BBC plans to broadcast from remote wartime ‘bunker’ if coronavirus hits studios

Huw Edwards could read the news from a a remote wartime “bunker” if BBC studios are hit by coronavirus, we can reveal.

BBC executives have drawn-up plans after a crunch meeting of its Gold committee to thrash out contingency arrangements in case major corporation hubs, such as the £1billion New Broadcasting House in London, are affected.

Emergency plans include switching some operations to Wood Norton in Worcestershire, home to its College of Technology, part of the wider BBC Academy.

The BBC bought the site in 1939 so it could move operations away from London if needed.

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During the Cold War it was earmarked as a broadcasting centre in the event of a nuclear attack.

Visitors to Wood Norton are now being limited to keep the facility clean and prevent the risk of it becoming infected, according to a source.

London-based workers rely heavily on public transport, where the threat of contracting the disease is deemed greater.

But Wood Norton has no public transport links, meaning it is easier to keep the site free of the virus.

The source said staff already based at Wood Norton “have the skills and capacity to do what London control rooms do”.

Head of the Bectu broadcasting union Philippa Childs said: “The BBC has a unique role during times of crisis, providing advice that the public can rely on.

“The steps the BBC is taking to ensure it can continue to function during this outbreak simply underlines the immense value the BBC provides to the public and the dedication of the staff who serve us all.”

The BBC confirmed it had contingency plans but declined to comment further.

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