Charlie Stayt welcomed Helen Dickinson onto BBC Breakfast to discuss supermarket shortages across the UK. However, BBC viewers suggested his interview and the show’s coverage on the matter could lead to some listeners “panic buying” after pictures of empty shelves were shown throughout the programme.
The BBC Breakfast presenter referred to two images of empty supermarket shelves in the shop’s prospective drink aisles.
Charlie began: “We’ve been showing one or two images and these are pictures taken by individuals in individual shops showing empty shelves.
“That in itself is not evidence that there’s a widespread problem, we’ve got to be careful around the picture we’re presenting but you just said a moment ago within the next hours or days, there are going to be real problems.
“Can you tell me which companies, which products your talking about? Otherwise there’s general scaremongering, can you break this down for me?”
“Well I think it’s isolated in parts of the country, each business will be dealing with it differently, each business will be geographically spread differently,” Helen replied.
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“I think the most important thing is people don’t panic because there’s plenty of food in the country but that individual companies have started to speak out on the impact on their business,” she continued.
“You perhaps heard from Richard Walker from Iceland speak over the last few days about needing to reduce hours on some of his store portfolio and in the worst case close stores.
“There will be many smaller businesses where if they only have one or two employees and they need to self-isolate, they’ll need to close their doors completely.
“What I can say is everybody that I am talking to are seeing absence rates that are higher than they’d expect.”
She said: “I am not saying ‘ditch the ping’ I’m saying maybe bring forward double vaccinated people not needing to isolate, bring forward that date from August 16 to much closer to now might be an option. I’m saying there are pilots for test and release for businesses, those pilots could be a new system.”
BBC Breakfast weren’t impressed with the interview and took to Twitter to comment.
One frustrated viewer tweeted: “@BBCBreakfast did Charlie not get enough sleep? The interview with Helen Dickinson from @the_brc came across a very rude, she handled him brilliantly, he continually tried to put words into her mouth, so disappointing!”
“Nice try @BBCBreakfast Charlie pushing and pushing until he gets answer he wants then when not ditched the interview defund the @BBC NOW,” another wrote.
A third said: “@BBCBreakfast I think you have started the second wave of panic buying.”
“Oh come on BBC …. Let’s show empty shelves and cause a panic buy! You really could not make it up. Sigh,” another remarked.
Someone else shared: “IRRESPONSIBLE BBC breakfast Charlie Stayt trying to cause public panic in the shop’s asking a guest to name shops and products there is a shortage of on the shelves!”
“Great idea Charlie, start mass panic and panic buying #bbcbreakfast,” a sixth wrote.
BBC Breakfast airs on BBC One daily at 6am.