Cameraman Simon Cumbers, 36, and security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42, were filming outside the house of a known militant in the al-Suwaydi suburb of the Saudi capital Riyadh when they came under fire from gunmen.
Cumbers was killed immediately while Gardner suffered wounds mainly to his abdomen. He is currently in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Riyadh following 'extensive surgery' last night.
The two men had travelled to Saudi Arabia last week following terrorist attacks in Khobar and had been reporting from the country for BBC News since then.
Riyadh's police chief said the attack was carried out by "unknown elements".
Gardner - who is fluent in Arabic - is a well-known face on BBC News through his reporting on the war on terror and is a leading expert on Al-Qaeda.
Cumbers was a freelance journalist and cameraman who had worked throughout the world filming international news stories for the BBC and for news organisations such as Associated Press Television and ITN.
BBC director of News Richard Sambrook told BBC Radio 4's Today this morning: "Nobody knew Saudi Arabia or knew the sort of risks they were undertaking better than Frank who had lived and worked in Saudi Arabia.
'Simon was also extremely experienced in terms of working in difficult locations like this so both men would have thought very seriously about what they were doing and how they were going about it."