BBC Radio 4 taken off air after alarm goes off
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BBC Radio 4 presenters Nick Robinson and Martha Kearney were forced to leave their studio after an alarm was heard playing in the background around an hour and a half into their show. The alarm, possibly a fire alarm, saw the two presenters adlib with Mr Robinson remarking he would only start to make a move when someone looked “panicky” as with the siren increasing in volume and ruining the audio. Many listeners mocked the situation online ranging from rival broadcasters trying to poach their audience to those wondering if the UK’s nuclear submarines are panicking due to the letters of last resort.
Ms Kearney and Mr Robinson were left awkwardly adlibbing as the pair did not know whether to take the alarm seriously or not.
Ms Kearney recalled the situation had happened to her once during Woman’s Hour and had to leave the building as there was a fire.
She had hoped it would be a false alarm with Mr Robinson saying they do not usually go off in the studio.
The presenters then moved on to a report about Ghislaine Maxwell but after the programme was finished there were several minutes of dead air.
The embedded playlist of Radio 4 then came online with a man apologising for the disruption to the schedule.
Many took to Twitter to mock the crash with Mirror Deputy Political Editor writing: “What’s that thing about it being nuclear war or something if BBC Radio 4 goes off air?”
Many echoed the concerns with @alexpatridge87 writing; “Better hope the nuclear subs aren’t listening to the Today programme to check we’re still functioning.
“Because if so we might be in trouble here.”
It has been alleged that commanders of UK nuclear submarines have several checks to see whether the UK Government is still functioning with one of them involving whether BBC Radio 4 is still broadcasting.
If the checks pass, the commanders are then given permission to read the “Letters of Last Resort” which lays out what they must do in the event of nuclear war or other devasting attacks.
Other radio presenters saw their opportunity and pounced with Times Radio host Tom Newton Dunn writing: “Disappointed BBC Radio 4 has gone off air?
“The good news is Times Radio is still broadcasting as usual, give it a try….!
Fellow presenter Matt Chorley also urged the public to tune in to Times Radio as well.
Other prominent listeners were upset they could not listen to the programme with Labour MP David Lammy writing: “Grr, morning without Radio 4 is like breakfast without coffee.”
Shortly after the disruption, Mr Robinson tweeted that he and Ms Kearney were outside the studio and would be returning soon.
Around 25 minutes after the alarm, the presenters returned to the studio and said they were “breathless” as they quickly climbed the stairs to return back on air.
Mr Robinson assured listeners there was no emergency and the alarm may have been set off either accidentally or to test the system.
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