BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live briefly went off the air after a false fire alarm at the corporation's Salford studios.

Listeners to the talk radio station were tuning in to a report about tax dodging in the construction industry when they heard an announcement telling staff not to the use the lifts and an emergency tape, featuring Richard Bacon interviewing Ricky Gervais, came on.

Nicky Campbell, who co-hosts the early morning show with Rachel Burden, apologised when normal service resumed minutes later.

He said: "W e do apologise for that, all of the BBC here at Salford were evacuated from the building and there was a large group of people standing outside not knowing what was going on."

Mike Bushell, the sports presenter on BBC Breakfast which was also affected by the alarm, said on Twitter it was " apparently a steam cleaner" and joked " it wasn't me ironing my shirts".

The show was in the middle of a report on the Giro d'Italia bike race in Northern Ireland when it went off air, although the commentary briefly continued over pictures from the BBC World channel from a report about crocodiles.