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BBC's sport programmes move to the fore

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Roger Mosey | 09:15 UK time, Monday, 9 July 2012

In our planning for 2012, there was never any doubt about what would be the most intense period: the Olympic Games themselves from July 27 to August 12.

But we also knew that this would be a summer where people would want to enjoy the build-up to the big event.

That's why we committed to covering the Olympic torch relay on every step of the journey and why we've always been enthusiastic supporters of the London 2012 Festival.

On both those fronts we'd say "so far, so good". The torch has been a major hit in communities right across the UK, and as an addition to the schedule we'll be marking the journey with a documentary on BBC One on Wednesday July 25.

The festival, meanwhile, has had some remarkable broadcast pieces: the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend, Britain In A Day, the Simon Bolivar Orchestra concert from Stirling - and the magnificent series of Shakespeare films on BBC Two.

As we get closer to the Games, the emphasis naturally moves towards sport and I want to pick out some of the programmes you'll be able to see and hear before the Opening Ceremony.

It's not a comprehensive list, but I hope it illustrates the range that's on offer across the BBC.

The most ambitious series runs this week. "Faster, Higher, Stronger" is four one-hour history programmes about the Olympics, though they're not a typical chronology of the Games.

Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz, who won a then record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics

Instead, each show is based around a particular sport or event: the 100m, the 1500m, swimming and gymnastics.

What makes it for me is the brilliant use of archive, which offers both nostalgia and insight. I'd no idea until now about how the butterfly stroke started, for instance; and the dissection of how the 100m is run is the best I've seen on television.

It's all supplemented with interviews with the stars as they are today, and journalists at the BBC Olympics launch loved Nadia Comaneci's account of that perfect 10 in Montreal.

Highly recommended not just by me but by the newspaper previewers too. Monday to Thursday at 7pm on BBC Two.

There are more sport documentaries coming up on BBC One.

The featured stars are:

  • Victoria Pendleton, July 18
  • Tom Daley, provisionally July 26

Over on BBC Three there will be a film they're calling the "Bad Boy Olympian" - judo's Ashley McKenzie - as well as a countdown of the Olympics' Amazing Moments.

On July 17 they'll be asking the question, increasingly salient, "Can Anyone Beat Bolt?"

Throughout London's Olympic and Paralympic story, probably the most diligent chronicler in the BBC has been Radio 5 Live and they're not letting up in the closing days.

This week on the evening of July 10 we have a Virtual Medal Table - looking at how Team GB might do - and on July 11 an Olympic Glossary that tries to explain the Games. Then the regular London Calling strand with Eleanor Oldroyd goes international on July 12.

For those who aren't out-and-out sport fans, we have other genres coming into play too.

The warm, history-based drama "Bert and Dickie" will have a peak slot on BBC One just before the Games; and the show we all love in the BBC 2012 project "Twenty Twelve" will be raising some laughs again from Tuesday night on BBC Two.

We'll alert you to more programmes and the precise timings as each one becomes closer; and our hope is that by the time we're ready for the Opening Ceremony, you'll be in the mood for the feast of live sport that follows.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for the update Roger - looking forward to these.

    One thing missing for me (and perhaps an idea for 2016) is an in depth documentary on the Ancient Olympics. Mary Beard wrote an excellent newspaper article on this recently and has done a number of programmes for the BBC in recent years so would be an obvious choice to present this.

  • Comment number 2.

    Still to watch the first episode of Faster, Higher, Strong but doesn't look like it's the complete Olympic story like the Essential Olympics was pre-1996. All in all I think the build up has actually turned out to be fairly low key but glad to see you're dedicated the day to the build up on the 27th.

    One question - with BBC HD largely simulcasting BBC3 coverage and BBC1 coverage switching to BBC2 during the news will we get that a rather annyoing switch in coverage on BBC HD at 1pm, 6pm and 10pm (ish) from the BBC3 broadcast to BBC2?

  • Comment number 3.

    Looking at next week's Radio Times I don't think I will be able to keep up!

    Really looking forward to the Victoria Pendleton documentary then there is a second Usain Bolt programme on BBC3 as well as an interesting looking football documentary, the GB warm up basketball matches, diamond league athletics and the GB football atheltics then the Open Golf!

  • Comment number 4.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 5.

    @Tiger Rose in #1: We've done something on those lines on the BBC News Channel http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18627487 but it may well be an idea we can explore again as you suggest.

    @Brekkie in #2: not sure about the "low-key" with this range of documentaries, drama, comedy and music - which is the most ambitious ever by the BBC around an Olympic Games. But good news on your other question: BBC HD will stay with BBC Three on most forseeable plans.

  • Comment number 6.

    Could I ask when the 24 BBC Olympics HD channels are coming to the sky EPG?

  • Comment number 7.

    From Sky's website: "The 24 brand new BBC channels will appear in the Sports section of the Sky Guide from channel 450 on 23 July. All the BBC Olympic Games coverage can also be found by pressing the red button on your Sky remote from any BBC channel, so you can search for your favourite sport and find out what’s on when." Obviously, the main action starts on 28 July; and the 24 BBC channels are also available online and on Virgin Media and Freesat.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Must say the 100m edition of Faster Higher Stronger was good viewing. I had little interest in the gymnastics/1500m version, but will try and catch the swimming one on the iPlayer as my series link failed.

    Notice two Usain Bolt documentaries this week, plus a greatest moments on BBC3 which I suspect might be ruined by the opinion of trendy young celebs sharing their memories of events which happened before they were born (although I could bluff my way through a Ben Johnson piece even though I was just 5 at the time!).

    Finding it quite difficult though to navigate your full schedule - with so many sports and so many events it's quite poorly designed when you have to click through to a new page for every session to find out what's in it rather than just hover over it, though as I type have discovered the "list view" option is much easier to read and all on one page.

    P.S. Notice "Sprots Archive" scheduled on the red button over the next few days - no details in the description but I'm assuming it's Olympic related.

  • Comment number 10.

    P.S. Are the BBC doing anything outside news to mark the torch's first day in London next Saturday, surely one of the most significant days of the relay? I can't see anything scheduled (other than Blue Peter) and thanks to The Open there is no torch coverage on the red button either.

  • Comment number 11.

    Brekkie: I know Radio Times are planning a special 72-page section on the Olympic Games schedules, so hope that helps.

    On Torch - the main days in London will be Thursday 26 July and Friday 27 July, when we'll have Red Button coverage and also News Specials on BBC One at 5pm (both days) and 12 noon (Friday). There'll be more coverage in the Sport programme running 7pm-10pm on Thursday.

  • Comment number 12.

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  • Comment number 13.

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  • Comment number 14.

    Re: 11 - Thanks Roger - the old ways are somewhat the best. Do you know if it's in the RT this week or next?

    P.S. Watched the swimming edition of Faster, Higher, Stronger - very interesting. Some great archive footage too from as far back as 1912.

 

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