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Remembering 9/11 on 5 live

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 10:55 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

For me, the morning of 11 September 2001 began early, thanks partly to jet lag and partly due to the bright sunshine streaming through my hotel room window in Washington DC.

At the time I was Head of BBC Newsgathering. I remember catching up with the breakfast news and then setting off for some meetings at the BBC's Washington office. It seemed an entirely unremarkable news day. After 15 minutes walk, I arrived in the office to find an extraordinary amount of activity for that time of the morning. The first plane had struck the Twin Towers.

What happened over the coming hours and the impact across the globe over the following decade has of course been incredibly closely followed ever since. But 10 years on it feels appropriate to take stock, to remember those events and to assess the human and political consequences.

On 5 live, we'll be doing that with a range of special programmes over the next few days. The centrepiece of our coverage will be Peter Allen and Stephen Nolan reporting and presenting from the United States, including special programmes from Florida (where President Bush heard the news) and the Fort Campbell military base on the Kentucky/Tennessee border.

The culmination will be coverage from New York on the anniversary itself next Sunday. We begins with Weekend Breakfast, then Peter Allen will be on air from 11:00 with coverage of the ceremonial events in the US and memories from those affected. Later, at 19:00, Stephen Nolan will reflect on the day and what it has meant to people in the US and around the world.

Two days earlier on Friday, Victoria Derbyshire will have rare access to Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, presenting her programme from there between 10:00 and 12:00. It promises to be a fascinating insight into one of the most controversial legacies of the events of 9/11.

There'll be other coverage across the schedule, including Thursday night's 5 live Sport which will include a look at how 9/11 affected American sport.

Finally, anyone listening to 5 live that afternoon 10 years ago will remember Simon Mayo was the presenter on air as the news broke. This Saturday at 8pm Simon hosts a special programme, Remembering 9/11, where you'll be able to hear again how the news broke and catch up with some of the people Simon heard from that afternoon.

Adrian Van-Klaveren is the controller of BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra.

Related Links
9/11: Ten Years On - BBC News Online features and analysis


  • Comment number 1.

    Victoria Derbyshire from Guatanamo Bay? And how much did that cost and has she got the gravitas?

    What do you want us to tell you? What we were doing when we heard the news? How we feel now or about your week of programmes?

  • Comment number 2.

    Add your comment

    Although I remember hearing of 9/11 through the radio,I have to say that I can't recollect Simon as another centerpiece of that day. With all respect, perhaps it might have been different if news of the events had broke through one of the centrepieces you've scheduled to feature for the 10th anniversary.

  • Comment number 3.

    I heard the news of the attacks first on Simon Mayo, always a professional and intelligent broadcaster. I wonder how his successor in the afternoons would cope with a similar tragedy, a special edition of Help?

  • Comment number 4.

    I remember Valerie Sanderson announcing it, so I suppose she was on just before Mayo.

    The "new" Guantanamo Bay was on tv last night, it still has some inmates. Those old sheds are overgrown and rusted now but within view of the new prison. As far as I am concerned it is disgraceful that it is still open despite Obama signing a promise to close it when he became President.

    I get Peter Allen going as he is a proper journalist. I hope Nolan isn't going to be offering his usual comparisons with Northern Ireland, although how and why he is now doing more on Radio 5 now when you have some very good people already - I guess not in Salford!!- I don't know. (Please promote Adil Ray to a full time Radio 5 presenter because he did the riot coverage so well.)

    I actually think, apart from Peter, the licence fee could have been spent talking to people affected over here, and not covering those endless US ceremonials.

  • Comment number 5.

    I f you want to know what I was doing when I hear d the news. I had been to Hemel Hempstead for the morning and been to order some new flooring for the lounge. My husband and I got in and stuck the telly on the see the news breaking. It was horrible and I didn't know what the think to begin with. The full horror began to unravel a bit later on that afternoon.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why has the BBC appeared to avoid talking about the conspiracy theories of what happened on that fateful day of 911? Tens of thousands of Americans and others around the world believe the attacks were the result of an inside job. There are many damning examples highlighted via You tube but for me, the most damning evidence is the so-called terrorist attack on the Pentagon (the most secure building in the world at that time). Why, if the US Government wanted to prove to the world that terrorists flew the Boeing 757 into the Pentagon, have they released just one pathetic five frame film of the attack (which does not show a plane hitting the Pentagon). The US Government will have had access to clear evidence from dozens of security cameras showing the attack which they chose to withold... WHY?

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh dear 1Geoff2.

    One of the most high security sites on mainland US. That's your answer. However you might like to question (in your dreams/nightmares) the families of the plane victims, the many many Pentagon staff who survived and the families of those who didn't, plus, oddly, try to believe for once that it isn't a conspiracy except amongst those hijackers.

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh dear Carrie.

    First of all, your answer is laughable. A Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon. If it had, the US Government would have shown the event to the world. They have a dreadful secret to hide and they need to address the families of those killed at the Pentagon and explain what really became of the souls on the Boeing 757.
    Secondly Carrie, you are naive if you think 911 is not a conspiracy. You should do some homework and address the issue that tens of thousands of Americans have, who now firmly believe that the events of 911 were an inside job. You go and tell them what you have said above.

  • Comment number 9.

    I will probarly get lambasted for saying this, but these are my genuine feelings, i find it quite morbid that the Media are releasing TV Shows,Publsihing Articles,Publishing Blogs all in the name of remembering 9/11, is it not time to forget the past and move on, the Asian Tsunami killed over 200,000 people but we dont get such hype every year about that, lets be honest large chuncks of the Media dont care about the Victims of 9/11, they are just using the event as a Marketing and Promotion Campaign, sell as much Newspapers as possible by pretending we care.

    BBC News Website has got a minute to minute account about what happend on 9/11, why is this necessary, have we not heard enough over the years, again i find all this Media attention really morbid, why send Stephen Nolan there,what new aspects can he add, that wasnt discussed in last years 5live 9/11 Special?

    It just seems different parts of the Media are getting really obsessed with gleening every last detail from 9/11, its quite depressing it really is, move on, let the dead rest in peace, instead of trying to relive what happend every year, with the crocidile tears from people who are just trying to make money, to Newspapers pretending they care, its disgusting.

  • Comment number 10.

    I understand where you are coming from with some of your points but I disagree with you when you suggest that it is time to forget the events of 911 and move on. 911 should not be forgotten, it should be investigated because all is not as it appeared. The world media have only shown one side of the story. I really believe that you need to see the other side of the story and then decide for yourself which version makes you feel the easiest. I, like you and millions of others, accepted the events of 911 as they were portrayed on that fateful day but believe me, my head has been turned significantly since I saw the movie at the end of this link. Go and take a good long look at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E3oIbO0AWE&feature=player_embedded

  • Comment number 11.

    //It just seems different parts of the Media are getting really obsessed with gleening every last detail from 9/11, its quite depressing it really is, move on, let the dead rest in peace, instead of trying to relive what happend every year, with the crocidile tears from people who are just trying to make money, to Newspapers pretending they care, its disgusting.//

    I agree with much of that. 9/11 was a cowardly terrorist attack which will live in history as a landmark of the appalling things men can do to each other. I would have preferred a dignified day of reflection instead of what appears to becoming a media circus.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why do Victoria Derbyshire,Peter Allen and Stephen Nolan plus how many other BBC staff have to go all the way to the U.S.A. to report on an event that happened Ten years ago? They could do an equally good job staying in the U.K.and report on it at the BBC studios.It might be a start to the D.Q.F. cuts and save some money at the same time.

  • Comment number 13.

    ExWireman you are spot on, every year for the last 10 years, 5live has been sending people over to bring us on the spot analysis, what new insight can they offer this year, that they havent offered in the last 9? All that is going to happen is the 5live presenters will phrase the Questions differently, i really dont understand what is the point, behind this Media Circus?

    Adrian can you answer that please?

    Its almost as if the Media are telling us, YOU MUST FOLLOW THIS EVENT, BECAUSE WE ARE TELLING YOU TO!!!

    Its pathetic it really is, who wants to be constantly reminded of Death and destruction?

  • Comment number 14.

    Fedster,What I don,t like about it,is that 3 broadcasters named in my post truly believe they have to be in the U.S.A.to report on a 10 year old event,horrific as it was at the time.The problem will not be solved as long as the management at the BBC allow it ,I suppose the expenses are still as good at the BBC though.

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree with the waste of BBC manpower but as I said earlier at least Peter Allen is a proper journalist as opposed to an emoter.

    But as to the Pentagon being a conspiracy 1Geoff2, words do in fact fail me. I can't even bother to address such a ridiculous notion.

  • Comment number 16.

    How Steven Nolan even has a job on 5 live amazes me!

  • Comment number 17.

    What a scandalous waste of licence fee payers money.The BBC has already got presenters and journalist staff in the US without having to send another 3, use them for reporting on 5live about 9/11 ten years on for goodness sake.Peter Allen I can understand but there is absolutely no reason to send Victoria Derbyshire or Stephen Nolan plus their staff at our expense.Austerity is a frequent word used on 5live but obviously does not relate to this particular radio station .Some excellent points also made by Fedster.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree wholeheartedly Ginger. What a wast of money. Please could the Controller justify this expense to us licence payers. We do, after all, pay his salary.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well this all does seem rather poor decison making to me.Derbyshire had a nice trip out to South Africa not too long ago at our expense and taking in the World Cup draw .Does anyone remember what she contributed to all that because I don't ?

  • Comment number 20.

    All those conspiracy deniers leaving comments here need to DO THE RESEARCH. If you don't question what you're told by mainstream media and your government, you are letting yourself and everyone else down. It is your duty to challenge authority, otherwise you become sheep.

  • Comment number 21.

    I was working in D.C. that morning . I heard the boom from the Pentagon . We drove home to Reston, Virginia past the Pentagon . My mother-in-law lost two friends in that building as her sons Father-in-law fought the fire with his fellow fire-fighting heroic colleagues . Dutch .

  • Comment number 22.


    Sadly this controller sees no reason to justify anything.

  • Comment number 23.

    I really question the need for whoever is covering for Rachel to tell us that on 9/11 two planes flew in to the twin towers, one in to the Pentagon and one other crashed. Either we remember it or we are too young or too old to do so, and please, the main emoter, Nolan, is doing that horrible interview style "I've got to push ya to tell me..." stuff which is actually too distressing for everyone, he makes it all far worse.

  • Comment number 24.

    "The Staten Island Ferry" trailer - how many times did you play it??? It's a nice enough trailer but for goodness sake - so often played. It had me reaching for the off button quicker than the Archer's theme tune. It really was over the top and made me tune into other stations just to avoid it. You seem to have no consideration for people who listen to the station for more than half an hour a day.

  • Comment number 25.

    Just heard a bit of VD. What was she expecting the US military to say? They aren't going to tell her anything that veers off the approved version be it true or not.

  • Comment number 26.

    I found it ABSOLUTE ridiculous how much the bbc - and Radio 5live cover the 9/11 Anniversary. Yes, it was horrific and yes, it should be remembered. But LIVE FROM THE US???? All week??? More than one reporter??? Come on.......

  • Comment number 27.

    Two words for all this: Sony nomination.

  • Comment number 28.

    Only the music panel (!) was missing from this surreal, complete waste of time and money.

    As others have said, it was a good PR exercise for the US military; a beano for VD who was there all week - and we learnt nothing that couldn't have been done from base.

  • Comment number 29.

    And in a self serving kind of way!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    "I found it ABSOLUTE ridiculous how much the bbc - and Radio 5live cover the 9/11 Anniversary. Yes, it was horrific and yes, it should be remembered. But LIVE FROM THE US???? All week??? More than one reporter??? Come on......."

    I totally agree with 'andrhein' above. Do the BBC really believe that we want this much coverage? We soaked up everything we could get when these awful things happened. What could Stephen Nolan possibly find out now that we don't already know? His name alone is enough for me to turn off. This anniversary should have been remembered in a quiet, dignified way, not with all this attention-grabbing, sensationalist reporting.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think it has been total overkill and a total waste of money sending presenters over there. All I have heard is recollections from people of that awful day, some of which I have heard before, and the BBC correspondents already over there could have done that, or interviews could have been done from here. It has been going on all week now and I think it would have been more appropriate to have just held special programmes on the actual day. No-one will ever forget that dreadful day and it has never really gone out of the news, so nothing new is coming out of it. As for Victoria Derbyshire going to Guantanamo Bay.......words fail me.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ridiculous, over the top coverage of a horrific crime that happened a decade ago but is being covered as though it happened a few days ago.While 3000 people were murdered and thousands more will die from the effects of the dust.Hundreds of thousands have died in other countries as a result.
    There will be no media coverage for those hundreds of thousands murdered in illegal wars.
    Every life is precious regardless of nationality or religion and news coverage should try to reflect this.
    News coverage has been reduced to propoganda there is no balance or objectivity.
    How can they justify sending Victoria Derbyshire to Guantanamo to tell us how nice it is there now.
    The inmates who have been kidnapped (sorry forgot its called rendition,) and held indefinitely without trial are no longer being tortured,so that's ok.lets rejoice.
    What happened to justice and innocent till proved guilty?
    Absolutely disgraceful how can the bbc possibly justify the level to which they have stooped.

  • Comment number 33.

    Good God! A 5 Live blog on something really political or as political as 5 Live are prepared to make it!!

    All this blanket coverage throughout the day you've allocated to this 'commeroration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 despatching all your lead and highly overated presenters like Victoria Derbyshire, Steve Nolan and Peter Allen out to the farce! Stuff the expense of course!

    Lo and behold there's a 'credible terrorist threat to coincide which won't happen and even if it does it because you lot have goaded it by your blanket coverage.

    According to your coverage world politics changed after 9/11 just because misinformed deluded and innocent American's were attacked at the twin towers. This misses the point that US Forces had been attacking Iraq with air strikes all along throughout the 90's and that the country had been paralysed by economic sanctioins.

  • Comment number 34.

    Last night I switched on hoping to hear someone covering for Nolan. Sadly it was a live broadcast from NYC.

    There is only so much a listener can take, and I say that with humility in view of the recurring anguish we are hearing from bereaved or traumatised survivors. But AVK, you should know when enough is enough, when there is, and excuse the use of the word, overkill of a subject. It is too heartrending and too awful to keep hearing all these stories, and it is not as if almost the entire world is not full of sympathy and sadness for those affected people. AVK you may have thought this coverage would be a triumph for your station, but it has turned in to something you have to turn off.

    Your emoting coverage by Nolan, and that superficial stuff by Victoria, have been a broadcast disaster. Far better to have had a couple of brilliant programmes covering the events of this weekend. No-one is going to forget what happened in 2001.

  • Comment number 35.

    Calm down nick. This is probably a one off. Back to football and journo blogs again tomorrow.

  • Comment number 36.

    Throughout the Your Call yesterday Nicky Campbell on several occasions claimed that the 'Conspiracy Theorists' over the 9/11 attacks exist only among Muslim Groups.

    Wrong! They exist among Christian/Atheist UK and European groups as well!

    He also failed to challenge a very eloquently speaking Boffin type caller (name not recalled) who said that such conspiracy theorist callers shouldn't be allowed on air!
    One might have thought that the normal retort from any 'impartial' presenter would have been 'Your Call' accommodates all shades of opinion! Highly debatable!

  • Comment number 37.

    Sadly all my earlier criticisms have been justified, it is so cringeworthy listening/watching this stuff,Stephen Nolan with his fake emotive questining, deep down he is thinking is this making good Radio,Newspapers journalists salivating at the Mouth, thinking what new angle can they use this year and realising there are no new angles, so they decide to write the same thing as last year but worded differently, TV Presenters with that fake worried/sad look on their face as they give us a minute to minute account of what happend on 9/11.

    Its so embrassing to watch, its so Morbid and perversed, this obsession with Death is really unhealthy, i cannot believe what i am seeing!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Well you better believe it Fed because that's exactly what's happening!

    Nolan and Co have passed the interviews and done the courses and combined with their 'gift of the gab' many UK households who either hear or see it, capitulate to it!

    All this stuff about 'what you were doing on the day' or 9/11 changing the world is utter garbage! It belittles the politics over why it happened and it's just an mawkish driven excuse for these right-wing neoloberals and neo-conservatives to detach themselves from the fact that it's their economic and foreign policies that caused the tragedy!

    The reality is that 9/11 never changed anything but explains why world politics and tensions are why they are today and will continue to be so as long as long as these gung ho warmongers, whether uniformed generals or rich industrialists posing as democratic politicians control the show!

  • Comment number 39.

    Absolutely agree with no.38.

    Not once have I heard any presenter ask: "Why did it happen?"

    The unquestioning support by the US of its proxy might be a start.

  • Comment number 40.

    Jasmine Post 3! If your'e so obsessed by how a particular journalist relates information to you according to his/her personality then you have a real problem!

  • Comment number 41.

    "What were you doing on 9/11?"

    Surely just asking that Question, cheapens 9/11, i can imagine the responses:

    " I was sat infront of my TV,like Millions of other people"

    " I was at work when i heard it on the Radio"

    Its almost as if they think the everyone in the UK is grieving, and by sharing their mundane goings on, on that day, it will somehow make good Radio. I am sure this same Question was asked last year on 5live, i bet if they played a recording of last years 5live 9/11 schedule, no one will notice the difference.

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh gawd...before it's even started... can one imagine what the Adrew Marr show will consist of this 9/11th anniversary Take care all and don't be brainwashed by the emotion!

  • Comment number 43.

    Calm down Nick switch of your TV/radio until 12th

  • Comment number 44.

    You've gotta hear Nolan, it's like a Chris Morris spoof. All the insinserity he can muster

  • Comment number 45.

    BBC. Please, please stop.

  • Comment number 46.

    I have avoided the BBC for much of the day as I knew this would happen. Media circus, every journo got to get a piece of the action.

  • Comment number 47.

    I switched on late last night and they were still at it.

  • Comment number 48.

    I listened to the Simon Mayo programme on Saturday night and thought it was a good, well put together show. It also highlighted how much the station misses Simon Mayo as a main presenter. Can you imagine Richard Bacon handling a silmilar sistuation as well. I don't think so.

  • Comment number 49.

    #48, I completely agree with you.

    I'm no BBC basher but I did think Victoria's programme became tough to listen to due to her persistent questioning when it was utterly clear the interviewees were not going to deviate from the company line, so to speak.


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