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BBC presenter mistakes paper for iPad? Not credible

Many have laughed at the BBC's Simon McCoy for picking up a pack of printing paper instead of an iPad as he presented on air. But was this stoic professionalism? Or perhaps one big joke?

Was he being witty? Wah News/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This is paper thin.

A BBC News presenter goes live on air and he's holding a packet of printer paper. A big, thick packet of printer paper.

Because, allegedly, he mistook it for an iPad.

BBC presenters all need an iPad, you see, to steady themselves as they stand and say interesting things.

iPads are exceptionally heavy. Yes, about the same weight and thickness as a huge, thick packet of printer paper.

Oh, of course, he mistook the paper for an iPad. And of course the BBC is run by people whose hero is Mussolini.

Would it surprise anyone if, when he writes his autobiography, the BBC's Simon McCoy will declare that this was a bet?

Or a witty protest against the rampant use of technology to make the BBC look more modern?

Or just a plain old, I'm-at-work-and-I'm-bored joke?

Please let me help you get to know Simon McCoy. When he was a presenter on Sky News, he was splendidly amusing. Now that he's at the BBC, he hasn't lost any of his forthright flair.

Very recently, when asked to report on the idea that there might be a royal baby, he stood outside a London hospital, looked blithely into the camera, and said: "Plenty more to come from here, of course. None of it news."

This man is a consummate professional. Very funny, too.

As my next evidence, might I present the subject that McCoy was talking about in the paper iPad incident? Yes, this was serious.

But I can imagine more than one BBC executive, seated in the lounge of a very fine hotel, giggling at the sight of McCoy holding a packet of printer paper, with the large caption behind him reading: "Problem drinking 'on increase.'"

This is also the Simon McCoy who last year was seen resting his head on his desk, before jolting upright when he realized he was live on BBC air.

At the time, McCoy explained to the Independent: "I was not asleep. It was a long desk head-banging that wasn't meant to be picked in the BBC1 opt!!"

The BBC, as again quoted by the Independent, said of the iPad incident: "This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet to hold as he went to air, he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it."

It added: "In the rush of live news, he didn't have an opportunity to swap the items, so simply went with it."

Of course. Yes, everyone laughed. It was funny.

But if you believe the BBC's explanation, then you will believe it really is possible to mistake a perhaps 2-inch thick packet of printer paper for a 0.37-inch thick iPad.

Do, please, pull the other one. It has bells on and plays "God Save the Queen."