In the eyes of many, the BBC progressed from villain to hero in a matter of
weeks. But what has this got to do with Ipswich? Just a little.
The Jubilee Pageant on the Thames was not one of the BBC's triumphs. In
trying to cover so much almost simultaneously. the editors produced
confusion so that it was hard to know what one was looking at and where it
was on the river. And the parade of tall ships, including the Victor built
in Ipswich and featured in the July Newsletter, remained almost unseen.
The Olympic Torch relays were often broadcast well but the arrival in Ipswich
was a disaster. Admittedly an overturned lorry on the A14 was an unforeseen
problem but the police got the torch through to the Orwell only fifteen
minutes or so late. However, while the boat carrying the torch was
approaching or inside the lock, a BBC commentator burbled on about the 4-star
hotel on the river and the centuries-old dock. Of course. it isn't only the
BBC which fails to distinguish between the dock (Victorian) and the river
(which by-passes the dock). This is perhaps the most common misunderstanding
amongst those who do actually know a little about Ipswich, but it was
particularly sad that the BBC's Ipswich born and bred reporter, Kevin Burch,
who does know the town very well, was finally left standing on Orwell Quay to
commentate on the torch's progress along the dockside after every single
person of the thousands who had been there had disappeared. Added to that,
there was apparently no camera in the town streets to watch the progress and
no suitable commentary position in Christchurch Park from where the runner
could be seen approaching the stage and the cauldron.
Still, when the Olympic Games finally got under way. I think we'd all agree
that the BBC was terrific!