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Jennie Bond remembers Jill Dando

Inset: Jill Dando on BBC One's 'Holiday' programme / BBC. Main Image: Jennie Bond on ITV's Loose Women

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Jennie Bond remembers Jill Dando

Royal correspondent Jennie Bond joined Loose Women on Friday, to mark the 25th anniversary of the sudden murder of her close friend and fellow newsreader, Jill Dando. 

A quarter of a century later the case remains unsolved and speaking to Kaye Adams, Frankie Bridge, Nadia Sawalha and Jane Moore live in the studio, Jennie reflected on that fateful day that she had to announce Jill’s death on-air and how she wants her dear friend to be remembered.

Asked how she separated ‘Jennie newsreader and Jennie friend’ when she reported the news live on-air, Jennie replied: “You just do, you get on with your job but it was probably the toughest bulletin I’ve ever had to do. Just a couple of years earlier, I’d reported extensively on the death of Diana, who I’d also known and I liked. 

ITV: Jill Dando presented The Gramophone Awards 1997 sponsored by Britannia Music Club and produced by Carlton Television

“But this was far more personal, far more shocking. The whole newsroom was in shock and a newsroom is such a vibrant place, you know it’s buzzy and everyone is chatting at the same time and suddenly, that morning it all went quiet and honestly, physically cold I’d say.”

Discussing the timeline of events and when she heard the news, Jennie revealed: “It was about midday that we started hearing rumours, well we heard someone had been killed on their doorstep, a woman. Then unbelievably, people started saying, ‘It’s Jill’ and we were just whispering, we didn’t dare say it out loud. We didn’t believe it.” 

“We at the BBC were absolutely adamant we had to contact the family first so I don’t think we were first to break the news actually but that didn’t matter. The family were told and my bosses came over to me and said, ‘Are you ok? Can you do this?’ and I said, ‘Yes’ but you could see I was very emotional but you could also see – and you’ll know this if you read the news – but when you’re dreading saying something, you say that bit perfectly well and then you have a little stumble after that, and I did. That just portrayed how awful it was.”

BBC: News personalities Jennie Bond and Jill Dando

She also opened up on the impact it had on the newsroom and Jill’s colleagues: “It was something that stayed with the newsroom for days after and I think we all felt a little bit frightened actually. The nights after that when I got home to my house, 11 o’clock at night after a day in the newsroom and put the key in the door, you just sort of looked around and [asked] ‘Am I safe? Am I ok?’ because we didn’t know then who killed her and we don’t know now, 25 years later.” 

“It was like the girl next door had been assassinated and that’s what it looked like – an assassination… We owe it to Jill to explore every avenue.”

On her friendship with Jill, Jennie said: “Oh she was lovely Jill, she was the most generous woman. We women can be [tough on each other] but she was never that… She was just lovely like that.” 

“I remember her as an absolutely charming, good friend. Someone who wanted to help others, wanted to help others in the industry. A very generous character and just so sad, I mean so terribly sad to be cut down at that age.” 

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV1, STV, STV Player and ITVX

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