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Newsletter, October 2012 (Issue 189)

Pageant, Torch & Games


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!

Neil Salmon

    Front cover of issue 189 Cover, issue 189

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