Simon Barnett devastated to learn his co-host of the last ten years isn’t the real Gary McCormick

Studio cameras reveal the moment Simon Barnett discovers he’s been hosting a show for ten years with a fake Gary McCormick.

Studio cameras reveal the moment Simon Barnett discovers he’s been hosting a show for ten years with a fake Gary McCormick.

MoreFM host Simon Barnett has been the victim of a deeply personal prank this morning, as he learned live on air that his co-host for the last ten years has not been the real Gary McCormick.

McCormick joined Barnett on MoreFM’s breakfast programme in 2003, but departed in 2007, and was replaced by long-time Gary McCormick impersonator Hank Acreman, all without Barnett’s knowledge.

Initially intended to be a short-lived prank, no one had the heart to tell Barnett the truth after seeing how well he got on with the new, fake Gary, and so Acreman became the permanent co-host of the show, pending a final reveal that never came to pass.

But on this morning’s show, the truth finally came out.

Just after returning from an ad break, Barnett was engaging in friendly banter with his co-host, when producer Samantha Baxter finally felt it was time.

“Simon, that’s not the real Gary,” she said.

“What?” he replied.

“It’s not the real Gary, Simon. He’s not Gary McCormick, he’s a professional Gary McCormick impersonator.”

Barnett initially laughed off the prank, remarking how similar he seemed, and how impressed he was that Baxter and the station had set this up “just for today.”

“No, Simon, not just today, he’s… he’s been gone for ten years,” said Baxter.

Barnett sat in baffled silence, a look of fear on his face.

“You’re not serious?” he asked.

“This hasn’t been Gary for ten years,” she told him. “He’s just an impersonator, the real Gary left the show a decade ago.”

“Oh my god,” said Barnett, reeling. “That’s… that’s going to be in the newspapers tomorrow, that’s just so disappointing. That’s just so uncool. Why would you even do that? What about the time we spent at my home?”

“That’s not me,” interjected Acreman. “That’s the real Gary.”

“I told you my deepest secrets!” protested Barnett.

Acreman was silent.

“Oh lord,” said Barnett.

“I’m so sorry, Simon,” said Baxter, now in tears. “We replaced your family as well, your wife, your kids, they’re impersonators.”

“What?” asked Barnett, quivering now. “Why my family?”

“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “I don’t know why we did that bit, it wasn’t even on air, it didn’t make any sense, I’m so sorry.”

“No one loves you, Simon,” she added, “and I feel so terrible. No one loves you, it was all fake.”

Barnett stared at the ground in silence, saying “Oh my god” to himself over and over, as the show cut to advertisements.

In an unrelated incident this week, The Edge’s Dom Harvey has been in a state of dismay after learning that he is the real Dom Harvey.