Speech errors don’t get much better when they appear in front of a live audience of millions on the BBC for the final of Strictly Come Dancing. This Freudian slips will go down as one of the classics.

The slip was produced by Bruno Tonioli, one of the judges on the programme, after the show-dance from partners Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton (who went on to with the series). The slip occurs in line 04 below where Tonioli, in his excitement, substituted the word ‘tits’ for the intended ‘hits’. This of course created great laughter and merriment in the audience and no doubt with the viewers at home.

Bruno Tonioli
01 I was back in ready steady go
02 and off she went
03 from a cloud of hairspray
04 into a medley of Stacey’s greatest tits
05 er greatest
07 greatest hits
08 sorry
09 greatest hits

External link to clip

  • Classification: Word substitution or phoneme preservation

This type of error is often termed a Freudian slip but modern psycholinguistics tends to view them in simpler terms. It probably occurred due to the phoneme /t/ from the previous word ‘greatest’ being preserved in the output. It is actually quite difficult to say ‘greatest hits’ quickly without producing ‘tits’. Give it a try.

BBC Strictly Come Dancing, The Final, 15th December 2018