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Famous line was an ad-lib; 25 YEARS ON..THE SAILOR WHO SANK THE BELGRANO.

IT is one of the most famous lines in UK journalism - but the reporter who said, "I counted them all out and I counted them all back," has revealed he was ad-libbing.

BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan was telling radio listeners that British planes had returned safely after the first bombing raids on the occupied Falkland Islands.

He was on the bridge of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes on May 1, 1982, when the Sea Harriers set off but he'd been blocked from revealing the exact number.

He said: "I wanted to say, I think it was, all 12 returned safely. They said, 'You can't say that', so I had to cross that out.

"I went off to the telephone and read out the dispatch that had been cleared and ad-libbed that bit in the middle. The actual phrase was literally an inspired moment."

He admitted it was often quoted, joking: "I'm pretty familiar with it. I have heard it a bit over the years."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 2, 2007
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