Right of Reply: Richard Ayre

The Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News defends the Corporation against charges of recent technical problems
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The Independent Culture
WE ARE two thirds of the way through the move of the best part of 1,000 journalists, and scores of programmes, into the BBC New Centre in West London. It's been described by outside advisors as the most complex technical move of a civilian operation in Britain, more difficult by far than shifting London's air traffic control. In doing it, we will have had to keep three continuous news networks on the air and provide an uninterrupted service of bulletins to six others.

Since the first programme moved in about two months ago, we have had a handful of occasions when listeners would have been briefly aware that something wasn't working as it should. One edition of the Six O'Clock News on Radio 4 was interrupted because an outside contractor inadvertently disconnected a line. I very much regret each of these problems, but for every on-air glitch there have been more than 100 hours of uninterrupted broadcasting.

Last week's celebrated moment, when Tony Benn was replaced with a Mongolian throat singer on the Today programme, was one of those slips that has happened since broadcasting began, and without which life would be duller. But it has nothing to do with our new home.

The technology we are now using is leading edge. BBC News 24 is now using automation, and almost the whole of BBC News has a computerised production system which broadcasters around the world are queuing up to buy. We can only do that if we set the world's standard; not just for the quality of our programmes, but for the speed and efficiency with which we make them.

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