BBC launches 2012 culture contribution
One of the pleasures in the BBC 2012 project team is seeing things that started as vague or even initially-unloved ideas turning into reality and surprising us with their ambition and quality.
So projects that were floated a couple of years back are now being delivered; and every week there are new programmes for us to watch and listen to.
They'll be hitting the airwaves in 2012 itself, but we can confidently predict that there's a lot to love - even though not everything may be your cup of tea.
Today we've announced the BBC's plans to reflect the London 2012 Festival - the biggest cultural event in our lifetimes. And we have three big themes:
1. Music. The BBC Proms will be part of the London 2012 Festival, including a performance of Beethoven's ninth symphony on the night of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. The Radio 1 Hackney Weekend will be the largest free concert in our history; and Music Nation will get the UK playing and listening to music from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands.
2. Shakespeare. To mark the Olympics there'll be a World Shakespeare Festival, and our contribution will feature star-studded films of some of the history plays - with actors from Ben Whishaw to Julie Walters - through to Simon Schama on BBC Two and Neil MacGregor on Radio 4 examining the world in which Shakespeare lived. Students will compete in delivering Shakespearean soliloquies, with a televised final.
3. London. The host city and a global city: we'll be exploring London's history, its incredible diversity - and its music, including a film by Julien Temple and some songs selected by Jools Holland.
You can see how it fits together in a compilation we've put together:
What we've also revealed today is the band that will be composing the BBC Olympic theme - and I'm delighted to say it will be Elbow. This builds on our recent tradition of using great British contemporary artists to deliver our music, as we did with Damon Albarn in 2008; and we reckon Elbow have a unique combination of credibility - hence their Mercury Prize - with a style that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The recording hasn't been done yet so there's nothing we can share today - and we do want to make sure the theme isn't completely worn out even before we get to the Games themselves. So you'll hear the first bars from it on air around the time of the Torch Relay; but the full work is likely to be saved for around the time of the Opening Ceremony.
I know there's sometimes scepticism - even on this blog - about quite how sport and culture and the special events of next year fit together. But it seems to me that seeing and hearing the content that's being lined up, it will all make sense.
It's a sign of our commitment to new music that we've gone for a commission for the BBC 2012 theme rather than reaching into the record library and it's part of the pledge that there'll be something for everyone that means you can spend time with Daniel Barenboim on Opening Ceremony night if you don't fancy the athletes' parade.
Great sport and artistic creativity actually fit well together, as we aim to prove in the months ahead.