21:57 03 February 2017
The Millenium Time Capsule, which was buried in 1998 under the 02 Arena, was not supposed to be unearthed until 2050. Despite being damaged, the capsule’s content, which includes viewers’ mementos of the time, are safe.
A spokesperson said: "Although a little earlier than anticipated, we're looking forward to sharing these memories with our viewers and making new ones as we return the capsule to the earth so that it can be reopened in 2050 as originally planned."
In a competition, viewers had been asked to submit ideas for items they would like to put inside. The winning entries included a France 1998 World Cup football, an asthma inhaler, roller blade wheels, Tellytubby dolls, a Roald Dalh book, and a picture of a dove to symbolise peace in Northern Ireland.
A spokesman for the O2 Arena said: "The team at The O2 and our contractors ISG have been searching for the Blue Peter time capsule since we started construction work in 2016.
"We found it yesterday but sadly it was accidently damaged during excavations. The capsule and its contents are safely stored in our office and we've let the team at Blue Peter know.
"We're going to work with them to either repair or replace the capsule and bury it again for the future."