A senior BBC news anchor has apologised after she was caught giving the finger live on air.
Maryam Moshiri, a chief presenter on the BBC News channel, was seen sticking her middle finger up while appearing to pull a face at somebody behind the camera on Wednesday.
She then quickly snatched her hand back after realising she was live on air ahead of the midday bulletins.
The obscene gesture was captured by observers, with footage of the incident soon circulating on social media.
Ms Moshiri, an Iranian-born journalist who joined the BBC in 2003, later insisted she was sharing a “private joke” as she insisted she wasn’t “flipping the bird” at viewers.
She wrote on Twitter: “Hey everyone, yesterday just before the top of the hour I was joking around a bit with the team in the gallery.
“I was pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0... including the fingers to show the number. So from 10 fingers held up to one.
“When we got to 1, I turned finger around as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera.
“It was a private joke with the team and I’m so sorry it went out on air! It was not my intention for this to happen and I’m sorry if I offended or upset anyone. I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at viewers or even a person really.
“It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates.”
A BBC spokesman directed The Telegraph to Ms Moshiri’s apology.