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Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 15:43 GMT
Blast will reawaken BBC security concerns
BBC TV Centre
The glass-fronted news centre at BBC TV Centre
The bomb attack on the BBC's Television Centre at White City, west London, is set to reawaken the issue of security arrangements for staff based at the complex.

Almost two years ago, journalists working for the corporation were put on high alert during the Nato bombing campaign of Kosovo.

BBC news centre
Before the blast: The BBC's news centre
The move followed a death threat, thought to be from Serb activists, on the BBC's head of news Tony Hall.

At the time, there was also speculation that the death of BBC TV presenter Jill Dando was connected to Britain's role in the bombing of Yugoslavia.

The presence of security guards was stepped up and additional expert advisors were drafted in.

Months later, security arrangements were in the headlines again after a man jumped over turnstiles in the reception of TV centre and threatened to kill staff in the newsroom.

Since then precautions have been stepped up. The waist-high turnstiles were replaced with lockable revolving doors and bollards were planted outside the glass-fronted main reception.

Security review

Speaking after Sunday's blast, Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, said the need for further security precautions was being reviewed.

Inside the news centre
Inside the news centre
He told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme: "The BBC is a very high profile organisation and that may well be the reason for it."

But the attack represents a new degree of security threat to staff, in particular those based in the showpiece news centre, which took the full force of the explosion.

Opened in 1998, the news centre, which fronts onto the main road outside TV Centre, was designed to bring together, for the first time, the BBC's radio and television news operations.

Previously, radio journalists had been based several miles away, at Broadcasting House in central London.

Blast resistant

The cost of building the new integrated news centre - also known as stage six - and relocating radio staff was said to run to £40m, although it had been claimed that the initiative would eventually save millions of pounds.

Broadcasting House
Former home of radio news - Broadcasting House
Crucially, in relation to the latest explosion, the news centre's glass façade was designed to withstand a bomb blast.

The centre, which houses more than 1,000 journalists and support staff, is home to terrestrial network news programmes including News 24 and the one o'clock, six o'clock and 10 o'clock television bulletins.

It is also the base for Radio 5Live and Radio 4's entire news output, including programmes such as Today, the World Tonight and PM.

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