(Screenshot/The Wall Street Journal)
Earlier this week the world got two tiny new heroes when a four-year-old girl sauntered into her dad’s big important political interview–live on BBC World News–and brought her 8-month-old brother along for the fun. Now Professor Robert E. Kelly–who will henceforth be known as BBC Dad–explains how that viral video happened, and it’s even funnier than the version we saw.
In an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kelly said the whole thing was entirely his fault, because he always locks the door when he’s doing an important video call. This time, he just forgot.
It had been a big day in Korea. The president had just been ousted after a months-long corruption scandal, and the ramifications for the country and the region are huge. So Kelly and his wife, Kim Jung-A, were prepared for him to have a series of media appearances as a political expert. The BBC interview was happening around 7 p.m. their time, so they ordered some pizzas, and Kelly put on the top half of his Smart Business Suit with a pair of jeans on the bottom and went into his office for his BBC appearance.
In the living room, Kim was filming the TV screen with her phone so they would have a clip of his appearance. It’s pretty funny to think about, because 20 years ago she would just have recorded it on their VCR and kept the VHS tape, but now nobody has VCRs or VHS, and thus Kim wound up holding her phone at the TV to capture her husband’s big moment.
The kids were in the room with her, happily eating pizza and playing with toys, and Kelly says four-year-old Marion was “in a hippity-hoppity mood” that day because she’d just celebrated a birthday party at school. When Kelly came on the family’s TV, Marion was stoked to see her dad on the screen. She could see that he was in his office, so she marched off to go see what he was doing. That wasn’t unusual, and Kim says the kids often try to go into dad’s office while he’s doing Skype calls. It’s not unusual and it’s never been a problem before, because the kids usually encounter a locked door and march right back to their mom. But Kelly had forgotten to lock the door, so in marched Marion, clearly very proud of herself.
Skype calls always give you a little video of yourself in the corner so you can see what you look like, so Kelly saw his daughter the moment she came into his office. He said he just tried to keep going, because he thought maybe the BBC would zoom in on him so she wouldn’t be in the shot. When she tried to get closer to see the Skype window and mess with the computer buttons, he put his arm out to try to move her towards a pile of toys that were on the floor, in the hopes that she’d see them and be distracted from the video. No chance.
Then 8-month-old James wheeled on in after his sister. Kelly says that as soon as he saw the baby wheel in, he knew the whole thing was over and there was no longer any chance of keeping it together through the interview.
Meanwhile, Kim was back in the living room filming the TV, and the BBC has a 7-second delay for a live broadcast, so she had no idea what had happened until–right there on her phone screen–she saw what everyone watching at home was seeing: Her kids had gotten into the office and were parading around through the interview. That’s when she dropped everything and came bursting through the office door like Kramer to get her kids out of the room as quickly as possible.
“Yes I was mortified, but I also want my kids to feel comfortable coming to me,” Kelly said to the WSJ, who said the video was really cute and funny. “I made this minor mistake that turned my family into YouTube stars. It’s pretty ridiculous.”