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Proms on TV - it's all about the rights ...

Thursday 6 September 2012, 17:16

Jan Younghusband Jan Younghusband

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Prom 59 - Cast of The Broadway Sound

Prom 59 - Cast of The Broadway Sound

Jan Younghusband, BBC Commissioning Editor, Music & Events, sums up the 2012 Proms TV coverage and explains why the John Wilson Broadway Prom was broadcast incomplete ...

The television team all agreed the other day that we can't believe it's already the last week of the Proms. It has flown by this year. I just received the usual 'How have we done so far?' email about the viewing figures which I confess I opened with trepidation as I assumed no-one would have time to watch because of the amazing Olympics coverage and now the utterly inspiring Paralympics. But actually I was wrong. You have been watching, so many thanks to our audiences for being so faithful and appreciative this year, despite having many other calls on your TV viewing time.

We've had another interesting week with rights issues. We could not include the West Side Story balcony scene in the John Wilson Broadway Musicals TV Prom last Saturday night on BBC Two because we didn't have the dialogue rights. We were then granted the dialogue rights at the last moment after the programme was delivered, and tried to put the clip up on line, but then realised that for this special selection of music and lyrics, the TV rights didn't cover online rights! So it was a mess frankly and we apologise for this. We appreciate it was really disappointing for our audience, and we were really upset about it too. We did everything we could and just couldn't make it work.

We've had a few rights problems this year, usually around musicals, and actually they are very interesting things, because they come in lots of rights segments: the music, the words to the songs, the dialogue, the book, the stage rights, the film rights - these are not necessarily owned by one person, but many different parties, and naturally the rights holders want to protect the exposure of these treasured works. It's a complicated business. It has always been, and probably always will be, very difficult to get permission to televise musicals but we will continue to try because we do understand you want to see them.

Its a terrific final week, with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra last Sunday, and the Desert Island Discs 75th anniversary concert last night, both available on the BBC iPlayer. The St Louis Symphony performed on Tuesday and on Wednesday, John Adams conducted his Nixon in China. We have a new documentary about him coming out in the New Year on BBC Four. Oh whoops, not sure I meant to tell you that yet! Don't tell everyone!

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Tonight there is the Vienna Phil followed by the wonderful Staff Benda Bilili late night at 10.15pm, all live on Radio 3. We are televising Friday's Vienna Philharmonic concert, with Haydn's Symphony No.104 and Strauss's Alpine Symphony conducted by Bernard Haitink on BBC Four.

Then on Saturday night we are filming the Last Night in 3D (and 2D) for the first time, so you can watch it on BBC Two and BBC One in the usual way or you can watch it in 3D on the BBC HD channel (but don't forget the 3D glasses and you need a 3D-ready TV). It's in cinemas in 3D all over the country, so please check if it's local to you. Can't wait to hear our very own BBC Young Musician, Nicola Benedetti play the Bruch Concerto and also what a treat it will be to hear the tenor Joseph Calleja. On the Last Night, the Nations have their own Last Night Concerts and traditionally we go round the Nations during the last night coverage. This year we are making a special programme for BBC Four - the Best of the Last Night - which will be broadcast the following Friday, 14th September on BBC Four.

I wanted to say special thank you to John and Jenny, who live in a caravan with the TV trucks outside the Royal Albert Hall all summer, looking after everything. And the weather has been so horrible all summer, so not a lot of fun for them. Also they very kindly look after my bike gear while I am in the concert, so thanks for that! And of course the wonderful presenters for doing another great job this year - Katie, Suzy, Charlie, Petroc and Samira - and all the guests who come to talk about the music, both musicians and musical experts, we are most grateful to you.

Have a great week and don't think it's all over because the week after the Proms, the Piano season begins on Radio 3 and BBC Four - we announced the details of this yesterday, so watch out in the press for what's on.

Find details of the Last Night of the Proms


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