If memory serves, it was his first week in the job, if not his first day. I believe it was his first job in broadcasting too, so he was very new to it all.
We're confusing two Simons here, I think. Simon Potter had that breakdown on his first day where he had to fill for ages ("I think we're going to have our standby video... no, apparently we're not") although I don't think it was his first job on telly because the Radio Times would always announce people like him were already being watched by ten billion people around Europe on Music Box and Superchannel. Simon Parkin started at Christmas 1987 in the mornings. That might have been one of his first weeks in the Broom Cupboard, but probably not his first day. CBBC was his first TV gig, he'd been on the radio before that though.
Thanks Noggin, that was the one, the VE Day programme. Now you say it, of course it couldn't be a time of day thing, just marginal reception I guess.
This is the programme, it was actually for D-Day - http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1994-06-06#at-19.00
This was quite the talking point at the time, they announced at the start they weren't able to join it yet, played music for a few minutes and then announced they wouldn't be able to join it tonight and flung on Wildlife on One. As you say, seemingly there was an error made while booking the satellite and they couldn't transmit it. They recorded it and rescheduled it for a few days later.
One of the all time classics - a live Panorama and all of the VT and film packages were unavailable.
Turns up on clip shows now and again, but what happened next? Did they leave Dimbleby sitting twiddling his thumbs like a lemon or did pres do the slide and music routine?
"You mean we don't have film of either the IMF... or Rhodesia?!" So much to enjoy in that clip, not least David saying he can't tell us anything else about the Rhodesia film as it doesn't have any narration and he can't tell us anything else about the IMF film as it's "quite complicated". Clive James talks about that programme in one of his books of TV reviews, and points out that, to add insult to injury, they did get the Rhodesia film back and played that, cutting David off mid-introduction.
Happened with a famous one on BBC1, the film "Adams Woman". This was a widescreen film, and they were using the pan and scan technique. That alone had poor results, but the highlight of it was when they forgot the change the reel!
On one of the websites for old Beeb employees someone mentions they were just about to introduce a film when they heard in their earpiece the director shouting "What do you mean it says 'short version'?".
I mentioned this in another thread but when Thames were doing the Telethon in 1985, every other regions was showing the final part of a mini-series Thames had bought and edited for the network, which Thames were going to show another night, so Thames sent it to Central to play out to everyone else. But somewhere between London and Birmingham one of the reels went missing and it finished twenty minutes early. Here's the Glasgow Herald reporting it - https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zcJAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=36UMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2584%2C8040098