BBC radio stations in Salford evacuated
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BBC radio stations in Salford evacuated

The main BBC building in Salford Quays was evacuated this morning, interupting live programmes on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Manchester.

BBC Radio Manchester’s breakfast presenter Allan Beswick pondered for a couple of minutes, wondering what to do whilst talking over the audible studio fire alarm advising people to leave the building. Eventually, he left and non-stop music was played for around 10 minutes.

Downstairs in the same building, Quay House, Nicky Campbell left the building as producers played the back-up audio, advising listeners normal programmes are unavailable. Whilst outside he took the above photo for Twitter.

Instead, a pre-recorded interview between Richard Bacon and Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais played out.

5 live controller Jonathan Wall tweeted to say the station would be back on imminently. He then responded to tweets about the backup tape, saying “ricky gervais seems to have been a big hit! Rarely has the emergency tape prompted so much conversation.”

When asked how often the back-up audio is changed, Jonathan said every few weeks.

BBC Breakfast television was also evacuated, with the service switching to BBC World.

Hear the audio below:

Thanks to Jem Stone for compiling this Storify on the event!

0 2 1581 09 May, 2014 Station News Friday, May 9th, 2014


  1. andrewbowden

    When I worked for the BBC in Bush House, there was a simple but very effective solution for fire alarms in studios. A light went on. No booming voice crashing into programmes – the production team would be alerted they had to leave, and could handle it properly. As it was a two stage alarm (“get ready to evacuate” followed by “get out now!”) they could warn listeners and then leave. Why on earth this simple system hasn’t been implemented at Salford is beyond me.

  2. Neil

    I fully agree Andrew! Who’s idea was it to stick audible alarms in each studio, or is it a Peel Media thing? Surely a flashing red or orange light is the order of the day – obviously not at MediaCity? it’s not the first time this has happened either, there’s
    been a few instances of this.

    I also wondered why, around or just before 08.00, BBC One had cut over to the World News Channel (the domestic News Channel not being available until just before 08.30) – now I know!

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