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SIR MARTYN LEWIS: BBC KEPT DARK SUIT IN WARDROBE FOR NATIONAL TRAGEDIES

29.08.2017
Sir Martyn Lewis 
Credit: Martin Pope

The BBC kept a special dark suit and black tie in a wardrobe to announce major deaths, the newsreader Sir Martyn Lewis has disclosed.

Veteran broadcaster Sir Martyn, who broke the news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on August 31 1997, spoke of how he had been woken around 1am by his daughter who told him of the car accident in Paris.

Sir Martyn, who lived near to Television Centre in West London said he rushed to the BBC to present a special bulletin before returning home. But just 40 minutes later he was woken again.

“I knew instantly what it had to be,” he told the Radio Times.

“There was a dark grey suit, white shirt and black tie kept in a wardrobe at the BBC for occasions like this and that’s what I changed into to announce the news of her death.”

A spokesman from the BBC said the corporation would not comment on whether it still kept a dark suit for occasions of national tragedy.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the death of the princess, Sir Martyn said he had tried to remain professional but was caught up in the emotion of the occasion.

“Newscasters have to develop an emotional cocoon and I was used to not letting myself be affected by the enormity of stories I read.

“Yet I have to confess that there was a moment I lost it for a brief few seconds. I felt myself start to go when repeating the words Tony Blair spoke about her: “She was the people’s princess and that’s how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and in our memories forever.”

Lewis also disclosed how he had been troubled by the death for days afterwards.

“I couldn’t possibly sleep,” he said. “A few days later, still unable to sleep, I walked among the flowers at Kensington Palace at 2am and felt the enormity of the way Diana touched so many people in Britain."

Staff at Kensington Palace are braced for a new deluge of flowers and tributes, as well-wishers from around the world flock to commemorate the princess.

The Golden Gates, to the south of the palace, have been allocated for banners, cards and flowers and palace security staff are briefed to direct people there.

 Radio Times, is on sale from Tuesday 29th August 2017.




source:  telegraph.co.uk