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- Irish journalist
The BBC’s flagship morning news programme, Radio 4’s Today, was taken off air for nearly 30 minutes on Monday after an alarm interrupted the broadcast.
Towards the end of the 7.30am news bulletin, as the newsreader was delivering a piece on a memorial for a police officer, listeners heard “attention please, please leave the building immediately, please leave the building immediately by the nearest exit”.
The presenter Nick Robinson returned on air and said: “You may be able to hear we have a little alarm going on here … but shall we wait until someone looks vaguely panicky?”
His fellow presenter, Martha Kearney, suggested they “carry on for a little bit” before a loud alarm sounded. She added: “Well, maybe it’s going to be quite hard to carry on with this alarm going on in the background.”
“Quite dramatic,” she continued. “Hopefully it’s a false alarm … this did happen to me once when I was presenting Woman’s Hour and we did have to leave the building because there was a fire. That was at old Broadcasting House.”
Robinson then said: “We do get these occasionally for alarms, normally they don’t go off in the studio, but this one is persisting so we’re going to go to a report and that will allow us to work out what is going on.”
Robinson introduced a prerecorded report on Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial as the alarm continued in the background and then the live broadcast was taken off air until 7.55am.
Kearney announced the show had returned: “As the world news fades down, Nick and I are back in the studio.”
Robinson added: “Not only is the alarm over … that despite that noise you may have heard saying there was an emergency, as far as we could tell there wasn’t actually an emergency, we had to follow procedures and we did, and we were outside in the cold for a little while but we’re relieved to be back in the Today programme … we will now continue as before … normal service will resume.”
Kearney then introduced the regular segment, Thought for the Day, and the normal broadcast returned.