BBC announces Olympic Torch Relay coverage plans

Category: Sport
The BBC today confirmed its full coverage plans for the London 2012 Olympic Torch relay.

For the first time ever the BBC will be with the Torch relay every step of the way, broadcasting an estimated 70% of the 8000 mile relay live online at

In addition there will be extensive programming elsewhere across the BBC including: 14 special television programmes across the English Regions, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; a One Show Olympic Flame Ceremony special; a live EastEnders broadcast; nine Blue Peter specials and BBC Learning events, over 35 Local Radio Outside Broadcasts, as well as large scale coverage across other BBC News and radio outlets including Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine as part of his ‘I Love Where I Live’ 2012 tour and a live Radio 1 event in Torbay.

The One Show comes live from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall this evening (7-8pm). Chris Evans and Alex Jones host a special hour long special outside broadcast as the Olympic Flame arrives into the country from Athens on a golden aircraft.

The programme will be simulcast on the News Channel from 7.30pm for the Olympic Flame Ceremony. The Olympic Flame will be accompanied by Lord Coe, the Princess Royal, David Beckham, Olympics minister Hugh Robertson, London Mayor Boris Johnson and five young people from the UK. BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth will interview Lord Coe and the special guests before the flame is transferred to a cauldron. BBC Radio 5 live Drive will also be live from Cornwall for the arrival of the Olympic Flame in the UK.

On Saturday 19 May, BBC Breakfast and 5 live Breakfast will be live from Land’s End as the Olympic Torch begins its historic journey around the British Isles.

The BBC is covering the Torch relay like never before, following the Torch every step of the way. For 70 days, the relay will be streamed online at, with continuous coverage via the BBC Torchcam (#bbctorchcam) from the media vehicle in the Torch relay convoy.

Each day of the relay viewers will be able to follow the Torch, and the 8000 Torch Bearers, as it makes its way around the UK. Other functions include maps showing the torch’s location and route, street-by-street lists, weather and travel for places the torch will visit, live text updates; pictures galleries; video clips; plus all the news from the route.

There will also be daily live coverage as the relay moves across the UK on BBC TV and Radio News. BBC Radio 5 live will have the key moments from the Torch relay as it travels around the UK on its journey to London and the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Radio 1

BBC Radio 1 will be hosting an event from Paignton Green, Torbay on Saturday 19th May, marking the arrival of the UK torch onto English soil. Radio 1’s Chris Moyles, Fearne Cotton, Zane Lowe, Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Mistajam and Danny Howard will be celebrating the beginning of the summer season with a live broadcast alongside Example, Jaguar Skills and Eric Prydz. The Olympic Torch will also make an appearance at the event.


The Olympic Torch relay route will travel through Albert Square on 23 July 2012 passing iconic landmarks such as the market, the launderette and The Queen Vic as it makes its way through London to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on 27 July.

EastEnders viewers will already have seen characters Fat Boy and Billy Mitchell discover they’ve been nominated as Torchbearers and subsequently that the Olympic Flame will be passing through Walford.

On 23 July 2012, EastEnders will feature live footage of Billy carrying the Olympic Flame while being cheered on by the famous residents of Albert Square. Several minutes of the Olympic procession will be beamed direct to TV screens around the UK live from the Elstree set, with the rest of the episode filmed in advance.

Radio 2 – Jeremy Vine

As the Olympic Torch journeys around the UK, Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine will visit some prime relay locations in England, Scotland and Wales as part of his 'I Love Where I Live' 2012 tour.

He’ll take his weekday 12-2pm show to Colwyn Bay in North Wales on Tuesday 29 May. He’ll then travel north to Scone Palace, the crowning site of the kings of Scots, in Perthshire on Tuesday 12 June and will conclude his tour in the market town of Melton Mowbray, home of the pork pie, in England on Tuesday 3 July.

Jeremy, who has a weekly audience of more than 6m listeners, will visit the communities within the three locations, talking to the residents about the issues and topics that impact on their everyday lives, as well as celebrating the arrival of the Olympic Torch in their towns.

Jeremy says: "The Olympic Games will be one of the biggest spectacles that this country has ever seen, and I’m delighted to be visiting some of the towns that the Torch will pass through."

Blue Peter and BBC Learning

There will be ten 30-minute special live editions of Blue Peter, broadcast around the route of the Torch Relay as part of a CBBC Blue Peter roadshow celebrating the arrival of the Olympics in the UK and helping get CBBC fans in the mood for the Games.

The shows will be an ultimate guide to the Olympics for children, with fact-packed profiles of the biggest Olympic sports, interviews and masterclasses with Olympic stars past and present, premieres of new Horrible Histories sketches around the Ancient Olympics and retellings of some of the famous moments from the modern Olympic era.

After each live show, Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood plus their live guests will host a live BBC Learning event, which will encourage families to take part in a host of interactive action-packed activities.

CBBC fans will get the chance to try out a range of Olympic sports, investigate the science of sport, go back in time to try out the Olympic Games of a bygone age, have a go at being a sports commentator and lots more.

The tour will visit nine locations across the UK, starting at Caerphilly on 26 May. It will then call at Belfast on 2 June, Dumbarton on 9 June, Sunderland on 16 June, Burnley on 23 June, Wolverhampton on 30 June, Saffron Walden on 7 July, the Isle of Wight on 14 July and finally London on 21 & 22 July.

Nations and English Regions

Fourteen live half-hour television programmes will be broadcast throughout the Olympic Torch relay on BBC One at 7.00pm from each of the BBC English Regions as the Torch makes its way through their area. They will be hosted by BBC presenters and Olympians including Dame Kelly Holmes and Katharine Merry.

Regional television news bulletins will feature comprehensive coverage of the Torch Relay each day. BBC Weather updates will show a map of the route that will animate throughout the day, providing a detailed weather forecast for the key points, including the starting point, lunchtime and evening events. The BBC Weather team will be forecasting for the route 2-3 days ahead giving audiences the chance to plan for the moment the Torch reaches them.

BBC Local Radio

Each of the 39 local radio stations in the BBC English Regions network will be broadcasting comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay.

Mornings will start with Olympic Torch Live Breakfast programmes from each Local Radio station as the Olympic Torch relay begins. These outside broadcasts will come from our BBC Olympic Torch Relay Bus.

Listeners will also have the opportunity to send their very own good luck message to Team GB in the BBC Local Radio Photo Pod and get their picture taken in front of a backdrop of the Olympic Stadium.

Throughout the day there will be comprehensive coverage of the Torch from reporters posted along the route. Their live updates will capture and convey the excitement and celebrations of all the significant moments as the Torch Relay passes through.

The BBC Olympic Torch Relay bus will be at most of the weekday evening celebrations where BBC Local Radio programmes will give a live commentary on the lighting of the cauldron and interview special guests, the day’s Torchbearers and hear stories from people involved in the day’s events.

BBC English Regions Online

BBC English Regions will provide dedicated online coverage with reporters deployed feeding back text, images and other material for local web pages. These will feed into the 2012 Torch Relay pages and will include weather and travel updates for each day of the Torch Relay.

David Holdsworth, Controller of BBC English Regions, said: “As the official broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, BBC English Regions – through its network of local radio, regional television and online services - will bring audiences every moment of excitement and ceremony as the Olympic flame journeys across the country.

“We will also be providing the essential services that our audiences depend on: news bulletins, traffic and travel updates, and weather forecasts, with particular emphasis on how all or any of these will be affected by, or might affect, the plans for the Olympic Torch Relay on any particular day.”

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, Olympic Torch Live will capture the last night of the Olympic Torch in Northern Ireland including the lighting of the Olympic flame and will hear from spectators and those involved in this momentous occasion. The programme will look back at the Torch's journey around Northern Ireland since it arrival on 2 June. There will also be a variety of bespoke programming on BBC Radio Ulster and the visit will be covered and reflected by BBC Newsline and BBC Radio Ulster news outlets.


Radio Scotland’s popular music request show, Get it On with Bryan Burnett, will broadcast live from the bus on three nights. The programme will be re-named Pass it On for its visits to Aberdeen, Monday 11 June, Dundee, Tuesday 12 June and Edinburgh, Wednesday 13 June.

There will also be special reports from George Square, Glasgow, in the Reporting Scotland bulletins on BBC One Scotland on Friday 8 June when the cauldron is lit, and updates on the torch journey and the stories behind those carrying it on BBC Radio Scotland during its travels across Scotland.

And on Wednesday 13 June, at 6.30 pm Reporting Scotland will be live from Edinburgh followed by a half hour special Olympic Torch programme on BBC One Scotland highlighting the Torch journey round Scotland culminating in the cauldron being at Edinburgh Castle.

Sharon Mair, Editor Olympics and Commonwealth Games BBC Scotland, said: “We are going the extra mile to cover the moments of excitement and ceremony which the Olympic flame will bring to these cities.

“We will be hearing stories from as many of the Torchbearers as possible, and reflecting through our programmes what it means to be part of a community that experiences this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

BBC Scotland news correspondents will bring all the latest stories from the people involved in taking the Olympic Torch into the cities throughout the journey on television, radio and online.


The Olympic flame reaches Wales on its epic journey around the UK on Friday, May 25. To cover the Olympic Torch Relay journey around Wales, BBC Cymru Wales will be hosting one of its most ambitious outside broadcast commitments ever to bring all the excitement of the relay to viewers and listeners.

A specially extended hour long edition of BBC Wales’ flagship early evening news programme Wales Today will have coverage of the arrival of the torch in Wales on Friday, May 25.

In Wales Today: Olympic Torch Relay Special on BBC One Wales from 6.30pm Claire Summers, Jamie Owen and Olympic silver-medallist Iwan Thomas will be in Cooper’s Field, Cardiff, where a celebratory concert is being held. Lucy Owen, Sian Lloyd and Tomos Dafydd will report live on the torch’s route through the capital. There will also be extensive reports on the journey of the torch as it makes its way across south east Wales.

BBC Radio Wales mounts it’s most ambitious outside broadcast in the station’s history for the Torch Relay, with 27 live programmes from along the route over five days, and evening programme specials from the Olympic Concerts locations with Frances Donovan.

Steve Austins, Editor of BBC Radio Wales, says: “BBC Radio Wales will have live programmes across the route throughout Wales plus evening programme specials from the Olympic Concerts locations in Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor. BBC Radio Wales aims to be the choice station for the Torch relay while it is in Wales.”