LONDON — There’s not much to laugh about in a fuel shortage crisis.
But when the BBC sent reporter Phil McCann to a BP station on Saturday to cover the unfolding events, Brits were quick to see the funny side. Get it? “Fill me can.”
Britain’s truck driver shortage has caused a string of serious problems across Britain, the most recent being gas shortages and long lines at filling stations after many people ignored government pleas not to panic-buy fuel.
The Road Haulage Association estimates that Britain needs an extra 100,000 drivers and says that shortages have been exacerbated by Brexit and the pandemic. Gas stations are running out of gas, but there is also an insufficient supply of carbon dioxide that can power beer taps, and other infrastructure. McDonald’s runs out of milkshake ingredients. KFC has removed certain items from their menu.
The government is expected to announce on Sunday relaxed visa requirements for foreign truck drivers, according to media reports, in a bid to ease the crisis and save Christmas from supply chain woes.
McCann tweeted from the scene on Saturday: “There definitely has been panic at the pumps here in Stockport — this petrol station is out of both types of fuel. It sold more than 3 times the normal amount yesterday and may not get a delivery for 9 days.”
Then social media was abuzz with references to his pun-perfect name.
Another wrote that the one segment was worth the entire BBC licensing fee, about $208 for each household per year.
A BBC colleague was among those who suggested he was clearly the right choice for this assignment.
McCann didn’t seem to mind. He tweeted: “There are worse reasons to trend on Twitter …
Another wrote that it was “outstanding nominative determinism,” referring to a theory that some people are drawn to certain careers connected to their names. Some pointed out that Rob Banks was once interviewed by the BBC and Sara Blizzard is a BBC weather anchor.