Charlie Pickering apologises for ABC New Year countdown ‘kill a police officer’ autocue blunder

The host of the ABC’s new year fireworks show Charlie Pickering has apologised for telling viewers that New Year’s midnight countdown was “the only time it’s okay to kill a police officer”.

The high profile blunder came from Pickering in the final seconds of the countdown, and appeared to be either a slip of the tongue or a misreading of his autocue. He rapidly corrected himself to “kiss a police officer”.

Pickering, with co-host Zan Rowe, quickly corrected his “kill a police officer” slip

However, the pre-fireworks slip was quickly shared on social media.


Within a couple of hours of the broadcast, Pickering tweeted an apology, telling viewers: “Apologies for the slip of the tongue at the end.”

The mistake came after what had been a slicker New Year’s Eve broadcast than the ABC had managed in recent years.

The 2014 countdown – the first after the ABC took on duties from Nine – was slated for a “self indulgent” presentation style from comedian Lawrence Mooney.

Then 2015’s broadcast was labelled “patronising, amateurish, tedious and intermittently baffling” with host Julia Zemiro caught with a live microphone at the end of the broadcast saying “Oh thank God”.

And 2017’s countdown saw hosts Jeremy Fernandez and Ella Hooper criticised for apparently failing to notice that it was turning midnight.

The 2018 countdown had focused almost entirely on musical acts with higher production levels than previous years.

Meanwhile, not everyone spotted the mistake. The Sydney Morning Herald’s review by Neil McMahon declared it “a near-flawless show that delighted viewers, involved precisely zero cock-ups or embarrassments and helped viewers put the happy back into Happy New Year.”



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