My chum Mr Methane, the world's only professionally performing farteur, caused a bit of a stink when he appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2009 and now he has innocently caused national outrage in Romania.
Last Thursday, viewers were happily watching the current affairs programme Stirea Zilei (News of the Day) on Antena3 TV. Presenter Gabriela Vranceanu Firea was hosting a serious political debate which included former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase who, not surprisingly was critical of the current ruling politicians.
Then, 16 minutes 25 seconds into the show, they screened footage of Mr Methane on Britain's Got Talent, farting the Romanian national anthem. The whole Stirea Zilei show is online here:
The relevant clip was also posted on YouTube:
Angry Romanians enraged that Mr Methane had insulted their nation complained to the TV station, complained to YouTube and contacted Mr Methane direct by e-mail demanding an apology before realising that they had, in fact, been duped.
The TV channel had over-dubbed the sound of a farted Romanian national anthem.
Quite whom they employed to do this complicated task remains a mystery; one suspects a clever videotape editor with a lot of time on his hands.
Reaction included a message from one Dragos B. Baia Mare saying: "My country Romania was humiliated... The people who lead us have allowed my country Romania to be mocked. Try to live dignified and decent. Romanians Awake!"
A more informed but anonymous viewer who had checked the original Britain's Got Talent clip on YouTube wrote (and I can only go here by what Google Translate tells me):
"To run a movie with a performance of a candidate reprehensible in a contest, with background music is changed intentionally demeaning to every novel that has followed this issue. Especially with how serious it is attitude, not all citizens can check if the original movie in the background was the national anthem or not, the intent to mislead a substantial mass of viewers, is obvious. Last but not least, the use of national anthem for such purposes and to get the audience and to provoke discussion, must be punished."
I have to agree (I think).
One Romanian who watched the TV show in Bucharest told me: "It felt frustrating and kinda humiliating to see and hear the national anthem being played through the ass."
A bemused Mr. Methane says: "I'm no stranger to controversy and I don't mind taking the blame for my own 'colon coughs' but, in this case, my botty bugle was not involved. I had been set up and what would really upset me is if this footage has been licensed to be used in this way by TalkbackThames, the UK copyright holder and producer of Britain's Got Talent...
"I suspect that the Romanian TV channel may have just gone ahead and used it without their and ITV's permission. Either way, it's pain in the arse. I think I deserve an apology from one of them or maybe both. If they want to insult the Romanian national anthem and seek a confrontation with outraged Romanian citizens everywhere, they should take responsibility for their own farting around and not try to pass it off as mine".
You can see the original Britain's Got Talent clip without the Romanian national anthem here: