ASBESTOS was discovered yesterday just metres from the set of EastEnders.
Engineers discovered the deadly substance while fitting fibre-optic cables at the BBC’s Elstree studios in Hertfordshire.
It was found in a trench near Elstree, which has also produced shows including Holby City, Grange Hill and Top of the Pops.
Filming for the classic soap opera was ongoing at the time of discovery last Tuesday, with actors including Adam Woodyatt — who plays Ian Beale — on the site.
A BBC spokesman said: “Excavation work at a trench outside the site has been stopped while some tiles are dealt with by licensed contractors.”
Performers’ union Equity said its films department was looking into the events at Elstree.
“Our primary concern is, of course, the safety of our members,” the union’s assistant general secretary Martin Brown said.
Asbestos is considered to be of particular danger when it is first disturbed, with its fibres laying dormant inside its victims for decades before they contract the deadly cancer mesothelioma.
The disease killed 2,515 people in 2014.
Construction workers are among the most at risk, but teaching unions have raised concerns over the huge number of schools that contain asbestos.
Asbestos, which consists of six different types of naturally occurring minerals, was used as an insulator and to protect against fires and corrosion.
It was not fully banned in Britain until 1999.