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U.K. Intelligence Agency MI5 Allows Cameras at HQ For First Time

U.K. intelligence agency MI5 for the first time allowed cameras to film inside its headquarters as part of BBC children's television show Blue Peter.
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/ Source: NBC News

LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5 has for the first time allowed cameras inside its London headquarters as part of a children's television show.

The BBC program Blue Peter was allowed inside the building as part of a contest for kids aged 8 to 14 interested in the world of spying.

More than 5,000 youngsters entered the competition, named Project Petra after one of the show's on-set pets.

The three winners — 13-year-old Reuben, 13-year-old Jamie and 10-year-old Finley — were given a tour of the Thames House headquarters, shown some gadgets and conducted the first television interview with MI5 Director General Andrew Parker.

"Before going into MI5 I felt really nervous but excited at the same time because I knew no kids or TV cameras had ever been in MI5 before," Jamie said in a BBC statement about the event. "It felt really cool because we were making history."

The visit was due to air during Thursday's episode of Blue Peter at 5 p.m. local time (noon ET) on the BBC's children's channel, CBBC.

— Alexander Smith