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Next stop London

Roger Mosey | 11:12 UK time, Monday, 25 August 2008

I'm writing this on a grey Monday morning in London and there's nothing live from China on TV. No, not even the bronze medal match in the Taekwondo.

But on the radio Victoria Derbyshire's talking about whether London 2012 can live up to the Olympic ideals - and even though we've left behind the stunning spectacle of Beijing, we know for certain that the Olympics will be one of the biggest themes in British life for the next four years and beyond.

The final day's audience figures are in, and they confirm the nation was hooked.


Up until last Thursday night, a total of 40 million people in the UK had watched at least 15 minutes of the Games on television. That number, which we'll update tomorrow, will certainly have risen further over the weekend.

Yesterday we had the biggest peak audience for the live broadcasts with 6.8m (or 47% of the viewing audience) for the segment of the closing ceremony featuring David Beckham, Leona Lewis, Jimmy Page and the London bus.

We're enormously grateful for all the comments and questions we've received from viewers, listeners and online users.

I've said before that experience confirms the line that you can never please all the people all the time, but these Games have had the most positive response of any major event during my time in BBC Sport - and I particularly liked comment 85 in my previous blog, which summed things up perfectly.

One interesting issue, though, is how much the BBC should be a cheerleader for British sportsmen and women - and how we balance patriotism with objectivity. We had a number of comments saying we'd given too much coverage to the Brits and not enough to brilliant performances from other competitors from around the world.

I've no doubt that we should celebrate British sporting success on the biggest of all international stages.

These Games were unusual precisely because they had so much achievement by Team GB - so if you compare our one solitary Gold medal in Atlanta with the fantastic 19 in Beijing, then inevitably more of our airtime is going to be taken up by UK competitors.

For all that, I don't believe we underplayed the successes of other nations. Indeed, some people thought we devoted too much attention to Michael Phelps; and it would be hard to argue we didn't give due credit to Usain Bolt or other phenomena like the Chinese gymnasts.

The challenge will, of course, be greater as we head towards London 2012.

The BBC will be the UK broadcaster of the Games of 2012, and for an event supported by millions of people across the country, by every mainstream British political party and by the international community we want the London Olympics to be a brilliant success.

We want to support our competitors as they work day-in and day-out for their sport. It will, quite simply, be the biggest logistical operation - and the largest scale event - that the BBC has ever undertaken.

But we will also continue to report honestly and vigorously on the controversies: the budget debate, the question of legacy, the many different views on what these Olympics mean and how they should be run.

We pulled no punches on China, as our Panorama programmes before the Games [Hilary Andersson on Darfur and John Sweeney on reporting freedom] and our more general news and sport reporting have shown.

We therefore have a task that's both tough and incredibly exciting. As the British Broadcasting Corporation, the next Olympiad sees the Games coming to our country as one of the defining moments of the 21st century for Britain.

As the BBC, we have to live up to all our values of objectivity and fairness - including representing every shade of opinion across the UK. That job begins in earnest today.


  • Comment number 1.

    I like the sound of support that is coming in for the British Olympic Squad. But what a lot of criticism was offered before they produced these fantastic results. What I would like to see is the media putting efforts in giving creative criticism to the UK Olympics, and not constantly belittling those who are doing the utmost to make it all happen. Support your Nation!

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations to Team GB for a superb performance, - Well Done.
    With the team members on their way home I suppose it will only be a matter of hours before our worthy MP's will be stampeding towards the cameras to grab a share of the publicity.responsibility,glory etc,etc.

  • Comment number 3.

    Fantastic coverage. Live, recaps/reruns, 6-channels via red button, and the all-important Live Action pages on the BBC Web - well done to Ollie and Caroline for their erudite yet witty updates. They gave me something to look forward to on the TV each evening. Your operations, planning and logistics must have been formidable to have put on such a well-oiled schedule, and with front-people like Adrian Chiles, Sue Barker and Hazel Irvine you could do nothing but succeed. Rob Walker deserves a medal for his zeal in reporting on the sailing. But who is this Lydney fellow? Acts too much as the arrogant heir apparent.

  • Comment number 4.

    'I'm writing this on a grey Monday morning in London and there's nothing nothing live from China on TV. No, not even the bronze medal match in the Taekwondo.'

    Have all you journos gotten so carried away with the 'handover' that you have forgotten that there will be plenty of live TV from China over the next few weeks - its called the PARALYMPICS!!!!!!! The Beijing experience ain't over yet so please come back down to planet earth.

  • Comment number 5.

    I must say I was a little bit furstrated with the BBC coverage because of the airtime given to Team GB. Having said that, I understand your point an the fact that the British Team achieved an "unusual" number of successes.
    As a Frenchman living in the UK, I will always be a little bit biaised!

    I can only congratulate you on the quality of the BBC Sport website multiple live streams, which I believe more or less matched the "Red Button choice" on TV. This was great, and the recent improvement to your Player makes a huge difference.

    I guess it is virtually impossible to remain perfectly impartial as a TV broadcaster.

    Best example is Europsort: I found myself watching the daily summary on your competitors channel because they covered a lot more about french athletes. But what a surprise: the Eurosport HQ is, I believe, in Paris!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 6.

    A tremendous success by competitors and BBC. I have seen numerous Olympics and this was the best presentation by the BBC that I can remember.
    Looking forward, I would look for 2 improvements - by BBC and the 2012 committee. Both are based upon the effective use of people strengths and experience - events of this nature are not suited to testing out individuals to see if they come up to scratch - they have to be proven professionals.
    a) Adrian Whiles is a great chap, pleasant and an easy communicator BUT he does not know enough to be an expert link man in the studio. He projects himself as the slightly bemused amateur - not what is needed in this role. ( I suppose Boris Johnson adopts the same approach but there is always the impression of a smokescreen)
    b)The publicity team used by London 2012 committee to present the 8 minute introduction for London came over as untested youngsters doing their best and experimenting with a "fresh" approach. Again it is an unnecessary risk - it did not work and the organisers should use the very best in their field. The presentation made me feel embarrassed - not what is needed.

  • Comment number 7.

    "As the BBC, we have to live up to all our values of objectivity and fairness" Values? I think you means laws. You know those laws in place because you are publicly-funded?

    "For all that, I don't believe we underplayed the successes of other nations. Indeed, some people thought we devoted too much attention to Michael Phelps; and it would be hard to argue we didn't give due credit to Usain Bolt or other phenomena like the Chinese gymnasts." What an extra-ordinary misrepresentation of the BBC's coverage. I was one of those who switched on for 15 minutes and then switched off because your commentators were banging on about the British competitors and ignoring the event taking place, or else ignoring sports where no British competitors were present. The BBC didn't cover the Olympic games, you covered the British participation in the Olympic games.

    "One interesting issue, though, is how much the BBC should be a cheerleader for British sportsmen and women - and how we balance patriotism with objectivity. " Patriotism??? You are a broadcaster, not a government. Just cover the sport! It's not an "interesting" issue, it is clear cut: You have received public money to cover a sport, not to create some dumb false "patrotism". What part of that do you not understand?

  • Comment number 8.

    hey, you know what, I was actually humiliated by brits' performance in the closing ceremony. What that represents to me was just
    1, bicycle is even faster than buses in Britain.
    2, in london, teenagers in charge
    3, people need to bring umbrella everwhere they go
    4, rock n roll is major in uk pop culture
    5, ppl can play ftball everywhere in uk.

    Was that what it meant to be representing???

  • Comment number 9.

    Objectivity doesn't apply only to countries. Unfortunately several of the commentators were so biased towards the big names of British athletics that it was embarrassing. Examples of this include the Womens Marathon - 6th placed Mara Yamauchi was practically ignored as the commentary team went on and on about how well Paula had done.

    In many other examples the mere fact that a British competitor was there at all was lauded, and the fact that there were several who admittted to being tired, ill, not ready for their event was never highlighted in the way it should have been.

    I hate to say it, but put bluntly - the BBC's job is to show and report upon the sport in an unbiased manner. Your job is not to build up the Games for the next 4 years.

  • Comment number 10.

    After the great success of this Olympics how about the Government banning the sale of school playing fields, making sure local swimming pools and sports centres stay open and not just looking after the "sexy" stars where all the good PR is!

  • Comment number 11.

    I thought the BBC Olympics coverage was FANTASTIC--I just had to be home for the round up each evening with Gabby--despite watching much of the coverage online during the day. The commentaries were BRILLIANT, Hugh Porter, Andy Jameson, Gary Herbert were OUTSTANDING and Hazel Irvine and Adrian Childs as an anchors in the mornings were compulsive viewing. I look forward to the BBC continuing to raise their sports coverage profile over the coming years--your viewing figures demonstrate how important sport is in raising the country's morale

  • Comment number 12.

    #8 LondonJacqueline

    May I add this to your list...

    And we had the only man who had his jacket unbuttoned.

    I am sorry, but Boris Johnson either needs taken to one side and given a good talking to by his tailor in lessons of how to do up a jacket - or if he could not do it up then to get clothes that fit him!

    (signed: disgruntled of Savile Row!)

  • Comment number 13.

    Overall the BBC's coverage of the Olympics was simply outstanding. The red button and online coverage add a dimension we could never have imagined 5-10 years ago.

    One slight niggle was the coverage of the closing ceremony - the sound balance on the 8 minute London segment was appalling, and far worse than the coverage carried by many overseas broadcasters. You'd have hoped the BBC would get this right.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great coverage from the BBC, I cannot fault it, but is there any chance of a DVD of these Olympics?
    Afterall it would be fabolous to see these games and relieve the memories from what was our best ever Olympic performence on foreign soil.

  • Comment number 15.

    Every national television broadcaster gives greater focus to home competitors.

    I have just spent the last week working in Canada and did not get to see anything of the British competitors during the second week. If Canada did not take part in the sport, they didn't seem cover the event at all. I had to use the BBC website to find out how Team GB were getting on.

    The BBC does seem to show a large number of events. During the first week I watched a large number of events that I did not feature GB competitors, so though there was naturally a desire to big up our cometititors, the BBC did show more than the CBC in Canada

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree that there have been occasions where the BBC has over-egged the GB competitors, especially in the evening summary shows. There was one broadcast when over a third of the hour-long broadcast was dedicated to gushing over "wonderboy" Tom Daley. This was followed by a cursory minute-long montage of the magnificent Chinese gymnasts. That's taking "patriotism" a little too far.

    On another note, I hope that the people in charge of British Olympic sport ditch the hideously pretentious "Team GB" moniker between now and 2012, and instead go with "Great Britain".

  • Comment number 17.

    Hmmm, I have finally heard something upbeat from a British.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    In response to comments such as number 7 above, I can honestly say that in my experience the BBC covers the Olympics more objectively, while giving more air time to competitors from other nations, than any other broadcaster in the world.
    Try going to America and watching the Olympics. I was there for a couple of days and all you'll see is athletics, swimming, beach volleyball, baseball, basketball and pretty much nothing else. And even in those sports, all you will see (and all the commentators/presenters will ever talk about) is the American and Chinese competitors - since in the States the propaganda angle of beating the Chinese in the medal table was the main priority (something they failed to do - unless you somehow decide that a bronze carries equal weighting to a gold!) You will not see any other sports or any other country's athletes covered.
    People in the UK should be grateful for the unparalleled and richly varied coverage the BBC provides, and not take it for granted.
    As Joni Mitchell said, you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

  • Comment number 20.

    1. I know this isn't your area but can I say that BBC News's coverage of 'Olympic Heroes Return' was one of the worst outside broadcasts I have ever seen. They were interviewing someone's sister at home whilst the athletes were getting off the plane. Shambles.

    2. With regards to your blog, I agree with pretty much everything you have to say.

    3. Will you have to "purchase" new channels on freeview to be able to show more live streams, or do you think people will have freesat instead of freeview by 2012?

    4. If you are going to be the host broadcaster, I assume you'll have to get a load of new cameramen in? That'll be some effort.

    5. This isn't relevant to your blog exactly but will Steve Rider be returning to the BBC next year? He is still the best male lead sports presenter. I noticed how few male anchors there were in comparison to previous years. Only Adrian Chiles, Rishi Persad and Jake Humphrey. John Inverdale was out doing radio and rowing.

  • Comment number 21.

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  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

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  • Comment number 24.

    I think the BBC has done a tremendous job in covering the games. The red button has provided a huge variety and those who have written 'only the British were covered' obviously didn't use it!!! The blogs have been fantastic, some serious some tongue in cheek, some mischievous, some thought provoking. No I haven't agreed with all but I have readwith interest the comments afterwards.

    One observation though is some bloggers really do have a problem with being British and so nothing but denigrate everything. There seems to be evry little positive in what they write.

    If this country is so poor and the TV coverage so bad, do everyone else a favour and go and live elsewhere, Britain would be better off without you!! Others have done Britain proud with comments again, the debate has been fascinating, shame some comments showed our country up!! Can't wait for 2012, bring it on, Britain will do the Olympics proud!!

  • Comment number 25.

    No problems with the BBC giving so much coverage of the British team, it is what I pay my TV license for. So I don't agree with some of the posters wanting impartiality as every other country does the same with its athletes. Stop being embarrassed to celebrate our success.

  • Comment number 26.

    Are the BBC covering the Paralympics from Beijing?
    Also for 2012's coverage, can you be nice and revive the Grandstand tune as the tune, please No monkey in 4 years time!

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    on the whole BBC coverage was alright - online coverage was very good. TV coverage was good except it was disappointing that the Olympics highlights programme was shown only at 7pm on BBC ONE and not later at night so that people can watch after work. also, i can understand the GB focus of the coverage, but i think this is only justified when the GB athletes are doing well or where there is a special interest story. there was undue (and overly optimistic) coverage of GB athletes who gave very average performances especially when the winners in those competitions got a disproportionately small amount of coverage. e.g. Tom Daley, Paula Radcliffe. if you'd shown more of the winning athletes the British public would be able to see how high the standard is outside GB and how far behind Tom Daley or Louis Smith are.

    also, i was very unimpressed by the clip of mens 4x100m relay heat on the BBC website- the USA slip-up from multiple angles and slow motion, but the GB slip-up only once at normal speed? i'm not a fan of the US athletes, and the US coverage of the Olympics was unbelievably biased, but i would have expected the BBC to do better than the American press.

  • Comment number 29.

    Is the BBC going to make a commitment to start showing the Olympic sports more regularly before London 2012. Even a monthly magazine programme would be better than nothing.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great coverage - congratulations to all involved. I do hope though that Steve Rider will be back with the beeb by 2012 as the presenting team did seem a bit lightweight this year without him. Surely with Formula 1 returning to the BBC next year there is an opportunity to bring him back(?)

  • Comment number 31.

    I've followed the games at different stages via the TV, Radio Five Live and this website - all excellent; thank you BBC.
    Three comments:

    1. I trust that there is an official BBC review DVD in the pipeline to maintain the memories, brighten dark winter nights, keep up the anticipation for London 2012 and inspire the next Olympians. Make sure there is plenty of real time coverage.

    2. An idea for London 2012 and a way of making the games really 'British.' Why not make the two marathons mass participation events - the elite at the front but then say 10000 of the general public behind. What an unforgettable experience to run into a packed Olympic stadium. You could set a time limit to avoid scheduling disruption. How about 2500 places to highest bidders, 2500 places allocated to charity runners, 2500 in a lucky draw and 2500 via application with the best stories. Repeat this for men and women. It would be very different and very British!
    (And as creator of the idea - I would be willing to have one of the places!)

    3. The games have been a wonderful reminder of all that is good in sport. Two weeks of seeing committed athletes striving to do their best, striving to win but with grace and humility, friendship, fun and wonder.
    I love our national sport of football but many (not all) of the players need to learn a lot from the attitude and attainment of our Olympians.
    We have had amazing success. Peaking at the right time and being the best in the world - another thing our footballers can only look at with envy.
    I just trust that this is now reflected in the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year. There are usually ten candidates.
    Padraig Harrington should be in there and I suspect Lewis Hamilton will also make it - any motor racing driver who wins a couple of races usually is and he is an exciting talent. But let's fill up the other places with Olympians:
    Hoy - 3 Golds, first Britain to do this for 100 years
    Cooke - set the tone for team GB and it was an amazing finish
    Romero - Gold, just 4 years after a silver in a totally different sport. What has she got planned for London?
    Addlington - no British female swimmer has won a gold for over 40 years, no British swimmer has ever won 2.
    Ainslie - bracketed in the same class as Phelps and Bolt by people in the know more than me - longevity and as dominant and respected in his sport as Woods is in the golfing fraternity
    Brabants - a first gold for Britain in his event, and a bronze - and he finds time to be a doctor too
    Ohurougu - an amazing race and an amazing story in our only track gold.

    Which leaves one more space.
    Andy Murray could win the US Open and make a claim and Kevin Pieterson may deserve a mention but there are still many other Olympians who could make a claim. I would go for Wiggins who would be a huge star if it wasn't for Chris Hoy - and he still got two golds including an amazing world record.

    As for overseas, it must be Phelps, Bolt or possibly Nadal.

    And team - please be one of our Olympic teams (rowing, cycling, the three blonds in a boat) rather than Man United - over-reliant on a want away Portugese winger and with wages that are reward enough!

    Roll on London!


  • Comment number 32.

    I quite like BBC iplay and have recommended it to my friends. It gives us the chance to catch up with games that've been missed.

    However, some of your commentators are a bit annoying sometimes. They are commentators, not judges! They should show their respect to the judges, who are doing a very difficult job. Sometimes the commentators gave me the feeling that they feel they are more superb than the judges. If they do have serious issue with the results, they should make complaint in person, not mislead the audience, not damage the reputatino of the judges.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is not a complaint, but I was just curious as to why when you were broadcasting from inside the Bird's Nest, you seemed to only have one camera and so had to move it whenever Michael Johnson or Colin Jackson were talking. However at the closing ceremony, there were seemless transitions from directly to Sue Barker, to Michael Johnson without the need to physically move it to each person. Personally I prefered it when you used only camera because it was refreshing to see television not being done in such of a slick, polished fashion that we are used to. It's a fairly borish question, but it would be interesting to know all the same.

  • Comment number 34.

    The BBC's coverage of the Olympic Games was 1st Class. If there was a medal for the best Olympic coverage, I would bestow the BBC a Platinum medal - which means it was better than Gold. I was able to experience Olympic coverage in Oman, Ireland and Blighty during the 16 days and can honestly say that there is no comparison. The Interactivity was absolutely fantastic. Even when work got in the way, I was able to catch up and watch not only our own Olympians performing, but other nations.
    First time in a very long time, i felt i was getting the value licence fee.
    And I'm so pleased that when Team GB Olympians were out there doing the nation proud, the BBC were there to capture every moment.
    I can't wait for 8:12pm on the 27th July 2012. I'm already suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
    I hope one or twoof the less used digital channels will run replays of 2008 Olympics for the next 4 years.

    Well Done

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    I am a British ex-pat living in the US. BBC Sport coverage of the Olympics was very complete and superior to the US sites.

    I hope London will do a good job organizing and running the 2012 games.

    However I thought the Bejing handover to the Mayor of London was disappointing. I hope they can be more creative showing British excellentce in entertainment or culture. Also the Mayor of London needs a new tailor. He looked like he had just left the pub for the event. Again all in comparison to the other celebrity people on the stand (China Mayor and IOC President

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.


    I've asked this question (without reply) on a different blog. Why was John Inverdale so under-utilised during the Olympics coverage? Live continuity between rowing races is hardly maximising the talents of the best sports presenter on any network. I know he does radio 5 live (brilliantly) - but everyone knows the high profile 'A-list' presenters are on the telly. Sue Barker, Gabby Logan, Claire Balding,Hazel Irvine are all able anchors but truth is, they can't hold a candle to Inverdale. Could it be he is the wrong gender?

  • Comment number 39.

    Thanks for all the comments. A few back from me...

    To Getinthebath in #4 and WebbyFoxes in #26: yes, we're looking forward to covering the Paralympics. Live coverage from Beijing begins on Saturday September 6th, and there'll be nightly highlights programmes.

    Levdavidovich in #7: I agree with finleyboy55 in #19 and other good points made by people like eileenm74 in #15.

    Batdude_uk123 in #14 and Ezza2012 in #31: unfortunately we don't have the rights to issue a DVD. But if you missed it, I recommend our review of the Games which ran at 12ish on Sunday - and is repeated at 1pm this coming Saturday ahead of the Rugby League Cup Final.

    Redtimbo in #20: we're not actually host-broadcasters for 2012. That role, as in Beijing, will be carried out by an IOC-sponsored organisation --- probably called London Olympic Broadcasting. It commissions coverage from world broadcasters - so, for instance, in Beijing it was the BBC providing the rowing coverage for global audiences. We will then supplement that with our own teams and supporting programming.

    As for Freeview - the answer there may be more services which combine broadband with Freeview, like BT Vision.

    Ezza2012 in #31: the shortlist for Sports Personality will, as in the last couple of years, be drawn up by the nations' sports editors. At least this year we can assume nobody's going to complain about the lack of potential great winners!

    Russcoppack in #38 and others: I'm a big fan of John Inverdale --- I've known him for 28 years when we were both working in Lincolnshire --- and he did a great job on both the TV rowing and the anchoring on Radio 5 Live.

    As a general point, I'm proud of our team of presenters - and for London 2012 we'll need even more on the front line because we'll be doing even more coverage. But where possible I'd like to nurture home-grown talent - as with Jake Humphrey who came through the CBBC ranks, or John and Clare who started in BBC radio. 2012 will be a showcase of the best of the whole BBC.

    Many thanks for all the kind comments, too. Much appreciated.

  • Comment number 40.

    roger, bbc coverage was outstanding during the games. great internet service and red button options complimented the live presentation very well. 10/10.

  • Comment number 41.

    Pleased to learn the BBC is planning for 2012 and hope concentration on Sport and not celebrity will be the theme.

    Most interested people from TeamGBLand will be relying on the BBC as presumably event tickets for ordinary people (once the media, celebrities, 'names', corporates and sponsors etc have mopped up a hefty chunk of space) will, presumably, be pretty scarce.

  • Comment number 42.

    Brilliant coverage! I loved every minute of the Olympics. From my perspective the coverage was completley biased towards Britain but there again I watched live streams of sport I wanted to watch, there was probably lots of non british sport that I just ignored.

    How on earth did we cope without the red button? Or the live coverage online??

    I do laugh at people bemoaning the term 'Team GB'. I much prefer Team GB with their 19 golds than the old Great Britain (anyone remember 1996??).

    Finally, well done to the presenting team. An earlier post pointed out that practically all the anchors were women. I must be honest and say that I hadn't noticed throughout the whole 16 days, such was their professionalism and talent.

    Finally, calls for steve Rider to return are preposterous. If he was presenting F1 in my back garden I'd close the curtains, (and I like F1!!). Bring back Alan Partridge before him.

  • Comment number 43.

    There was an empty feeling when I got up yesterday when there was no Hazel presenting Roman-Greco wrestling, but instead Celebrity Bargain Hunt in Attic Under the Hammer on.

    I didn't enjoy the opening credits, (perhaps it was supposed to be aimed to a younger audience, but I'm 21). I know it's become rather cliche to throw in a bit of classical music with a montage playing in the background, but I certainly feel I would have preferred it over what we had. Saying that I enjoyed the "final" closing credits we had over the weekend.

    I did feel that the main presenter lacked that main figurehead that Ryder or Lynham used to have. Perhaps this is because of Grandstand, we don't have somebody presenting sport from a studio every Saturday.

    However, of the presenters that were they, I can have no complaints about any of them. I liked Chiles' irrelevance, which I'm sure annoys some others, but you can't please everyone.

    However, the simple studio was much better than that monstrosities that we had in both Sydney 2000 and Nagano 1998.

    I've got two questions really.

    Are we likely to get 24 hour coverage on BBC1 on London 2012?
    How much will BBC get in choosing the scheduling or do NBC still have a great deal of power? To appease those on the Western Seaboard of the States, will we have finals occuring at 2am in the morning?

  • Comment number 44.

    A quick update. I promised the 'final' audience figures, and they were:

    15' reach (people watching the Beijing Olympics on TV for at least 15 minutes) was 41.7 million, or 73% of the UK population.

    The other measure used in the industry is 3' reach (people who caught at least 3 minutes of the coverage) and that gives a UK viewing total of 46.7 million - which is 82% of the population.

    On our website we broke all records with 8.5 million unique users in the UK alone - and millions more worldwide - in the week ending August 23rd.

  • Comment number 45.

    Firstly, well done GB

    Secondly, well done BBC

    I dont quite understand the critisism made about the amount of coverage given to GB team - it's a very simple concept and I shall attempt to explain in simple terms for those of you that are clearly struggling to grasp it.

    If you have been watching the BRITISH broadcasting corporation (BBC) coverage then expect most of the content to be the BRITISH team.

    Quite frankly (and this directed to my Polish flatmate and her endless complaints RE the BBC coverage) if you want to see for example Poland win the mens shotput then you know where to go - POLAND. I'm sure that event would have been repeated all day and night for you to see over there.

    If you dont like it then thats just tough luck -i'm british and proud of our team and quite frankly dont care about watching any other team unless say for example it was something truely special ie Phelps, Bolt, new world records etc...

  • Comment number 46.


    I'd previously liked John Inverdale, but he was responsible for the most embarrassing moment of the games, when a Norwegian rower who'd just won gold came to hug and thank Steve Redgrave for some help he'd given him.

    JI said something along the lines of "you've just won your second gold medal - Steve's got five." Cringe!

    Other than that, the coverage was excellent, lots of badminton on the red button, and like the good, the bad and the ugly section at the end of the day's highlights.

  • Comment number 47.

    Roger i thought your coverage was very good and that it is good that that the bbc can bring us coverage like this.

    I do have a question though on something else. You said in a previous Blog that you would have some news in a few days about cricket on the bbc this was about 2 weeks ago. But there does not appear to have been any. Is there any more news on this

  • Comment number 48.

    I watched the first couple of days in Australia, and I can vouch for rhe fact that the Beeb's performance was exceptional in comparison with their Channel 7.

    Someone has just mentioned the opening credits: to me, they were the one part of the Beeb's operation which really grated with me - partly because I had just seen the vastly more imaginative and sensitive animation in DreamWork's Kung Fu Panda (I know that sounds crass, but, in comparison, the Beeb's opening credits came over as condescending and culturally tone-deaf).

    Agree with the comment about the disgraceful overlooking of Mara Yamauchi's performance as the commentators went overboard on the Paula R soap opera.

  • Comment number 49.

    I watched the Beeb in Brussels, but also watched some French coverage. The French highlights show around the same time every evening as the Beebs was infinitely superior. It did not use a studio format but was a continuous stream of sports from the Games with over commentary and good music. It was inventive and much better than the Beebs highlight show which was far too heavy on the studio and commentary of the guests. It was a really dumb thing to have a format in which almost a third of the highlight show was the interior of the Ling Long. Don't slap yourselves too heavily on the back.

  • Comment number 50.

    # 31

    That last sports personality place should be given to Mark Cavendish. 4 stage victories in the Tour de France this year, the most ever by a Britain in a single tour. Speaks for itself...

    Also great coverage, BBC that's why I pay the £x for a liscense!

  • Comment number 51.

    Why are all the female Beeb sports presenters blonde? Sue Barker, Shirley Robertson, Hazel Irvine, Jill Douglas, Gabby Yorath and Clare Balding - far too many to be a mere statistical coincidence. Obviously, that's the look that's required and any aspirant non-blonde had better start hitting the bottle...

  • Comment number 52.

    One of the highlights of the coverage for me this year has been the web content and video available.

    I really hope this continues and is expanded for 2012 as it really makes the BBC stand out as a world leader. Making use of the Red Button has also been fantastic, licence fee well spent.

    As a young person who values online and interactive media hightly I think It's so important and the BBC lead in this way. Well done.

  • Comment number 53.

    Some people seem to be missing the point in regards to biased sport overage. I think there is a fine line and it's an important issue but the BBC IS A BRITISH BROADCASTER. As such, in the British public's interest that there will ofc ourse be more focus on Team GB.

    Perhaps this we too much at certain times but, although I think it's great when non-brits watch BBC coverage, they are not in a position to question GB loyalty. I wouldn't expect Channel 7 not to have a leaning toward the Australian team. The BBC is our national broadcaster.

  • Comment number 54.

    There have been good comments, here and elsewhere, about the need to keep the profile of "minority" sports high between now and 2012.

    The BBC Sports team may, therefore, want to review the main links on the Sports Homepage.

    On the main page, 7 of the 12 sports are not Olympic sports: cricket, rubby union, rugby league, golf, motorsport, snooker, horse racing

    Even in Other Sports, 6 of 7 are not Olympic sports: American football, baseball (now discontinued), bowls, darts, netball and squash.

    So of the 19 sports that feature prominently on the BBC sports pages, only 6 actually feature in the Olympics.

    I appreciate that there is huge interest in rugby, cricket etc, but with the BBC losing the rights to cover most of these on terrestrial, it's an opportune time to really promote other sports in a big way.

  • Comment number 55.

    This isn't a criticism of the country, the poor or anything like that but I find it amazing that 18% of the population didn't watch at least 3mins of the Olympics. Isn't it more difficult not to?

  • Comment number 56.

    What a load of rubbish. Of course the BBC is going to favour Team GB. After all, it is the British Broadcasting Corporation, paid for by the British people, representing the British people, supporting the British athletes.

    The IT Dept at my work blocked all iPlayer feeds the day before the Beijing Olympics started - I know!! I was very angry at first, but then I discovered the Live Text. It was great banter, especially filtering in some comments from the 606 forums. But IT forgot to block the radio feeds, so I could listen to 5live and the very un-P.C. but equally brilliant John Inverdale. There's something special about radio coverage that is in danger of being lost, and i hope the BBC keep a similar format for 2012. Of course I caught up with all the action on the iPlayer in the evenings - great all round coverage on several media formats. A tip of the hat to the BBC - good job.

    P.S. In America, TV channel NBC fudged the medal table figures so the USA finished top - if that's not biaised I don't know what is! And they didn't even show the 100meters final because they knew they weren't going to win it!

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    I do agree that at times the BBC coverage especially on Five Live was a little bit Britcentric and perhaps a bit too much track and field.

    Luckily I discovered a little publicized crown jewel of the BBC coverage on the BBC World Service. Every lunchtime they did a two hour show with a true global perspective on the games. They covered the British success but also human interest stories from elsewhere. Medals for Mongolia, a gold for India, Iceland in the Handball, a slip back for Australia, celebrations in Jamaica, african dominance of the middle distance.

    It was lucky I stumbled across this on my digital radio, never saw any publicity for it on the website or the blogs. If did feel quite good that I had found something the masses hadn't.

    This for me complimented an outstanding games for the BBC.

  • Comment number 59.

    I fail to see the problem with the British Broadcasting Corporation which broadcasts in Great Britain focussing it's coverage in British athletes. Anyway, enough has been said about Bolt and Phelps and others to mark it as an International event and there was plenty of anti-british comment from the likes of Brendan Foster complaining about the poor coaching in athletics.

    One more gripe though, Games Today. Gabby is used to presenting late night highlight packages and I am sure her and the rest of the team felt a little left out working the graveyard shift in China whilst their colleagues on the day shift were out every night. But it is a 7pm prime time show in Britain and as such must be treated as more than a quirky 'sideways' look at the games. The whole feel of the show was "I am really tired and don't need to tell you we won a gold some 18 hours ago so you only need to see the finish." NO NO NO NO NO! People tune into this show to see the events they have missed whilst at work, not see a horrendous photoshopped picture of someone as if they had landed on the moon. Not funny and entirely inappropriate. If Gabby does want to present more in the daylight hours, show some enthusiasm and the rest of the crew, don't try and be funny, people do watch in the early evening!

  • Comment number 60.

    I really enjoyed the sports coverage, but I didn't enjoy all the 'One Show' style comment around it. I know the current style is lots of build up and lots of analysis, but please think about those of us without the luxury of a red button (hopefully this won't be a problem in 2012).

    Highlights of the opening ceremony in the evening only counted for half the programme length which was bizarre considering the length of the ceremony itself.

    Why didn't you show more sport during the breakfast slot and in the evening? I work during office hours and relied on the highlights shows for coverage. There was an unbelievable amount of talk about Michael Phelps, to the point where I was sick of the sight of him. All this dramatically shortened the time available for sports coverage.

    It's a real shame as this was the opportunity you had to showcase sports that are usually sidelined by football. Most olympic sports could do with a televisual boost - how are we to interest the next generation of olympic medallists if they don't get exposure to the sports themselves?

    Apart from showing more sport, my top tip for 2012 would be to just let the sports presenters and commentators get on with it without the over-exposed Adrian Chiles. You have a great deal of talent at your disposal, just remember - the sport's the star.

  • Comment number 61.

    I've said before the Olympics is the BBC at it's best - and it really was this year. My only real complaints are too much Athletics and not enough John Inverdale, but really can't fault anything else.

    I would like to know though that the Olympic sports, especially those where Britain truly are world class, are going to get the coverage they deserve over the next four years and aren't put into hibernation while the bigger sports take over the airwaves.

    So can you give us details as you did in the build up to the games of what coverage the BBC will be providing of things like cycling, swimming and rowing over the next year or so - and also whether the BBC are considering picking up some other sports off the back of these games - the likes of Taekwondo.

    P.S. Off topic, but ridiculous the parade of heroes isn't until October - even Mansfield could organise something for today! I understand the idea of wanting to include the Paralympians, but even they finish a month before the parade date.

    Talking of which, will the Paralympics be anchored from London or Beijing?

    P.P.S. And who said there wasn't a place for multi-sports programmes on the BBC in this modern era!

  • Comment number 62.

    P.S. Having read through the comments now a couple of extra points.

    Firstly, Team of the Year. IIRC in the past it's been awarded to the Olympic team as a whole, but this year I think the cyclists deserve the recognition as they were truly outstanding and the only team within the team which completely dominated the games - and it was the cyclists who contributed so much to the medal tally.

    And in reply to Roger Mosey's responses in #39: I don't know if you can answer this but does John Inverdale simply have a preference for radio as it's the only logicial explanation I can think of for him not being the main male anchor for the games.

    As for "nurturing" the likes of Jake Humphrey - he certainly comes out of the games a better broadcaster than he went in, but I'm not sure he should have been "nurtured" in the prime afternoon slot, leaving the experienced hands of the likes of Claire Balding in the overnight slot.

    That's my only real issue with the coverage - it's not that he shouldn't have been involved, it's that he seemed to have one of the most flagship slots, the slot I'm sure Steve Rider would have fronted if he hadn't left for ITV. And I lost count of the number of times he referred to Lewis Smith as the Olympic Champion after he won a bronze medal in the gymnastics.

    Adrian Chiles was an inspired choice though - just a shame he knocked off at 9am most days. In many ways it was just as important to have a relative novice to the sports of the Olympics as it was to have an expert, and that's why his partnership with Hazel Irvine worked so well.

  • Comment number 63.

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

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Rob Walker should be knighted for his services to sailing, he has the power to brighten up the dampest of sailing days, living legend!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Overall the BBC coverage of the Olympics was excellent. In terms of bias it didn't get close to what can been seen on foreign broadcasts or on ITV during Grand Prix weekends.

    I would like to say that I have always been a fan of Sue Barker, but while she was working the same shift as Jake Humphrey, she did come across as being a little out of date. The contrast between the two was like night and day. I'm not suggesting that Sue did a bad job or that the BBC dump her. I just think that she was far more suited to the relaxed environment in the studio in the linglong tower and that Jake or John Inverdale would have seemed far more at home in the cut and thrust of the 'Bird's Nest'. On the subject of presenters, I have heard repeated rumors that Martin Brundle may soon be about to join the BBC sport team as a presenter. If true I (and I bet many others) hope that his skills are fully utilized in 2012!

    The only thing that did upset me about the BBC's coverage was not bias towards Britain but bias towards certain Athletes. I could not believe how some of our top-notch boxing performances for instance were not shown live for the sake of showing failures such as Kelly Sutherton, Andy Baddeley, Paula Radcliffe and Tom Daley. I was simply astonished to see your coverage jump straight from James Degale's victory to an interview with one of our failed relay teams. The medal ceremony wasn't even shown live and Degale's interview was screened sometime later. Is it really fair that James's response to winning a gold medal having had one of the most difficult fights in the games is seen as less important than the 4x400m relay teams thoughts on their botched run?

    In London, if you focus on the success stories rather than names or more mainstream sports. Minority sports will never grow if their successes are brushed away and covered over with the lauding of failures, just because their sport is more mainstream!

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    I have nothing but admiration for the extent of the BBC's coverage of the Olympics. The red button must have satisfied even the most avid devotees of individual sports.
    My one complaint relates to the amount of broadcast time that was taken up by talking heads. For example, during the athletics, there was far too much of Sue Barker, Michael Johnson and Colin Jackson. Wouldn't it have been better to show the actual athletics, even if British competitors weren't involved. In this respect, the BBC was second-best to Eurosport.

  • Comment number 68.

    Id like to further echo the comments of many on how fantastic the coverage was.

    People want to see British athletes when they can win, and the balance was met perfectly.

    For example i think Tom Daleys diving final was on the red button when there was anothe GB medal hope, while most people knew Tom wasnt going to win a medal.

    Unfortunately I missed out on the HD coverage due to not having the right stuff but Im assuming this was fantastic as well.

    Would like to hear some promises that there'll be more than one HD feed for 2012!

    Keep up the good job guys.

    P.S You were far better than British Eurosport!

  • Comment number 69.

    I would just like to add my congratulations to the BBC on theiir magnificent Olympics coverage.

    In particular Gaby Logan's Olympics Today programme was outstanding and John Inverdale anchoring Radio 5's coverage of the athletics stood out.

    Certainly John Inverdale is one of the best presenters around, but I do think he is better suited to the radio - I hope he continues to anchor the big sporting events such as the Olympics, and the Open Golf for many years to come.

  • Comment number 70.

    I (and others) have done my review of presenters over on Tom Fordyce's "roundup" blog :

    I'd agree with the thought that the coverage is a bit too much like MOTD - too much anodyne studio punditry, not enough action. Get the "experts" out in the commentator's booth and just show us the sport! I'll say it again - Dan Topolski is the best guy you've got - not only does he really know his stuff, but as a coach he's used to picking out technical points and communicating them. Truly terrific. You should use more coaches.

    The Aussie triathlete was very good too. Steve Parry showed a lot of promise, I just hope he's trained as a proper journalist rather than brought on as a performing seal to compensate for the dullness of some of the other presenters, he deserves better than that. Brendon Foster is well past his sell-by date. Perhaps Dean Macey could replace him - at least decathletes have actually done a lot of the events to a decent standard!

    I hadn't realised that the Beeb were "host broadcaster" at Shunyi - I've been going on and on about how the best techie bits were the wire cameras on the rowing and the boom cameras on the jellyfish-dodging, they really drew you into the action.
    Some other sports could do with similar innovations - synchro swimming is an obvious one that keeps the spectator at a distance. Perhaps an "eyeball camera" hanging from a rope above the pool, or the occasional use of a split screen to show above and below the water, the director is normally too scared to miss anything above water but it's underwater that shows you how hard those swimmers are working.

    I was wondering about ways to make target shooting more TV-friendly. Don't do it live, but perhaps a 4-way split screen with just the targets of the three favourites plus the Brit, and edit it so that there's a pellet hitting a target every half-second or so. Might work, might look really dumb, but it's an idea.....

    I thought more could have been made of that "dead time" waiting for 1.50am to turn round. Perhaps repeat the highlights show after Newsnight, and then use the next two hours to show some of the "other" stuff that's been going on - in full. Something like USA-China basketball game, or Brazil-Argentina football. (maybe they did make it onto terrestrial in full, but if they did, I missed them). Obviously the timezone will be different next time, but you might want to put some thought into making more of the "sport for sport's sake" available in the corners of the schedule.

    Another thing - how about some indulgent repeats in the depths of winter, when the 2012 hopefuls need some inspiration for their training? Say on a series of Sunday afternoons, show all the good bits of Team GB "as live". And if that means 2 hours of openwater swimming or triathlon, then great - those were some of the best events to watch and for British effort, but ran from 2-4am so most people won't have seen anything more than brief highlights.

    Overall, I'd say 8/10 for the BBC, with 9/10 for the web team.

  • Comment number 71.


    With reference to Brekkie's message.

    I am of the older generation and can honestly say I think you have found a real star in Jake Humphreys who I wasn't too aware of before the games.

    He is engaging, thoughtful, witty, and best of all gives his guests the time to speak.

    Well done for being brave enough to give youth a chance. As far as I and many of my friends and colleagues are concerned it more that paid off.

    With regards to LOUIS Smith, it was an extremely informative interview from what I remember.

    I also became a huge fan of the red button coverage...a fantastic offering.

    Well done on both the above points and for your coverage in general - I'm really missing it.

    Many thanks,


  • Comment number 72.

    "We want to support our competitors as they work day-in and day-out for their sport"

    Great job on the Games guys, but can we be assured that the BBC will live up to its self-proclaimed title as 'The Olympic Broadcaster' by profiling our Olympic and Paralympic athletes as they compete in the many major sporting events over the next four years?

    These Games have created new British stars right across the Olympic spectrum, but they desperately need the platform of TV coverage to profile their achievements more regularly than once every four years. Come on BBC - the TV rights to these Olympic sports are not expensive (especially compared to your F1 and football deals) and the public are now finally interested. Football will always dominate, and rightly so as our national sport, but through bold editorial decisions over the next four years you can leave a legacy from 2012 - one where the public are genuinely aware of (and knowledgeable about) Olympic sport. You never know how many of our 2016 Olympians will be inspired by the coverage you choose to show...

  • Comment number 73.

    The IOC website clarifies that from Vancouver 2010 on the permanent host broadcaster will be Olympic Broadcast Services-an IOC controlled entity based in Madrid. Their Vancouver operation is already up and running, but London has yet to start formally. Seoul 1988 appears to have been the last games where the domestic broadcaster took the lead. Under contract as Roger says the BBC covered the rowing this time, in the past it has covered tennis and equestrianism, and in Sydney track and field. I have no doubt the BBC will be hugely involved in 2012-they just won't be calling the shots.
    Anyway I am sure there are things all of us could argue about changing in the BBC's coverage. But hey I actually liked the monkey! Go figure...
    But the fact is in sport at least, the BBC is still a world leader. Long may that continue.

  • Comment number 74.

    Thanks for the most recent comments. All noted and appreciated.

  • Comment number 75.

    The coverage of this year's Olympics has been nothing short of outstanding. For the first time there was a real feeling of depth of coverage and something rather perculiar, a human quality bringing to life the athletes and the individual sports. This was delivered through a more relaxed and humorous style of presentation and the high quality live text blogs that appeared every day. It would be interesting to see whether some of the more promising aspects of the Olympic coverage will be developed further and implemented into other aspects of sports coverage within BBC Sport.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yes have to agree with the posts praising the coverage, it was first class.

    The red button service all night was particulary good. I loved the format to the highlights show and the commentary both on TV and Five Live outstanding.

    Sorry to ask a question unrelated to the olympics. But please could you tell me, does the deal which take Guinness Premiership highlights to ITV this week have any effect on the rights for the BBC to show highlights of the England home rugby union internationals outside of the Six Nations?

  • Comment number 77.

    Am I the only person who was left rather cold by the London's performance in the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games? I felt that the silly, mundane theatrical performance was uncomfortable to watch. It was quite insensitive to feature a bus split wide open which was reminiscent of the 7/7 attacks in Tavistock Square. Leona Lewis' performance was surprisingly good, but I felt that the whole London segment was two-dimensional and show London to have a stunted cultural and artistic growth instead of having a futuristic outlook. I'm aware that the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) wants to portray a youthful London to attract a younger audience, but I would like to stress that not every British taxpayer is young and so they should consider catering to all tastes - not every Londoner is interested in West End musicals, indie-rock music, remakes of classic British hits and D-list reality show winners. They should also seriously consider the embarrassing 2012 logo which at first sight resemble abstract people doing an obscene act. I'd be very ashamed if we as a developed nation couldn't at least match what a developing nation had done for the Olympics four years previously - since we're a developed nation, the rest of the world wouldn't see it as a financial issue, they would instead see it as a lack of taste and technical ability. The LOCOG should remember that we're hosting the world's greatest sporting event, not an Andrew Lloyd Webber production. I will be 25 in four years. I hope I get my money's worth and feel proud to be a Londoner after watching the games.

  • Comment number 78.

    Talking of London's closing ceremony performance, a huge thanks to the BBC for the sound problems which meant Leona Lewis was barely audible. That was hugely appreciated.

    I wouldn't get over sensitive above the bus issue - indeed I thought it was a strong statement to use the bus after what happens the day after we won the games and indeed a fitting tribute.

    As for the rugby (thank you ITV for doing what the BBC should have done years ago!) - this deal wouldn't affect the rights to the England Autumn Internationals, though I believe that the current deal is up for renewal in the next couple of seasons.

  • Comment number 79.

    Just a thought for the opening ceremony in 2012.
    we should get Pink Floyd to reconvene and write a suitably epic opening anthem !
    and stage it in their inimitable style.


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