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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK


BBC mourns Jill Dando

Jill Dando 1961 - 1999
Jill Dando's BBC colleagues have been devastated by her murder in London. They expressed their sorrow and dismay over the loss of a colleague and friend.

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Sir John Birt, BBC Director-General
"Everybody who knew Jill at the BBC is devastated. She was a much loved colleague. But we're conscious not just of our own great sorrow but also the sorrow of all of Jill's viewers.

She was one of the nation's sweethearts. She was the girl next door. She had a sweet, natural elegance to her. The nation will feel the loss of a friend.

"Many people will feel the loss of a friend"
What you saw was what you got with Jill. Her public and her private persona were one and the same thing. Her warmth wasn't feigned, it was real.

"She was an unusually modest person for our industry and she mucked in and was a normal member of the team. Sorrow will be felt inside the BBC as well as outside."

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Tony Hall, Director of BBC News
"We're trying to make some sort of sense, of what you frankly, can't make any sense of whatsoever.

She really did touch an enormous, vital chord with people, not just in the newsroom in here, but out there in the country as well. As we try to come to terms with this horror that's what we must remember about her.

She treated people with enormous respect. She empathised with people. It was that essential humanity was what I think really made her so great with the British public.

Alan Yentob, BBC Director of Television

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"We're all reeling, it's a great loss to everyone. She had a natural talent, and was disarmingly modest. She took it all in her stride and could work with a team.

It was very important to Jill that she was a professional who covered lots of jobs. She loved doing the news, but nobody can quite remember who did the Holiday programme before Jill.

"It's a great loss to everyone"
There are a lot of people who are devastated today."

Bob Wheaton, former editor and partner for seven years.
"In everything she did, she succeeded with the ease of a true professional. She was a natural, a joy to watch. The camera loved her and she loved it.

Jill deserved to reach the peaks, in her professional and private life. A new programme and, later in the year marriage. She wasn't far from the pinnacles of either.

That she was robbed of it all at this time makes it all the worse. All the more senseless. Such beauty and such grace had no right to be extinguished by so brutal an act.

The world is a poorer place, and those who mourn Jill know that once again, without warning, a light has gone out."

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Nick Ross, Crimewatch co-presenter
"I am finding it very difficult to talk about Jill in the past tense. We were colleagues, but we were friends as well. People say treacly things in these situations, but the truth is that everybody got on with Jill. She was just a generous, open, friendly person - there was no side to her at all. She was charming to everyone, everything you could wish for in a colleague or a friend."

BBC Jennie Bond, Court Correspondent
"The more popular she was, the more ordinary she was with us. There is a most sombre feeling in the newsroom.

She was a very happy person and never happier than in recent months, when she had met her fiancé and was making plans to get married."

Nicholas Witchell, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent
"This is utterly, utterly shocking news. She was always bright and smiling, even if she had to work at 3.30am.

This is a huge loss, not only to her family and friends, but to the industry as a whole."

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Desmond Lynam, Sport presenter
"I am totally stunned and shattered by this devastating news. Jill was a lovely person, a dear friend and I am fortunate to have had the privilege and pleasure of working with her."

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Sir Christopher Bland, BBC chairman
"Jill Dando was a fine and vibrant person who was much loved by the audience and her colleagues alike. She will be greatly missed. We extend all our condolences and sympathies to her family and friends."

John Lilley, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Devon, who gave Jill Dando her first radio job.
"Jill was just so vivacious and full of energy and enthusiasm. She was just a natural and she was clearly someone who had star quality. She was the ultimate professional. But perhaps more importantly she was just such a terrifically warm-hearted, kind person."

Suresh Charda who runs Krish's newsagent's at Television Centre
"She was such a lovely person and so down to earth. She came in here all the time to buy cards for people and would stop and chat to me and ask how I was. My mother had recently died and Jill would keep asking me how I was dealing with it. I am going to miss her terribly."

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