Belfast Telegraph

Gloria Hunniford reveals why she was on IRA 'death list' and was once 'smuggled' out of BBC building

Northern Ireland television presenter Gloria Hunniford has revealed she was once on an IRA "death list" and had to be "smuggled" out of the BBC because of threats made against her.

The broadcaster (77) made the revelations in her new autobiography My Life by Gloria Hunniford, which is serialised in The Mirror

Gloria also reveals how she was stalked by a man every day for five years.

While in Germany recording messages from families of British soldiers serving in Northern Ireland during the Troubles for her radio show Ulster Calling on the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

Just ahead of setting off home, a senior Army commander informed her she and her co-presenter were on an IRA "death list".

"I was stunned," she said.

She was offered the opportunity to stop the programme which she did consider given her three young children at the time.

"But we’d been doing the programme for the British Forces Broadcasting Service since 1969 and any ‘damage’ had already been done.

“So we both shrugged and said ‘What’s the point in stopping now?’"

Gloria reveals the Army visited her home for a security briefing and instructed her on how to check for bombs under the car and how she had to keep the curtains shut.

"I did all that for two weeks - then I forgot and got on with my life."

In the book she also talks about working in Troubles-ravaged Northern Ireland covering the news. She talks about witnessing the devastation of the Abercorn bombing in 1972 and how she continued on with her BBC radio show despite the building being evacuated after a bomb went off.

In another attack, she recalls how she got a call at home to say a bomb had gone off in Derry and she raced to the scene with daughter Caron, who was off school sick.

“It seems crazy now. We arrived in the middle of a street riot and had to get into an Army Saracen as bricks and bottles landed all around. Poor Caron was terrified and I woke up to the fact that my everyday life was far from normal.

Gloria received more death threats in the immediate aftermath of the London Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings in 1982 which happened during her Radio 2 show.

She said she felt "odd" having to play music in-between news bulletins on the atrocity.

"Unbeknown to me, threats were coming in saying ‘Get that Irish b**ch off the air or we will,’" she said.

“When I finished the show I realised the control room was full of very serious-looking men in suits. They said an extremely serious threat had been made against me.

“I had to be smuggled out of by a back door and taken home by car. I was very shaken up as I’d only recently moved to London. From then on I was allowed to drive right up to the back of the building and park out of sight.”

In the book, out on October 5, she also reveals for the first time how she was plagued by a stalker while working in London. The man waiting outside her work every day for her for five years.

She says how he once tried to kiss her and would send her messages about meeting in hotels when she played romantic music on the radio only to receive angry messages later when she never appeared. He even showed up at her home after she broke her shoulder.

Court injunctions didn't put an end to the torture and she was forced to increase security at her home. She said he was later charged over sending hoax bomb threats to Margaret Thatcher and others and is undergoing mental health treatment.

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