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Power Failure Takes BBC News Off Air
Keith Perry Wednesday June 21, 2000
The BBC was paralysed by a massive power cut last night - hours before it was due to screen exclusive coverage of England's crunch Euro 2000 match.
The power cut at Television Centre also affected other parts of Shepherd's Bush and Acton in west London.
The Six O'Clock News on BBC1 went off air, and BBC News 24 was also struck as well as Radio 4. Emergency generators were switched on but they also failed. The gap left by normal BBC transmission was filled by UK Today regional programmes until 7pm.
Thousands of staff were evacuated from the building because the fire alarms were disabled by the power failure.
Transmission of the football was switched to Birmingham and live coverage continued as normal. The news teams remained after the main power failed at 5.30pm. Emergency generators kicked in but lights and computers were not on full power and finally gave up at 6.20pm.
A spokeswoman said news journalists had been dispersed to Millbank studios in south London and to Birmingham.
Last night a BBC worker said: "All of a sudden the lights, computers and air conditioning failed. All the top news people were standing around looking ashen faced."
The power failure also blacked out around 20,000 homes as well as paralysing traffic lights. Hammersmith hospital switched to emergency generators. A London Electricity spokesman said the fault was traced to a substation in Acton.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 21, 2000