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TV-Newsroom27071A burst water main in London forced GMTV off the air for 16 minutes following a massive power cut this morning.

The water main on Tooley Street burst at 4am, flooding an electrical substation.

At 6.16am, Penny Smith and Andrew Castle broke into a back-up tape, to start today’s live broadcast.

GMTV said in a statement: “We’d like to apologise for transmission problems during this morning’s programme

We’re sorry for any on-air disruption caused after a massive power cut earlier today.

The cut affected London’s South Bank, where the studios are located, around 20 minutes before the show was due to go on air at 6am, a GMTV spokeswoman said.

A back-up tape was played for about 10 minutes, before the presenters were able to start broadcasting live from the studio.

The problems affected digital viewers for a longer period than those watching on analogue, the spokeswoman said, but normal service resumed for everyone at around 7.45am.”

Engineers at the site of of the incident said: “We’re investigating what caused this burst but our main focus now is carrying out a thorough clean-up,” a Thames Water spokeswoman said.

“The main will be fixed today and reinstatement of the road will take about a week. We apologise for the disruption road-users will face.”

Updated: Thursday 14 May 2009