Friday 24 October 1986

…This evening there was a fire in the BBC Television Centre
while the Six O’clock News was on.
Terrible, but they got it under control by 6.15pm…

A search on YouTube doesn’t produce any results for this particular conflagration, but it does suggest BBC news broadcasts were rather prone to incident during the second half of the 1980s. For instance, here’s a different fire, supposedly dating from a Sunday in 1987. Cutbacks appear to have curtailed drastically the number of hymns scheduled for that evening’s usual act of worship.

One thought on “Friday 24 October 1986

  1. I distictly remember the fire on this day because we were having our hair cut by the family hairdresser who’d come round, and after he’d gone we switched on the telly to find an apology caption, which didn’t half put the willies up me. I do remember that Wogan ended up starting about fifteen minutes late due to the disruption, and Martyn Lewis was among the billed guests as he was joining the Beeb the following week, and Nicholas Witchell turned up to talk about what had happened.

    The clip on YouTube is from Saturday 28th February 1987, there’s a mention of it on a website for former Beeb employees where someone in continuity says they were phoned up and the newsroom said “As you can hear, the fire alarms are going off so we’re getting out, we dunno how long this report goes on for but when it’s finished that’s it.” Quite a momentous period for Jan Leeming, as it turns out, because the following week was the Herald of Free Enterprise diaster and the week after, I think, was the week she was mugged at TV Centre.

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