BBC splurge on SWC lift
Cape Town - The BBC's star presenters - Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon - will be whisked to their presentation suite on the top floor of Somerset Hospital in Cape Town without meeting any members of the public.
According to the Metro website, it is understood that the hospital was willing to let the stars use the public lifts and stairs, though the BBC is understood to have raised safety concerns after learning that the hospital had a reputation as a leading centre for the treatment of gun crime.
The building has several internal lifts, though they only reach the fourth floor, meaning the stars would have to walk the last three flights of stairs.
Dr Jacques Hendricks, the hospital’s acting medical superintendent, told the Daily Mail: ‘I was at one of their planning meetings and the emphasis was always on security for BBC staff and presenters.
"Maybe that is because this is a state hospital where many poor people come to our emergency centre, often with gang-related and alcohol-related injuries like stabbings and gunshot wounds.
"The idea of a footbridge and an exterior lift seemed to come directly from their security worries. Or perhaps the BBC guys just don’t want to walk the extra three flights of stairs.
"They could have used our lifts like everyone else, but they insisted on building their own on the outside of our main building.
"We understand that about a million pounds has been spent on the rooftop studio and it is impressive.’
The pentagon-shaped glass presentation suite overlooks the Cape Town Stadium where eight matches are due to be played.
All BBC coverage will be based there, despite the most important matches - including the opening match and final - being played 1 000 miles away in Johannesburg, because the Johannesburg skyline was considered 'too ugly'.
The BBC is sending 295 staff – double that of ITV – to the tournament in South Africa this summer.
A BBC spokesperson said: "The hospital is really pleased the BBC are there. Both parties worked together to ensure there will be no disruption to patients.
"That was our primary motive in building the lift."
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