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Roger Mosey | 16:09 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2007

It's a simple fact that broadcasters get more complaints than compliments.

True of life in general, I suppose. We may tonk in a letter of protest or complain to the boss if we have a bad time in a restaurant, but I've never written admiringly to a chef.

Equally, I sometimes come away from a trip to the theatre thinking what a great performance a particular actor has given - but it feels a bit naff to go home and start writing the fan mail.

So this entry's unusual in that it starts with praise.

A lot of people took to the email and the message boards to say how much they enjoyed our World Cup cycling from Manchester last weekend.

We still bear the scars from the hail of criticism after the Nicole Cooke episode in Sports Personality last year, but cycling fans seem to have been pleased with the recent coverage.

It was an example of how we're trying to change the way we schedule sport: a terrestrial TV programme to get things underway - watched on Saturday by up to 1.4m people - and then extended coverage on our interactive services.

One person wrote in: "It was so good, even my wife pressed the red button."

Worth adding that we'll be covering the World Championships in Mallorca at the end of the month, and the British success in Manchester is a good pointer to the Beijing Olympics - which will be the centrepiece of our sporting coverage in 2008.

Now back to the brickbats, and my colleague Carl Hicks has written below about a great weekend of Six Nations.

I'm not usually one of the people who argues 'we get criticised from all sides so therefore we're in truth perfectly right', but the BBC's phone log of viewers' comments last weekend was a classic example of contradictory challenges.

A couple of dozen callers were emphatic that we were biased against England because of Eddie Butler's commentary.

A couple of dozen more thought we were biased in favour of England because of Brian Moore's co-commentary.

Meanwhile, another couple of dozen thought we were biased in favour of Scotland because we had a Scottish presenter, Scottish commentator and Scottish co-commentator at Murrayfield - with not enough representation of the Italians.

All these views are sincerely held, and last weekend was an example of the way we try to address them.

In Ulster, the BBC supplied an alternative commentary by Jim Neilly over the BBC One pictures - which meant that different nations had a different service.

We've done this in the past, of course, including for the Northern Ireland v England World Cup qualifier; but it's something we're aiming to do more in the future too, either by complete opt-outs of coverage or by offering a choice on the red button.

The biggest number of sport-related complaints by BBC One viewers this week was about the dropping of Holby City and Life On Mars to make way for the FA Cup replay between Reading and Manchester United.

It wasn't so much the principle as the fact that many of the listings magazines had the wrong information.

The reason for this was that the two clubs' requests to play on the Tuesday came after Radio Times had gone to press, and we'd assumed there'd be the usual Wednesday night replay - so the football was billed there.

Newspapers and electronic listings all carried the right information on the day, but we're sorry about people who were taken by surprise.

The good news is that the postponed episode of Life On Mars will be shown next Tuesday; and more than 7m people enjoyed what was a pretty extraordinary game.

Finally, a word for our viewers worldwide about Football Focus.

The programme has started going out on our BBC World television channel, which means it's now being seen by up to 60m people worldwide and on the BBC website as well as its loyal audience in the UK.

We've had emails from every part of the globe welcoming a football show appearing on BBC World, but there's one difference between the two editions: the World version doesn't show any goals, and concentrates instead on filmed reports and studio analysis.


It's the usual issue: we have rights to show Premier League and FA action within the UK but not globally - so for the forseeable future it has to be a different version for viewers in other countries.

Again, apologies if that causes any disappointment; but we hope you enjoy the rest of the show.


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