BBC BLOGS - Roger Mosey
« Previous | Main | Next »

Torch relay comes to town

Post categories:

Roger Mosey | 10:23 UK time, Thursday, 11 March 2010

In the latest of our occasional series of contributions from other members of the 2012 team, my colleague Amanda Farnsworth - who's the overall project executive for the BBC - reports on a journey this week to my home patch in Yorkshire...

As a little girl I used to love it when the circus came to town - the greasepaint, the excitement, the spectacle.

Well, there was no greasepaint on Tuesday but plenty of excitement as LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) brought their UK Torch Relay tour to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club ground at Headingley to tell people from Yorkshire and Humberside about plans for the Torch in 2012.

Although there will be over nine million tickets on sale for the Games, not everyone, of course, will want to, or be able to, come to London to experience an event first hand.

But through the Torch Relay - the Olympics will come to you.

LOCOG have publicly promised that the route of the Torch will be within one hour of 95% of the UK population. There will have to be some mighty big computer whirring away in Canary Wharf in the coming months trying to map that path out but Tuesday was all about human input.

At the BBC, we've been looking at the Vancouver Torch Relay for clues about how it might work in the UK. Each day began with some sort of photo-opportunity, and the Torch stopped at lunchtime for an event before finishing the day with an evening show.

Lord Coe takes part in the Vancouver torch relay
Lord Coe takes part in the Vancouver torch relay

It lasted 106 days, visited over 1,000 communities - some of them both tiny and remote - and was carried by over 12,000 torch bearers and in Halifax, 40,000 of the 60,000 population turned out to see the Torch. Members of our team who experienced the final days of the relay were all struck by how excited people were.

An audience of local councils, development agencies, members of the tourism industry and regional BBC staff were fascinated as LOCOG unveiled the very initial shape of their own plans. There was genuine enthusiasm and much discussion about what kind of story the region would like to tell about itself to those who might be watching the coverage on TV, radio and online.

LOCOG has been taking its Torch road show all over the country. They've been to every nation and region, listening to local people about their ideas, answering their questions.

It will be many months before the route is nailed down but I rather think the day the Torch came to their town will turn out to be one of those moments hundreds of thousands of people across the UK never forget.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is it definitely confirmed that the Torch relay will just be in Britain? I seem to recall after the Beijing debacle that it wasn't going to go to other countries.

    Hope this is true - it would be much better if instead it could visit more towns across the UK.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes. It starts in Greece, of course, but otherwise there's no international dimension this time and its travels are around the UK.

  • Comment number 3.

    With no international element I hope it isn't dragged out too long as the longer it goes on, the less effective it is IMO. Ridiculous for example the Commonwealth Games Baton for Delhi has already been travelling for a year, and won't be required in Delhi till October.

    Also with the Paralympics will the torch be ignited in the UK as it was in Canada at the beginning of the Vancouver relay. If so, I wonder where they would light it - if they go for British history, Stonehenge would make a lot of sense, but if they go for sporting history, either Stoke Mandeville or Much Wenlock could be contenders.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am very disappointed at not seeing coverage on the BBC of the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver. This is a major international sporting event and I think that the Paralympins should be receiving the coverage they deserve. Alan Hale

  • Comment number 5.

    @brekkie - The Paralympic flame at Stoke Mandeville - surely that's where it'll be lit, the birthplace of the paralympics, it makes so much sense.

  • Comment number 6.

    The Olympic flame relay on the opening day should start from the Palase and hed east along Fleet street. the through Aldgate and proceed along Barking road to enter the Hammers ground with high profile football legends showing the full house the torch and then have the midday break in front of the Bobby Moore statue outside the ground or in front of the Bobby Moore stand.
    From there it wuold be able to head north and circle the Olympic Stadium through as many streets as possible ending at the time to go Straight into the opening ceremony. Fantastic.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't know how feasible it is considering the location but I know after the Melbourne Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in which the baton was carried along floating platforms in the middle of the river there was talk of London looking to do something similar with the River Thames, then the River Lee as it approaches the stadium.

    In truth though we don't usually see the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremony until it approaches the stadium itself. Would be nice to see it tracked a bit more during the ceremony itself - and if not in the main broadcast itself, certainly be worth carrying a second stream on the interactive service.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks all for the latest comments. Some nice ideas - and I can't imagine we won't be tracking the flame every inch of the way.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.