as #AllyMcBeal trended on Twitter.

Mr Maqbool, who has spent years with the BBC reporting from around the globe, took the slip-up in good humour.

Responding to one Twitter user who said they were crying with laughter at the mistake, he wrote: “…had a bit of a job not spluttering myself…!”

To another person who described his reaction as “a picture”, he tweeted: “…turns out i didn’t quite manage to hide my surprise completely…”

Two hours after the segment aired, Mr Myrie tweeted simply: “I got my mucking words fuddled! #AllyMcBeal”.