Tuesday 23 January 2018

O2 Arena to help rebury 'bashed' Blue Peter time capsule unearthed by builders

Richard Bacon and Katy Hill with the Blue Peter time capsule
Richard Bacon and Katy Hill with the Blue Peter time capsule

The O2 Arena has promised to help rebury a Blue Peter millennium time capsule unearthed by builders, and damaged, 33 years early.

A spokesman said the concert venue was "looking after" the "bashed" 1990s treasure trove and would repair or replace it.

Buried in 1998 by the BBC show's presenters Katy Hill and Richard Bacon, it contained a Roald Dahl book, a Spice Girls CD, a Tamagotchi toy, photographs of Princess Diana, a video of a child's walk to school and a grandfather's letter about what had changed during his lifetime.

It was found on Wednesday by construction workers excavating the land at the east London venue for a retail development.

All the items, which were chosen by viewers and set to be dug up in 2050, are believed to be intact.

The spokesman said: "Sadly it was accidentally damaged during excavations.

"The capsule and its contents are safely stored in our office and we've let the team at Blue Peter know.

"We're going to work with them to either repair or replace the capsule and bury it again for the future."

The discovery solved a problem for the O2 team and the BBC, who had been searching for the precise location of the capsule for months.

While they knew roughly where it had been buried, the spokesman said: "The team at the O2 and our contractors ISG have been searching for the Blue Peter time capsule since we started construction work in 2016."

He dismissed rumours that the workers who damaged the capsule had been fired, adding there was "always a chance" the hidden container could be damaged by machinery.

A BBC spokeswoman said the discovery could be a special occasion in itself for Blue Peter viewers, and hinted at the possibility of adding more treasures to the box.

She said: "Although a little earlier than anticipated, we're looking forward to sharing these memories with our viewers and making new ones as we return the capsule to the earth so that it can be reopened in 2050 as originally planned."

The original location for the capsule was chosen because it was the area where the capital's major millennium monuments were constructed, including the Millennium Bridge and the Millennium Dome - now the O2.

News of the uncovered capsule was first reported by The Sun.

The newspaper wrote: "The container was put 15ft under the Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, and should have stayed there until 2050."

Press Association

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