It is not known whether the BBC has a similar nuclear survival plan in place today
The increasing global tensions have brought back memories of the Cold War, when the world was on tenterhooks as Russia and the US traded insults and threats as the potential for nuclear conflict loomed.
Now the BBC’s plans for the event of a nuclear war have been revealed and it has emerged that the corporation would not stop broadcasting, even if nuclear conflict broke out.
The War Book, which was drawn up during the Cold War, is an extensive document that laid out what the BBC would do if a “nuclear exchange” took place.
The broadcaster would relocate to 11 protected bunkers across the UK which are referred to as "Deferred Facilities”.
These facilities would also be used to house Government staff and ministers as well as five BBC staff, most of whom would have been working at local radio stations, who would run a news studio contained in the facility.
The BBC headquarters, currently located in London’s Portland Place, would be relocated to the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire.
Around 90 engineers, editors, announcers and religious broadcasters would be moved there to make sure the viewers and listeners could still get access the news, although most of their output would be controlled by the Government.
However, it wouldn’t just have been the news that the BBC would broadcast – there were also old tapes of the Goon Show, Just a Minute and Round the Horne would be on standby.
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Bob Doran, a radio news editor in the 1980s, recalled a heartbreaking conversation he had during a Cold War drill.
He said: “My clearest memory is of a discussion about whether people with spouses could bring them along.
“The other thing I remember clearly is coming away in deep gloom and a feeling of certainty that nuclear war was going to happen very soon.”
Staff would not have been told exactly how long they would have to stay at the makeshift BBC headquarters but were advised to bring enough personal supplies for a month.
The Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton would have become a temporary HQ
Meanwhile, the war announcement, which was recorded by renowned Radio 4 newsreader Peter Donaldson, read: “This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons.
“Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known.
“We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.”
It is not known whether the BBC have another plan in place at the moment amid ongoing tensions, given that the Wartime Broadcasting Service was decommissioned in 1992.
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