The BBC are pulling out all the stops. After being royally trashed for their “inane”, “patronising”, “boring” coverage of the The Queen’s Jubilee, they know they’re on extra time with their coverage of the London 2012 Olympics.
But I think they’re putting in a medal-winning performance so far… Yes, the live feed will sometimes crash; yes, the twice-nightly highlights programmes sometimes look like repeats of each other; and yes, some commentators are resorting to rather tiresome post-event interviews full of questions like, “How do you feel?”, “What was the crowd like?”, “Isn’t it amazing performing in front of a home crowd?”, “You’re in London – your home town – the noise from the crowd is something else, isn’t it?” (and countless variations on that theme – I’m not exaggerating).
At such a huge, live event, the logistics are staggering and so a rare technical hiccup shouldn’t warrant cries from armchair commentators shouting, “See! The BBC can’t even get this right!”. I think some of the camera work – the aerial views across London from the equestrian events in Greenwich Park; the underwater cameras in the Aquatics Centre pool; the views from basketball hoops and under weightlifters’ chins – really does put the viewer at the heart of the action. The high-definition slow-motion sequences of gymnasts, tennis players and rowers, when you can witness every contorted muscle and emotion, reminds us how Olympians are pushing themselves to the limit.
And some ‘star guest’ commentators have really proven their fees’ worth: Ian Thorpe, who doesn’t seem to be able to escape the BBC studio or Aquatic Centre (he’s there morning and night!), has divided opinion on Twitter between those that find his continual refrain of “Look…” and the Topman jumpers just too much, to those (the majority) who find his measured opinions, proper insights and dry humour to be just the thing to get us through (seemingly endless) swimming rounds.
Thanks to NBC’s commercially-driven lack of comprehensive, live coverage, the US are tuning in to the BBC’s coverage via iPlayer. Perhaps we sometimes forget what a brilliant broadcaster we have…