Live TV is an unpredictable yet delightful beast.
Kelly, a widely respected political science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, was providing his expert opinion on camera, from what appeared to be his home office, when his young children came barreling into the room.
“I would argue that this is a triumph of democracy,” Kelly said via Skype. “Scandals happen all the time. The question is how do democracies respond to those scandals?”
Cue a dancing toddler in pigtails and a bright yellow sweater.
“And what will it mean for the wider region — I think one of your children has just walked in,” BBC presenter James Menendez said, before resuming the exchange and asking: “Do you think relations with the North may change?”
Then, an infant in a walker opened the door and, with a small thrust, rolled into the room — followed by a seemingly frantic woman who tried to collect them.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 10, 2017
Kelly, keeping his eyes straight ahead and holding back the toddler with one hand, launched into his response: “I would be surprised if they do. The — pardon me. My apologies. Sorry.”
The woman scooped up the children and hustled them out of the room.
Kelly then closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath.
“South Korea's policy choices on North Korea have been severely limited in the last six months to a year,” he continued, as his children cried out from another room.
Kelly is a well-known analyst on Korean matters who has provided expert opinion for a number of media outlets, including The Washington Post.
In November, he told The Post that Geun-hye had lost her legitimacy in regards to the opposition and that the government would be “paralyzed” if she refused to step down.
He has also written for Foreign Affairs and the Economist, among other publications.
— Aaron Connelly (@ConnellyAL) March 10, 2017
Kelly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But after the interview, he responded on Twitter to a producer asking to use the video clip, asking: “Is this kinda thing that goes ‘viral’ and gets weird?”
“Too late I suspect,” replied Henry Williams, with the Wall Street Journal.
Kelly has been criticized by some for his reaction to the interruption.
Robert Kelly DOESN'T KEEP his cool, he shoves a toddler out of the way, miserable git. Can all women skid like that? https://t.co/RJ73x3Df0d
— former adventurer (@AJSThompson) March 10, 2017
But others called it “magical TV,” “one of the funniest things I've seen” and “TV gold.”
MY THEORY: BBC interview guy couldn't move to properly deal with the kids because he was wearing a shirt/tie/jacket but just some pants.
— Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) March 10, 2017
Asked about the episode, a BBC spokesman told The Post: “We're really grateful to professor Kelly for his professionalism. This just goes to show that live broadcasting isn't always child's play.”
This story has been updated.