It should have been business as usual on the Sunday politics shows. A sit down with the Prime Minister, a look at the cost of living crisis, and interviews with Scotland's First Minister about the SNP's independence convention. Job done.

What materialised instead was a scramble to make sense of an unfolding international crisis, a discussion about coolness with the pop star Rick Astley and – strangest of all – robot cameras going rogue on BBC1’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

Broadcasters, like the rest of the media, had spent Saturday trying to make sense of what was going on in Russia. The search for clarification continued with Trevor Phillips on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday talking to Lord Dannatt, former chief of the UK General Staff.

Lord Dannatt’s focus was on Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group of mercenaries, and his next move. “Apparently he’s left the stage to go to Belarus but is that the end of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group? The fact that he’s gone to Belarus is a matter of some concern," he said.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf on SNP independence strategy

“If he has gone to Belarus and has kept an effective fighting force around him, he then presents a threat again to the Ukrainian flank closest to Kyiv which is where all this [the Russian invasion of Ukraine] began on February 24 last year.”

Kuenssberg called on Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Russia editor, while Marina Litvinenko, activist and widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, was a guest on the programme’s panel.

Kuenssberg’s interview with Rishi Sunak took place on Saturday, with the Prime Minister sticking to the standard diplomatic response of calling on all concerned to exercise responsibility and protect civilian lives.

His main message was directed to mortgage holders worried about rising interest rates.

“The Bank of England has my total support," he said. "Inflation is the enemy for all the reasons that we have talked about. Inflation is what makes people poorer.”

Asked if there was another way to control it than raising interest rates, the Prime Minister said: “There is no alternative to stamping out inflation. I get that this is challenging, but we’ve got to stick to the course. I want people to be reassured that we’ve got to hold our nerve, stick to the plan and we will get through this.”

READ MORE 'Hold your nerve' mortgage holders told

There was no mistaking why he used the phrase, “There is no alternative.” Calling to mind Margaret Thatcher is never a bad idea for a Prime Minister with unhappy backbenchers to please, but would it persuade homeowners that Mr Sunak feels their pain?

Ben Elton, the writer, comedian, and Labour supporter, was not impressed. Elton, a guest on Kuenssberg’s panel, said he wanted to believe Mr Sunak would be a reset for the government. “Turns out he’s as much of a mendacious, narcissistic sociopath as his previous boss.” More than a little bit of politics there from the host of Friday Night Live.

Trevor Phillips, standing in for Ridge, and Martin Geissler on The Sunday Show, tried to liven up their interviews with Scotland’s First Minister. But the fact Humza Yousaf was not saying much that was new about an independence referendum, de facto or otherwise, made for uneventful encounters.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg made a determined effort to go out on a high with an interview with Rick Astley, one of the hits of this year’s Glastonbury.

Astley said he had only ever been to the music festival to drop off his daughter. But after the welcome he received on Saturday he will be back next year as a punter. “That is probably the loveliest crowd I’ve ever played before in my life,” said Astley,.

“Are you cool now?” asked Kuenssberg.

“As big and amazing as Glastonbury is, it is not going to make me cool,” laughed the singer.




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Kuenssberg had to keep her cool at what followed when she tried to close the show. First the music started early and the credits ran too soon, cutting into her usual closing monologue.

More chaos was to come as the studio's unmanned robot cameras seemed to acquire a will of their own. Before you could say HAL 9000, the monoliths were gliding across the floor like Dancing on Ice contestants. One stopped right in front of Kuenssberg, almost blocking her from view.

“We started by asking how is Rishi Sunak getting on,” said the presenter trying to power through. “Well, he certainly can’t control what’s going on in Russia. And we don’t seem to have that much control over our cameras this morning either.”

If this was a glimpse of an artificially intelligent future, perhaps there is hope for humans after all.