Host hurt in Speer tackle


ABC Insiders host David Speers has escaped seriously injury after the program’s set in Melbourne lurched heavily to the right this morning.

Production staff believe the set tilted over more than 35 degrees, spilling Speers from his chair and slamming him against a side wall.

The show’s presenter would have only suffered shock and some burns from the contents of a coffee jug but did end up with bruises to much of his body after Herald Sun scribe James Campbell was thrown from his own chair and landed on top of a stunned Speers.

The set of the popular weekly politics program had appeared normal as Speers began his opening monologue and look at the morning’s media just after 9am.

But no sooner had the panel been introduced on screen then the set tilted dramatically. Pictured above with Speers were the Australian Financial Review‘s Phil Coorey (right), Radio National’s Fran Kelly (even further right) and Campbell (far right).

The floor of the Insiders studio, like many TV sets, is a false one, raised to allow cabling underneath and preliminary investigations suggest struts on the right-hand side of the set gave way under the pressure of both the host’s and the panel’s political persuasions.

“It never happened when David Marr was on the panel,” one of the show’s producers admitted.

This is the second health scare at the ABC’s Southbank, Melbourne, studios in just a few days.

News Breakfast co-host Michael Rowland is still recovering in an inner-Melbourne hospital from acute exhaustion after the broadcaster made him host that program and then the night’s 7.30 edition for much of last week after normal presenter Leigh Sales took ill.

“I know staff cuts have decimated the talent available to perform these duties well but what they made Michael do was inhumane,” a clearly emotional Lisa Miller said.

“I knew something was wrong by Wednesday when Michael threw to the 7am break and confused some washed up male country and western singer for Casey Chambers.”

And Paul Kennedy, Georgie Tunny and Nate Byrne also voiced their concern: “As the week unfolded, his puns were even worse than normal.”

The Bug understands Rowland had barely slept for the week before collapsing on Friday morning and the ABC could face heavy fines for occupational health and safety breaches around work hours and time off as specified in strict industrial awards.