The BBC News production system will undergo two nights of maintenance to give it “greater resilience” following a “major fault” that downed live broadcasts from its central London HQ yesterday.
News anchor Fiona Bruce and BBC home editor Mark Easton were rushed to the back-up BBC News studios in Millbank, Westminster, for the News at Six bulletin after the ‘technical issue” at Broadcasting House.
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BBC News at Ten, anchored by Huw Edwards, was also broadcast from Millbank (pictured).
In an email to staff this afternoon, seen by Press Gazette, BBC News chief financial and operating officer Alan Dickson thanked them for the “calm and thoroughly professional manner” with which they met the disruption.
He added: “I’m sorry that a major fault caused such difficulty for our teams running live output during the afternoon and early evening, and again am extremely grateful for how you worked so hard to bring services back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Millbank studios, home to Politics Live, is the disaster recovery set for the BBC News if the main studio three miles away at Broadcasting House in Marylebone is out of action, Press Gazette understands.
The BBC has confirmed that only the BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten bulletins were forced to relocate.
The BBC News Channel and BBC World News were forced to broadcast pre-recorded news content for at least one hour from about 3pm yesterday due to the fault.
The corporation has now told staff it was caused by a “database process” overloading the W1 server at Broadcasting House.
The problem was caused by the BBC’s new Open Media computer system, which replaced the ENPS system last year.
A fix was rolled out today with maintenance planned overnight and tomorrow. The news is set to be live from the main studio as usual.
In his email to staff, Dickson said support teams were “working to investigate the exact root of the problem”.
He added: “Earlier today we successfully rolled out a fix that addresses the immediate issue and improves the stability of the W1 system.
“We are planning further maintenance work to ensure greater resilience in the system, and this is due to be carried out overnight tonight and Friday night.
“The affected teams will receive further communications directly, and additional support including floorwalkers will remain on hand overnight too.”
According to BBC News, Open Media supplier Annova has been helping to investigate the fault. Press Gazette has contacted Annova for comment.
The BBC added that Open Media was “designed to make it easier for reporters and other staff to share scripts, running orders and contacts” and said one of its promised benefits was to provide “stability and reliability”.
The BBC’s website was not affected by the technical issues.
Picture: BBC News