It has been the butt of jokes since Peter Sellers quipped on The Goon Show in 1954: "Lunch is now being served in the BBC canteen. Doctors are on standby..."
Now the much maligned TV centre canteen – along with its celebrity clientele – is facing its most ferocious attack yet. A mysterious yet remarkably well informed Twitter account called The Killing Station is parodying the BBC's real take-away cafeteria, The Filling Station.
In the course of just a few months its author, who poses as the canteen manager, has accused the BBC's respected economics editor of being a kleptomaniac, its veteran world affairs editor of being a drunken bore, and has suggested that the Corporation's business editor brings down banks for kicks.
It's also not very complimentary about the food. The account now has 1,900 followers, including many of the presenters and celebrities it ridicules. A frequent target is the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders.
One tweet says: "You know times are tough when you catch @bbcstephanie shoplifting. To be fair think she has a problem. Not the first time she's nicked stuff." It continues: "She had 30 bags of lapsang souchong in her knickers and only wanted to pay for a hot water. Talent! think they can get away with anything."
The Killing Station is one of only 164 accounts that Flanders follows. She has 24,000 followers of her own.
Other BBC celebrities targeted include royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell ("I'm not saying Nicholas Witchell is small but he just walked out of here carrying his cheese and onion crisps like a sack of coal"), John Simpson ("Simpson's been scaring the customers again. Swigging from a bottle of raki demanding cous cous.") and Gavin Hewitt ("Is it just me or does Gavin Hewitt have too many teeth? We call him piranha. Only man who can get through my jacket spuds without a knife.")
The BBC's business editor Robert Peston, who is referred to as Bobby, also appears regularly. He is portrayed as a boiled-egg-eating, economically illiterate oddball – but this hasn't put him off being a fan of the account. The Killing Station is one of just 273 users that Peston follows (he has 120,000 followers).
One tweet said: "Had that Peston in here the other day. Short-changed him. He didn't notice." Or more recently: "Bobby's just been in. Four boiled eggs then he skipped off singing 'Like a Virgin'. Love it when Peston is in the zone."
Peston said yesterday: "I love it. It makes me crack up on a daily basis."
So far the BBC management has made no attempt to unearth the account's author – thought to be a journalist with intimate knowledge of both the canteen and its clientele.
The Twitter account has an avid following of not just Peston and Flanders but also of Clare Balding, Evan Davis, Jeremy Bowen, Matthew Pinsent and a host of other BBC stars.
The Tweets... and the victims
Is it just me or does Gavin Hewitt have too many teeth ... Only man who can get through my jacket spuds without a knife
Have to "unfollow" Kate Silverton until she gets bored of her child or at least decides not to bore the rest of us
My recipes have proved very useful to foreign correspondents. Orla [Guerin] still uses my special sauce to make African babies cry
Breakthrough with Stephanie Flanders in her treatment! She just paid for a sausage roll
Little known fact. Emily Maitlis was engaged to Chris de Burgh and she wears that red dress on jan 16th every year
Just seen Huw Edwards getting curry and rice from @KillingStation – don't be surprised if he doesn't manage to present News at Ten
Bobby (Peston) worries me... if Spurs beat Arsenal at the weekend he's going to bring down Santander
Love it when Ben Brown gets back from covering a famine. a/ he'll eat anything b/ he doesn't care about the flies around the coffee machine
[John] Simpson's been in again. I've told him. If the 10 [o'clock News] isn't interested neither am I. Pay for the Maltesers, in sterling
Jeremy Bowen has witnessed atrocities, but his expression at the hot plate was one of pure fearReuse content