Thai TV station red-faced after Thatcher-Streep gaffe

Originally published at Siam Voices on April 9, 2013

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away on Monday at the age of 87 and with the passing of a historical figure like her, the mechanisms of the media go into full swing as her political legacies are discussed with either passion or loathing (while social media discussed whether or not the etiquette-based courtesy should be better dropped).

Of course, the Thai mainstream also runs its tributes and obituaries. However, when people tuned into the army-owned Channel 5 for the news on the death of Thatcher – they saw this:

A screenshot of a news program on Thailand’s Channel 5 showing actress Meryl Streep as former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher instead of the real recently deceased Thatcher. (Picture by Nopadol Prompasit/Facebook)

Yes, this is NOT the late Thatcher but rather US actress Meryl Streep portraying her in the 2011 movie The Iron Lady. After one viewer snapped a screenshot of this and posted it on Facebook, a flood of schadenfreude was poured onto Channel 5 by Thai netizens.

(READ MORE: Taiwan TV shows queen in reports on Thatcher death)

Obviously, this was the result of a quick Google picture search and taking the next best picture that showed up. But it does beg the question whether or not this will be the last time that a TV newsroom will make such a (admittedly hilarious) mistake and confuse the real world figures with the actors playing them – we probably can expect to see future mix-ups like Hellen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II or Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela!

But let’s not go too hard on the Thai media. The BBC had a howler of its own on Monday afternoon:

Screenshot of BBC blunder announcing Margaret Thatcher had died of a ‘strike’. Pic via @heardinlondon, Twitter.

P.S.: One could argue that a picture shown on CNN with Thatcher standing next to late BBC personality and now notorious Jimmy Saville isn’t much better either…