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Olympic plans already taking shape

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Roger Mosey | 17:35 UK time, Thursday, 9 July 2009

This is a blog that should last a bit more than three years.

The BBC's London Olympics project is underway, and we know the Games of the 30th Olympiad will take place in the summer of 2012 from 27 July to 12 August.

Between now and then you can keep tabs on what we're up to, and I'll answer as many questions and comments as I can.

2009 is a year when there'll be a relatively small amount to see or hear on air about the Olympics, but the decisions we're taking now will have a big impact on what will dominate our screens and radios in 2012.

One example: we need to decide soon where our main studio is going to be, and how it's going to fit in to our pattern of live broadcasting.

In Beijing the Chinese authorities built a special broadcasting tower in the form of the Ling Long Pagoda just ahead of the Games, but we sense a Pagoda in Stratford is somewhat less likely.

London mayor Boris Johnson at the 2008 closing ceremony

So we're working with our partners to identify the best locations - and similarly some of my colleagues made their first visit to Weymouth this week to look at the sailing venue and think about where we'll establish our base.

As well as the logistics of the sport operation, we're starting the planning for BBC News across the UK and for our global and regional services too.

The Olympics are quite simply the biggest event in the world, and we want to tell the story of the building of the Games as well as being the place where you can follow every moment in 2012.

That will involve not just TV and radio but online, on-demand, mobile, information streams and all the rest: the most intensive use of digital services in our history.

This long-term planning applies to the Cultural Olympiad too.

It's fair to say that the Cultural programme of the Games hasn't made much impact yet, even though it's already under way.

But the aim is that the United Kingdom has brilliant performances and events that will live up to the original idea of the OIympics as a festival of the arts as well as of sport.

Orchestras are booked years ahead, so the 2012 Proms season - which will have an Olympic flavour - is already taking shape. Meanwhile, we've started the search for ideas in entertainment, comedy and drama too.

BBC Symphony Orchestra perform in Waterloo station

Before anyone says it, it's important we don't bore audiences senseless by doing too much too early.

Pacing ourselves is key, which is why so far there's only been isolated programming in the form of Olympic Dreams and Building The Olympic Dream, which I wrote about earlier this year.

So a fair few dreams already... and a variety of programmes being considered for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

And it would be barmy to do too little.

Three-quarters of the population watched the Beijing Games, and that figure will be even higher for London when there's no time difference - and when we talk about "bringing the nation together" this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that.

Even for the minority of sport-haters, as taxpayers they're paying for the Olympics and will want the BBC to report fairly and impartially on the issues.

We hope, too, that avoiders of the 100m will still manage to enjoy some of the music and arts.

So there's much more detail to come as we get into our stride.

As I write, it's just 1114 days to go to the opening ceremony. There'll be many twists and turns along the way, but it should be an epic journey.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for the blog Roger, I look forward to hearing more in the forthcoming months. I guess it makes sense that the BBC uses other genres of programme to alert people to the Olympics. I do hope that ultimately people support the games. While there is an obvious argument that the money could do so much to tackle other things, in bringing the games to London, I think that sport does bring people together and hopefully this will be what happens.

    As part of your remit as Olympic Director, do you have any say over sporting rights for the Olympic sports in the run up to 2012? Thinking specifically in terms of athletics, with the new Diamond League, it would be great if we could follow the progress of athletes in the run up to the Olympics. I know you don't comment on things that are being negotiated but it would be good to know if this is something that is being considered.

  • Comment number 2.

    Roger - excellent to have you back: an editor who actually posts on a blog!

    I do hope that you cover a wide range of input in your role as Olympic Director, however at the heart of that is sport. One issue that was discussed heavily 12 months ago was how some sports seemed to get next to no air time. 3 years leaves us plenty of time of technological improvements, but what are you going to do to ensure that those of us who like "fringe sports" (like the Shooting Competitions) will be catered for come July/August 2012?

  • Comment number 3.

    Disappointing to see that BBC Sports Editors have decided to abandon blogging(including the Head of Sport presumably). However Roger's commitment to blogging sets a welcome example. What I'd be interested in is what your job involves. Camera positions? Where the cables should go? Liaison with LOCOG? the "host" broadcaster? Whatever Roger-I'm sure you'll do a good job.

  • Comment number 4.

    While I support alphaMark1010's comments about covering our athletes in the lead up to 2012 please don't stop at athletics. Our gymnasts, rowers, canoeists, hockey teams and swimmers to name but a few deserve their moment in the sun.

    London provides the BBC with its best possible opportunity to show what a fantastic range of Olympic talent this country has. Even a regular magazine programme highlighting the progress of our potential medalists would be welcome. So come on BBC - do your bit to support our Olympic superstars.

  • Comment number 5.

    Evening all...

    alphaMark1010 in #1: obviously, BBC Sport will lead on event coverage between now and 2012, but all of us want there to be plenty of support for the Olympic sports. Our athletics coverage is, I think, in decent shape: the Worlds trials last weekend, Crystal Palace coming up and then Berlin for the World Championships.

    Jordan D in #2: thanks for the kind words. The key thing about what you say, and similarly with akabarrington in #4, is this is going to be about more than just a basic sport service. We want to build the story of the Olympics across our news and factual programming, in entertainment, through our online sites and across the BBC's platforms globally, nationally and locally. (It's really alphaMark's point about using all our genres.)

    So in the case of shooting, I'd hope there'd be news reporting (and I've already seen a piece on BBC London); guides nearer the time to the events, how to get tickets, how the sport works etc; and then our aim in 2012 itself is to offer every single event live, so you'll be able to access everything that's going on with more hours of coverage than ever before.

    akabarrington in #4: yes, agreed. We already have Olympic Dreams following some of our hopefuls but we'll have more announcements in due course.

    jcb336 in #3: I'm going to develop this theme in the coming weeks by giving more detail about what we're up to. But the headline is: my colleagues Dave Gordon and Jonny Bramley from BBC Sport are leading on camera positions and liaison with the host broadcaster among a range of other tasks they already have underway. I spend quite a lot of time with LOCOG working on the overall relationship - I'll be with them this Tuesday for a planning sessio about the Torch relay - but also dealing with a huge range of external bodies who have interests in the Olympics.

    As I say, I'll flesh this out in future blogs. Meantime, thanks for the comments.

  • Comment number 6.


    Thank you for your informative blog, as someone who works closely with many of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, I can assure you that your sense of anticipation is shared by many.

    The comments made by others about featuring the whole range of Olympic Sport belies the work done by this website but does highlight the slightly bewildering attitude of the public to their four yearly heroes.

    With the continual struggles to raise money from the private sector, please may I suggest that in a spirit of mutual interest, ie big ratings if we have a successful team, you could do no worse than have a look at what the athletes are doing themselves about this?

    This ranges from a free to join Supporters Club to businesses rewarding their staff and supporting the athletes.


  • Comment number 7.

    In the Olympic front, are the BBC covering the World Swimming Champs at the end of the month?

    And good to see you haven't abandoned us Roger, even if the rest of the sport editors have. That blog is much missed (where were we supposed to moan during Wimbledon about the scheduling changes!), and the sports blogs are now far too sub-divided to be able to follow. There needs to be a page with all the latest posts from across the sports blogs so it's easier to follow.

    And a shame the (un)official line about the demise of the sport editors blog is that it's covered in News Editors (when it clearly isn't!). We know there's been a change in the sport department with your new role - so if they don't want to continue blogging, they should at least have the decency to be honest about it.

  • Comment number 8.

    BillyPitcher in #6: yep, very good points. It is, of course, tougher in a recession for the private sector to offer sponsorship; but I hope we'll take a proper look at the issues you mention in our reporting.

    Brekkie in #7: swimming details are here -
    - and I know my colleagues in BBC Sport are reading the comments about blogs in general.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Roger- I have asked elsewhere but never received a satisfactory answer, perhaps you can clarify why the Northern Irish athletes are effectively being snubbed by calling the Olympic team "Team GB" and not "Team UK" They are happy to compete so shold be properly recognised as part of the team


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