It was only after Sept 11th it got pulled due to events of the time, and arguably had the show been in a stronger position at the time that wouldn't have happened anyway, certainly not all three days.
Yes, and of course the show had already been axed by then so C4 weren't particularly bothered about keeping it on air. Of course during the second Gulf War there was a morning edition of Channel Four News but RI:SE continued running from 8.10-9.30, which seemed such a waste of time.
The Big Breakfast was probably quite lucky in its early days that there didn't seem to be many major news stories or tragedies (or I was a stupid kid who didn't watch the news enough) and I certainly don't recall them actually mentioning the news that much. It would have been interesting to see how Chris and Gaby would have dealt with it. Dunblane was probably the first time there was a really big and serious news story and the whole thing just looked a bit crass. I know it's good to have some kind of normality, especially as many kids would have been baffled and bemused by the whole thing and it would have upset them, but it just didn't seem to fit, there were really awkward gear changes between the extended news bulletins and the usual stupid Big Breakfast business.
It reminds me of the bit on It Started With Swap Shop where Mike Read talked about doing Saturday SuperStore on the morning after the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster (which I vividly remember, mostly because it meant SuperStore started an hour late), and talking about the challenges they had that morning in terms of coming off the back of a newsflash to the usual Saturday morning fare, trying to make things seem as normal and as light-hearted as possible, and then bringing it back down again to go back to the news. It's not something I'd relish anyone having to do, but Mike said the Beeb were very pleased with how they pitched it, and they were pleased the Beeb trusted them to do it.
I think had The Big Breakfast been in better shape around that time, it might have coped a bit better, but I think it illustrated that the Big Breakfast format as it stood was getting a bit tired and it really wasn't suitable for occasions like this, and the presenters and production team didn't really have the skills to make it hang a bit better.
Of course the Channel 4 News shows after 9/11 in place on The Big Breakfast did have an impact on the future of that slot because it was during the period they were commissioning its replacement, and when they saw how well that worked as a breakfast show they decided that the new show should have much more news than they were originally anticipating. Which presumably is one reason why RI:SE got it, as Sky News was involved.