A friend of mine has sent me an extract from Hugh Massingberd's autobiography "Daydream Believer" which augments and corroborates my earlier recollection about the day on the BBC's Nationwide when a lady dressed as a judge fainted in front of millions of viewers. He writes of a genealogist friend called Patrick Montague-Smith who
"appeared on the television magazine programme Nationwide to discuss forms of address. The production team had hit on the wheeze of lining up a collection of suitably robed and ermined 'extras' for Patrick and the presenter to hail. Unfortunately, just as the two of them approached a heavily bewigged lady judge, this worthy began to sway alarmingly and then fell down in a faint at Patrick's feet. The learned genealogist blinked and glanced at the presenter, who anxiously motioned him forward. Without a word, Patrick and the presenter then proceeded to step gingerly over the prostrate female form before continuing their discourse on the finer points of etiquette."
Which makes my error, as the director of the said disaster, even more execrable.