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How we plan for Glastonbury, the World Cup and a summer of live events

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Jana Bennett Jana Bennett | 12:32 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

This Friday sees the kick off of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This month-long tournament is just one of a huge number of sporting and musical events to hit our screens across the BBC this summer.

Two young Ivory Coast fans, complete with Didier Drogba shirts, look forward to the World Cup in a shot from the BBC's World Cup marketing promo

Continuing on the sporting side, we will also be showing, amongst others, The Open and Women's Open, the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, European Athletics Championships, Royal Ascot, the Rowing World Cup and of course the latest rounds from this year's Formula One championship, which may yet see a British driver crowned world champion for the third year running.

From the musical festivals we will have coverage from Reading & Leeds, T In The Park from Balado, Kinross-shire and, of course, Glastonbury from the Eavis' farm in Somerset. The Proms are also back in July and will this year be presented by Katie Derham.

One of the main reasons the BBC exists is to broadcast events that bring communities and the nation as a whole together. I can't imagine a better line up to do just that.

It is worth bearing in mind however, that since many of these events are live, there may be occasions when some of the nail-biting sporting action or musical performances will run a little longer than originally scheduled.

BBC presenter Jo Whiley presents coverage from Glastonbury 2009

We saw this happen in a different arena just last month where we watched extraordinary developments unfold following the election results.

On this occasion, political drama took over from fictional drama in our schedules as EastEnders and Holby City were moved to bring viewers news of Gordon Brown's resignation and the announcement of the new coalition government took place in front of 10 million viewers on BBC One.

When events overrun or turn into edge of your seat moments, we may decide to either alter the schedule so we can stay with them, or move their coverage from BBC Two to BBC One so that we ensure the largest amount of people can see them.

That is after all what we are here to do - to share these big moments with as many people as possible.

We don't take that decision lightly though. We are very aware of the disruption it can cause to the rest of the schedule, including things like the regional news.

That is why this year we have decided, wherever possible, to steer clear of moving events from BBC Two to BBC One until after 7pm so as to avoid disrupting the regional news services. That is the one thing that we cannot swap onto BBC Two owing to technological restrictions.

I cannot say we won't ever change the schedules or move things earlier than 7pm - after all no-one would thank us for leaving a performance, an historic sporting battle or a change of government before its conclusion. But where we do, it will be done whilst trying to cause the minimum of disruption to all our viewers.

For now let's sit back (or jump up and down) and enjoy what looks set to be an incredible summer of live events on the BBC.

UPDATE Thursday, 1 July:

Last night we had just such a situation where we wanted to ensure the biggest possible audience could see the culmination of Andy Murray's battle for a semi final place at this year's Wimbledon.

In order to do that we moved the match from BBC Two to BBC One at 6.40pm.

Although this meant the news hour was slightly shortened I felt the importance of the match justified the move.

As I have said above, we don't take these decisions lightly but having seen that around 5.5m people tuned in it seems like our audience shared the view that it was worth doing.

Jana Bennett is director of BBC Vision


  • Comment number 1.

    "... move their coverage from BBC Two to BBC One so that we ensure the largest amount of people can see them."

    It's incredibly frustrating for viewers who are trying to record programmes on Video/Tivo/Sky/etc. when this happens. For example, if Tennis is scheduled on BBC2 and it turns out it's Andy Murray playing then you'll switch it to BBC1 and cause problems for anyone trying to record Eastenders etc.

    I'd love to see the statistics on how many people can't receive BBC2 but can receive BBC1

  • Comment number 2.

    To be honest, BBC One is meant to be the primary station that everyone can receive. There are only a few who can't receive both One and Two but those few are probably extremely grateful for the BBC moving important programmes.

  • Comment number 3.

    if you go to Glasgow to T in the Park you will be sadly disappointed - it isn't in Glasgow!

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you wendy13 - you're absolutely right. Sorry about that - I've corrected the sentence to say that T In The Park is of course in Balado, Kinross-shire and not Glasgow. Thanks for pointing this one out.

    Fiona, TV blog editor

  • Comment number 5.

    It really is very hard work at the BBC. We have so much exciting TV to cram into only a few channels. When our great leader said in March that “the BBC has to do less things better”, my initial reaction was “we’ll have to stop complaining that we’ve got too much great content and not enough channels”. But, as with a lot of senior managers, I have to constantly justify my huge salary, I thought I’d use the ‘About the BBC’ blog to harp on about how very brilliant the BBC is.

    The BBC is covering so many live sporting events at your expense this year. We’ve got horse racing, tennis, rugby, boats, posh horse racing, posh tennis, running, football and people jumping over high things. It’s a fantastic choice of exciting events that we mugged off of the commercial sector by out-bidding them with your money.

    Satisfying our ‘music on TV’ remit we’ll be showing rolling footage of the dozen or so artists that the music industry is currently hyping as ‘The next big thing’ at 3 festivals this summer. We’ll have interviews with each of these acts, more footage on the red button service and, if you’re not already convinced enough to buy a CD of these acts that we are advertising on behalf of the major labels, we’ll featuring the self-same artists on the playlists for Radio Numb, 2Music and 6FM.

    It should be noted at this point that we don’t just offer free exposure for the major labels’ up and coming bands. Once in a while we’ll offer free advertising for established acts if they have new albums to promote. Who can forget the thinly disguised promotional video for Cork’s finest band UB 2 on top of Broadcasting Towers or the recent wall-to-wall coverage we gave to UK tax-exiles The Boiling Stones which just so happened to coincide with the re-release of one of their classic albums on EMU Records? No wonder we want to shut 6 Radio with its DJs who go looking for challenging music that isn’t being heavily plugged or its listeners who have minds of their own.

    Anyway, back to the schedules.
    We had two options. We could try to do what we always do and squeeze as much as possible into the BBC1 and 2 schedules. A more forward-thinking idea was to encourage people away from the TV and out into the world beyond the living room during the summer months by suspending some regular content. The latter option was too ground-breaking so we’ll just continue to serve-up the same old same old. And for anyone looking to take an extended break from getting-up and having a life, don’t forget the BBC3 schedule. It’s packed with programmes that won’t even exercise your brain.

    For now, let’s just look forward to what appears to be an incredible summer for BBC managers, with so many opportunities to swan about in corporate hospitality tents networking with friends, family and business contacts.


  • Comment number 6.

    I would like to take issue with the esteemed Andy in his comments above. There are simply not enough coverage of posh boats on the BBC. This is a sport where we trounce the world and yet our own broadcaster insists on covering sports we are obviously no good at and never will be - football, tennis etc.

    Why doesn't the BBC cover British success? Also Andy - Cowes week is a great opportunity for the networking that is such an important part of your role.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think more coverage of local events would be a good step forward, local people are crying out for more coverage to encourage tourists to travel to some of the great attractions the UK has to offer such as the Harrogate Flower Show, The Great Yorkshire Show and Harlow Carr Japanese gardens in harrogate. It would be a shame if people stopped experiencing this these wonderfull events to sit at home and watch tv programs about things happening thousands of miles away.

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't wait for the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury. Even though I'm going, I will be recording all of it.

    Just the thought of see the massive crowds waving their 'Save 6Music' banners. Or watching the interviews around the festival site which will no doubt be interupted with people shouting "Save 6Music".

    All in all it should be very memorable. Unless of course the BBC do the honourable thing beforehand and cancel their silly proposal to shut the station.

  • Comment number 9.

    Every body who can receive BBC (Now BBC1 or BBC one) can receive BBC2, ITV1 and Channel4 (or S4C)
    as they all come from the same transmitter.
    In the 1980's the last B&W VHF transmitters closed down. So you had to switch to UHF and get the new third channel called BBC 2.
    The new channels BBC 3, BBC 4 and even Channel 5 won't start in some areas until 1013.
    On-Digital think it's 2012 according to their web site.
    It's the 30th of March 2013 in Whitehead, Northern Ireland.

  • Comment number 10.

    i still don't understand - why do things get switched between BBC1 and BBC2?

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi everyone - thanks for your comments. Just to bring your attention to Jana's update which she added today - see above.

    Fiona, TV blog editor

  • Comment number 12.

    I would argue with Jana's comment. You took this decision far too lightly! Local news coverage is very important, and your statistic of 58% of license holders watch at least 15 minutes of Wimbledon each year does NOT justify changing BBC1 news schedules for minority interest tennis matches which have scheduled time on BBC2.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why was it felt necessary to switch the Andy Murray match from its scheduled slot on BBC2 to BBC1.Anyone interested in this match would already have been watching it on BBC2.There cannot be anyone in the country who is unable to receive BBC2 so it defies logic why it was felt it needed to be on BBC1.This is a blatant attempt to manipulate viewing figures.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree - exactly how many people who can receive BBC1 can't receive BBC2. Surely the answer is to put a message on the screen on BBC1 saying Andy Murray's match is still showing on BBC2.

    If tennis viewers are too lazy to press their remote button to return to BBC2 is that really the problem of those of us wanting to watch the local news? (surely they were already watching it if they were that interested).

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh dear...please could you explain why you will be cutting away from the ladies final at 2.30pm, while it is in progress (baring something exceptional happening) , to bring us half an hour of three/four men in a studio building up to the world cup match between Germany and Argentina? If England had made it through I could have understood, given the national interest, but not for these two sides. Why not bring us the ladies final in it's entirety and then switch to the football for the second half? (unlikely the Womens final will last longer than 2 hours going on past experience). What was the decision making process/thought behind this scheduling on BBC HD?

  • Comment number 16.

    I completely agree with the last 4 comments. There was absolutely no justification for the switch of the Murray match fr all of 15mins when he was already a break of serve up. Yet more complete stupidity from the BBC as was cutting off the end of the Formula 1 nearly 2 weeks ago for the football (just stick with one programme on one channel!) and like someone else said, the ladies final at Wimbledon. I absolutely fail to believe that some people literally sit there all day watching whatever BBC1 throws at them rather than seeing what is on and changing channels. People who want to watch tennis know it is on and will switch to BBC2 to watch it. If they don't then tough - they miss out. You cannot continue pandering to stupid people. Like others have said, everyone has access to BBC2 if they have BBC1.

  • Comment number 17.

    The BBC viewing figures do not distinguish those who are actively watching a programme, those who are waiting for another programme to start and those who are just too lazy change channels. But then by not distinguishing why people are tuned to a channel it artificially boosts the viewing figures and the BBC can boast false claims such as 12 million people watched ........

    And not everyone thinks a summer with so much sport is wonderful.

  • Comment number 18.

    Perhaps you could also ask BBC One and Two Scotland to stop further medling with the schedules?

  • Comment number 19.

    By the next world cup the digital switch over will be complete, all games not involving a national team from the UK could be carried on the red button instead of wasting space on BBC 1 and 2 and ruining most people's evening viewing.

    Also why exactly was 'catch me if you can' swapped for 'bend it like Beckham'? The last thing anyone wanted after the schedules had been over run by a football match not even involving a British team was more football! also the target audience for bend it like Beckham is teenage girls so it's not exactly the right film to play at night to replace a film aimed at adults is it now?

    I love the BBC but wish you'd use a bit more common sense when it comes to schedule alteration.

  • Comment number 20.

    I sent this as a complaint on 22nd June:

    and now it is happening again. The BBC is OBSESSED with sport when it should be taking a lead in more intellectual and less ruinous pursuits. After a hard days work we come in to

    5-6 SPORT
    7pm-10pm SPORT (3 hrs to show a 90 minute football match?)
    BBC 2
    5.15 pm- 8pm SPORT
    8pm - 9 pm MORE SPORT
    10 pm - 10.30 pm MORE SPORT

    You have 6 hours x 2 (12 hours) between 5 and 11 and you are devoting 1 + 3 + 3.45 + .3 hrs to SPORT. That is 8 hrs and 15 minutes of SPORT (nearly 69% of the bulk of the evening when I (and many like me ) might wtach TV) and after that another 1.30 of NEWS on BBC1and 50 mins on BBC2 (so NEWS (a lot of which will be SPORT) and SPORT occupy 10 hrs and 35 mins of the 12 hours between 5 and 11. This is unfair, lazy, thoughtless, unimaginative and many other negative things. All you are doing is pointing some cameras at some overpaid prima donnas kicking or hitting a ball and you think we should pay £100 plus for a licence. Shame on you!!

    So, the whole centre of the evening is taken up by sport which is pointless and hideously boring. Why BOTH channels and .................................................why EGGHEADS again!!

    It never got acknowledged or replied to!

    And it gets worse, Eggheads is now off for, of all the boring and pointless things golf!!!!

    There is more to my complaint than a selfish wish t5o see My programme. In its worshipping of sport the BBC is complicit in this scandal that sport is the most important thing we do (closely followed by listening to music) you are pandering to a silliness which has to stop if we are ever going to move on as a nation. Many wonder is wrong with our youth? Giving the impression that playing a stupid, pointless game is worthwhile is a big part of what is wrong. Play and fun is all they want, and this obsession with sort and music festivals is close to the heart of why.
    BBC should be leading the public, not following all this nonsense.

  • Comment number 21.

    Just looking at what moderating means. Explain why a message board has to be ENJOYABLE and only this (apart from safe, which I can see)

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh come on you lot! The Beeb's coverage of sport (at least that which it has access to)is simply unrivalled. Those who are desperate to hear (or more likely watch)the latest news, should go to the BBC News Channel (OK, you are not likely to find too much in the way of 'local' coverage but there's always ITV Regional News)and I am guessing that not everyone ahs yet switched over to digital or are amongst the poor souls who live in an area where digital will not fully reach even after switchover is complete - the Welsh Valleys being a case in point.

    Where I might be inclined to take issue with the Beeb, is the reduced availability of Red Button coverage - which from what I understand is to make way for HD on Freeview. Is this the holy grail of TV ambition? For starters, HD isn't going to be fully available on Freeview until the middle of 2012 and even then, those with limited coverage even after switchover is complete, may still not get HD. Therefore, to reduce Red Button options is not terribly clever.

    However, I can recommend the streams that are to be found on FTA satellite pointing to 28.2E, which I can only assume is the Freesat Red Button option (we don't have a Freesat box). Not only are all the streams there but the picture quality (in SD) is fine - there are some issues with sound quality now and then but you can't have everything!

    By the way, one other benefit of FTA/Freesat, is that all the regional variations of BBC1, 2, ITV1 and C4 can also be found there, so if you want to know what is going on in the Channel Islands but live say somewhere in the middle of England, then you can tune in to the regional output on BBC1 and ITV1. (This is also available through Sky and Virgin TV - but they cost at least a minimum subscription).

    You 'pays yer money and takes yer choice'!

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh dear, gary skinner would be better off living in the US or Italy or Holland, where their channels are filled with enough mindless game shows as it is possible to watch. (OK, if he cannot speak Dutch or Italian, it might get a bit tricky to follow). Has he not also realised that a lot of the Eggheads/Weakest Link genre are repeats nowadays? Also, has he caught on to the fact that many of the questions asked are the same but sometimes differently put in either or both shows?

    At least when the Sport is being covered, it is (apart from Football/Cricket/some Rugby) it is live and current, ie not last year's matches rehashed? (Well yes, we do get reruns of 'classic matches' on occasion)

    The Beeb is the ONLY channel to offer live uninterrupted coverage of sporting events - how many of us were watching the first England World Cup match when the England goal was missed because of a rogue cut to the sponsors advert? Adrian Chiles sheepish comment at half time was that he understood there had been 'some disruption to viewers watching in HD'. I am guessing that the producers didn't tell him what really happened until AFTER the broadcast had finished - otherwise I am sure some acerbic comment would have ensued. Adrian, don't be a prat, give ITV the heave ho - it didn't work for Des Lynam it won't work for you.

  • Comment number 24.

    So, better to watch mindless sport rather than mindless game shows eh? I am complaining about the sheer laziness of the BBC, and now they are at it again. The Eggheads show has now been cancelled whilst we watch............the Pope's visit!! Of course we could turn over and watch the news, which is covering, oh, the Pope's visit!!
    How would you feel if your precious football match was cancelled so that others could watch the Pope's visit. The fact is, this pre-occupation with sport is a very worrying situation. Young people are now thinking that if they kick a ball, or maybe hit it or throw it , that is OK. Most of them are wasting their lives. And then look at the role models sportsmen make!! Shame on them, and you, for making all this POINTLESS sport so apparently important.

  • Comment number 25.

    I can understand everything mentioned above when it relates to live sport or other important events. But it should NEVER happen to accommodate highlights. Moreover, if sport overruns I believe that scheduled highlights should be forfeit if other programmes cannot be shown at their planned time.

    For example University Challenge on 4/10/2010 has been taken off to show golf highlights. Hasn't there been enough golf on in the past few days?

  • Comment number 26.

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


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