'I forgot to lock the door': BBC Dad and the game of looking professional with small kids in your life | Women's Agenda

‘I forgot to lock the door’: BBC Dad and the game of looking professional with small kids in your life

Professor Robert Kelly, the father who was interrupted by his two young children while being interviewed on the BBC, says a minor mistake has turned his family into YouTube stars.

That mistake was simply forgetting to lock the door. Speaking out about appearing in the clip that has now been viewed more than 60 million times (this time with his now famous family officially by his side, including his wife Kim Jung-A), Kelly said they’ve been overwhelmed by the attention and now find it amusing.

But asked what they thought immediately after the chaotic scene occurred, Jung-A said they felt “mortified” and concerned that the BBC would never call again. Kelly actually emailed the BBC to apologise. The BBC emailed back to ask if they could post the clip online.

The clip, as so many of us of have seen — possibly multiple times, if you’re like me — is cry-out-loud hilarious.

In the space of about 30 seconds, Kelly — who has pretty much his entire working life in academia developing his expertise on South Korea — became an internet sensation, because he left the door unlocked.

I especially love that it was a bloke who took out the honour. Would it have been just as amusing if it was a woman being interviewed? I’m not so sure. Would a woman have been interviewed on such a topic? A subject for another time.

There are so many moments in this video that stand out: the first child who comes dancing in, the second who’s somehow navigated through the door in a walker and Jung-A who (was she watching the scene unfold on a second television somewhere?) comes suddenly skidding through. Then of course there’s the final reach of the door handle.


What I really, really love about the video (and it’s taken me a few days and about 100 more viewings to realise it) is how it so quickly breaks down the pretence, and the walls, so many of us so desperately attempt to put up and protect around how we work. Kelly had put on a suit and tie for the occasion, his office looks like it could be in a university somewhere, he absolutely looks the part of the ‘expert’. Then in the few minutes he happens to be on national television, it all comes undone.

So many working parents get it. We’ve felt that sudden panic of a small child interrupting a conference call, or our fruitless attempts to talk over the background noise of the playground or swimming lesson while on the phone with a client. We’ve had the kids suddenly appear in the room while on Skype, or heard the ‘mummy, mummy/daddy, daddy’ from outside the bedroom/office door.

And many of us, just like the parents of this now famous family, immediately feel mortified. We do what we can to remove the interruption, no matter how frantic and ridiculous it looks. We apologise. We make excuses.

But the reality is that kids are part of life and work is part of home. There will be times when all such priorities meet in the middle. Kids don’t care how much time you’ve put into separating your personal and professional lives: they’ll make noises and get sick and pee on the floor and barge through doors and love you no matter how well dressed and prepared you think you are.

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