The Newsroom

September 11th attacks - 19 years ago

BBC News coverage

SW
Steve Williams
I think it was even later than that when Huw finally popped up, Steve. Huw only appeared for the Six which wasn't simulcast on News 24 as far as I can remember. I think it remained only on BBC1 whilst the News 24 presenter continued on News 24. I think Huw might have done a short stint on News 24 in the evening after he had done the Six. I'm sure I remember him being in N8. Then, of course, they brought in the really big guns by about 8pm when a news special with David Dimbleby went out across the networks, I seem to recall, even on BBC World I think.


You're probably right, actually, I remember Huw being in the News 24 studio but it probably was after the Six, it might have been in the 7pm hour that was simulcast on BBC2 while BBC1 showed 'stEnders and Changing Rooms. As I say, amazing we went nearly four hours without getting a familiar BBC1 face on there, even Gavin Esler wasn't very well-known to the general audience. It's not a problem these days because all the News Channel presenters also appear across BBC News, but it seems bizarre they didn't get a BBC1 face on there quicker.

Jeremy Vine presented Newsnight that night, as he was scheduled to do, but he has said that they actually tried to get Paxman in as the senior presenter to do it instead - but he was on holiday and couldn't get back in time, so Vine did it in the end.

One thing I remember is that there was a very short-lived panel show on C4 at the time called This Week Only, presented by Joe Cornish with Nick Frost and Lauren Laverne as regulars. It was such a low concept show, just swapping jokes about the week's news, and only lasted one series. Anyway, they did do an episode that week... and completely ignored it, and just did jokes about silly surveys and the like, which looked ridiculous, an enormous elephant in the room, and it made for such bizarre viewing. But a few years later I mentioned this on a forum and one of the writers replied, saying they were writing the show when the news broke (which they were told about by Nick Frost, of all people) - I think it might have been recording that night - and they had no idea how they were supposed to cover it, or if C4 wanted them to cover it, so they just carried on with what they were doing.

There were three panel shows running in the week of 7/7, including the first series of 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock The Week, which were both being recorded that night. So few people managed to make it in that they did a compilation of Mock The Week (would have had the same issues as This Week Only in terms of trying to talk around it, probably), and all the cast, crew and audience that arrived for Mock The Week went next door to 8 Out Of 10 Cats. There were loads more rounds in those days so they just did all the other ones that weren't about the news. There was also a crappy short-lived panel show on BBC1 with Anne Robinson called What's The Problem - https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/2005-07-08#at-21.00 - which was dropped completely.

Going back a bit, does anyone else remember the coverage of a couple of big trials in the US? I vaguely recall my dad watching the outcome of the OJ Simpson trial and I vividly remember the Louise Woodward trial in, I think, 1998. Those are probably two of my earliest memories of US news coverage.


The OJ verdict was around 6pm, I remember watching it on the Six O'Clock News, and Louise Woodward was on a Monday night in December 1997, I remember reading at the time it got Sky News' biggest ever audience at the time. I remember a BBC1 newsflash after 'stEnders.

The rolling news I most remember is the fuel protests in September 2000, because after the Lunchtime News ITV came back on around 2pm for another hour or so pretty much every afternoon that week, and Nicholas Owen reported throughout from the forecourt of a petrol station from Watford, basically saying over and over again they'd had no deliveries. For a week.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today

With 9/11 the attacks around the US made us wonder if somewhere in Europe much closer to home could also be attacked - you didn't know what else was planned.



I think I've said it before in here. One of the first things one of the LNN staff did on learning the news, was to aim the roof top 'weather cam' at Canary Wharf, feed it to a VTR, and slap in a 3 hour tape on record.

My wife phoned me, asking whether I ought to come home. In fact I was due to meet a friend (who was involved in playout for another broadcaster) that evening for a drink. In the end, we still went ahead and had the drink. He'd spent the afternoon involved with reviewing programmes that might be deemed inappropriate to transmit in the coming days
CO
commseng London London
I can see why he needed the drink after that.
DA
davidhorman Channel Channel Islands
All that sticks in my head from that is catching the bit with the actor portraying Jay Leno appearing with a prosthetic chin, which didn't add much to the gravitas.


Even weirder, that was Jimmy Kimmel playing Jay Leno.

MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I can see why he needed the drink after that.


Ha ! He had got hold of a 10 Mb/s ethernet Network adaptor card for me, for our son's desktop PC, Coo !

I spent that weekend trying to get ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) working, using my desktop and its 56k dial up modem, connected via a CAT 5 cable into his bedroom. When we bought the house, I installed CAT 5 tie lines between the study and the two lad's bedrooms as 'future proofing'. Those tie lines got used well into the 2010s ! What never got used were the extension phone sockets I installed in their bedrooms !

Seems like a different age,. Confused
IT
itsrobert Founding member Granada North West Today
Then, of course, they brought in the really big guns by about 8pm when a news special with David Dimbleby went out across the networks, I seem to recall, even on BBC World I think.

Yep, I was overseas at the time, going between CNN (which was excellent) and BBC World (not so good) and I remember that programme with Dimbleby coming on and sticking with that. Would've been 3 or 4 in the morning where I was by then, so I must have been up all night watching.

It seems inconceivable in this day and age that BBC1, News 24 and World pretty much persisted in doing their own coverage and, in effect, competing for resources I imagine. Back then they were very different beasts. I wonder if it was politics at play there? Due to financial cuts they have been forced into simulcasting across networks a lot more often but it makes you wonder whether in 2001 there was politics going on between the various outlets. Does anyone know? If 9/11 happened now (God forbid) it's pretty safe to say there would be a unified single transmission across the BBC News outlets.

I don't think I saw BBC World live on the day. I didn't get access to it via a satellite dish until 2002 but I know there were various *cough* online streams *cough* that we TV Forum folk used to dip into at the time. Can't remember if that was then or a bit later. I do remember Nisha Pillai getting slaughtered for her handling of it. I think they eventually replaced her with Nik Gowing, the senior presenter. Whether he came in early, I'm not sure, but I think his regular shift was after Nisha anyway in those days.

As I recall, the only joint programming across BBC News 24 and BBC World was for the Dimbleby special and the usual overnight bulletins, by that time including The World Today at 5am. I set my VCR for TWT that night (and a few subsequent nights as I recall) and was rewarded with the aforementioned special music. As a TV pres fan, it's always a strange feeling whenever something terrible happens, as a little part of you is excited by all the new pres that is rolled out. I guess that's pretty unique to our community really and outsiders would think it's a tad off.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
All that sticks in my head from that is catching the bit with the actor portraying Jay Leno appearing with a prosthetic chin, which didn't add much to the gravitas.


Even weirder, that was Jimmy Kimmel playing Jay Leno.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vNWTgS70YI


I'm sure that must have been a piss take, having Leno portrayed by one of his rivals on another network!
BH
BillyH Founding member London London
By the time of the London tube bombings I was an editor of Wikipedia, and we were sharing updates on the website’s IRC chatroom. At first the article was titled something like “2005 London Underground power surges” based on early reports, and as the day went on there was lots of confusion as to the amount of bombs that had gone off (at one point reaching as high as eight), a misleading line that much of the city of London had been evacuated, and a false report that there’d been duplicate explosions in Madrid - probably based on hearing about what had happened there a year earlier. It was still the early days of the website and when articles outside of a United States perspective were rare.

Oddly enough my first memory of any news story on television was the death of Peter Cook in January 1995, which was covered a fair bit - I remember mistakingly thinking it was the host of The Cook Report, which somehow was a show I knew about at the age of six years old.
Member since 26 May 2001
SW
Steve Williams
It seems inconceivable in this day and age that BBC1, News 24 and World pretty much persisted in doing their own coverage and, in effect, competing for resources I imagine. Back then they were very different beasts. I wonder if it was politics at play there? Due to financial cuts they have been forced into simulcasting across networks a lot more often but it makes you wonder whether in 2001 there was politics going on between the various outlets. Does anyone know? If 9/11 happened now (God forbid) it's pretty safe to say there would be a unified single transmission across the BBC News outlets.


As Roger Mosey points out in his book, at the end of the nineties the structure of BBC News was such that there were separate departments for programmes and continuous news, the latter which was home to News 24, 5 Live, the BBC website and Ceefax. This was causing massive duplication and in the end they changed it so there was a single TV news department and radio news department.
Night Thoughts and itsrobert gave kudos
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
Reading the thread from the time one thing it didn't really confirm is whether World and News 24 simulcast. I assume they did.

It is also pointed out in there that ITN at times on that day were putting out four channels worth of coverage with ITV News, C4 News, 5 News and the ITN News Channel - although I think C4 was only on air from 3.30-4.30pm in the afternoon. 5 News though had coverage throughout the afternoon.
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
EX
excel99 Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
Can't remember anything of 9/11 coverage, but I can remember a little bit of 2 months and a day later (12th Nov). An American Airlines A300 crashed in New York which initially prompted fears of another terror attack. No CITV that day due to news coverage, at least not on the main channel.

There is a YT clip of BBC1 interrupting a programme mid-way through to go to News 24
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFd_VO8zQ0w
And this clip from the start of a News 24 special on BBC1 with Gavin Esler and Michael Buerk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sNmvTv8MVM

Whether this level of coverage would have been provided say three months earlier, I guess not?
www.airhumberside.cjb.net
IO
Ian of old
I don't think it's been posted in this thread, but two extraordinary videos of a full day of BBC World have appeared on YouTube - I'm mystified why they've appeared recently after all this time. And yes there's the BBC Editors blog posts saying the BBC didn't have access to the output of World from the day.

https://youtu.be/vRGn4m9Xj7M

I think I've worked out that 25 min 40 is the TOTH each hour. Also a reminder of how slick Nik Gowing was.

And
https://youtu.be/NuDQ1x3RuHs 37 min is TOTH here. And I note that World took News 24 overnight including its countdowns?

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