Archive for the ‘2012’ Tag

2012 gets 2010 off to a flying start

British Paralympic cyclingAt 12:49 BST on 6th July 2005 I was in a meeting in a glass box in a corner of Channel 4 HQ with my then boss Heather Rabbatts and Andy Taylor (now of All3Media) as the result was announced of the winning city of the 2012 Olympic Games. Heather went particularly nuts as her husband Mike had been a key player in the London bid and was out there in Singapore with the posse of British teens who helped land my beloved native city the Big One.

An echo of that excitement tingled my spine on Friday when this note came through from our beloved creative leader (Kevin Lygo):

Dear Wondrous Staff,

A great bit of news to start the year.

The Olympic Committee has awarded us the rights to cover the Paralympics in 2012. There was a fiercely competitive tender between us and the BBC and it’s a testament to how hard many people in the channel worked that we won the bid. … It is an indication of how strong the organization is that we have been awarded such an important and prestigious opportunity.

Onwards and upwards.

Kevin.

PS. Ratings are up 18% so far this year. Oh yes.

C4 beat off bids by the emerging duopoly – BBC and BSkyB. The BBC were Britishly magnanimous in defeat: “…we are pleased that the Games will be available to free to air audiences, and we congratulate Channel Four on securing the rights. We are sure the 2012 Paralympics will be a great success.” It really is a good reflection of how the Beeb and C4 fit together on the Public Service Broadcasting landscape – complementary and with a constructive creative tension.

The 2012 Paralympics are definitely in the right home – the home of Cast Offs, Vee TV, Crip on a Trip, Born to be Different, The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, and of course re-imagined, re-energised Cricket (up to the 2005 Ashes victory which I was lucky enough to experience C4-stylee at the Oval on 12th September 05). We’re all super-proud at C4 HQ to have won this one and are looking forward hugely to bringing C4 values to such a fundamentally inspiring event.

Here’s the full story…

Channel 4 to be the Paralympic Broadcaster in the UK in 2012

  • Deal will deliver over 150 hours of television coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – more than ever before;
  • Channel 4 will run its biggest ever marketing campaign to promote the Paralympic Games;
  • Every penny LOCOG has raised from selling the rights will be invested to provide the biggest and broadest TV feed of the Paralympic Games ever;
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has awarded the UK broadcast rights to Channel 4 following a highly competitive tender process.

The deal with Channel 4 will provide the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sport with the strongest pre-Games broadcast coverage and marketing support it has ever received on UK television. As an example Channel 4 will be completely rebranded with a Paralympic theme after the London 2012 Olympic Games finish. Channel 4 will work with the world’s best production companies to build on its reputation for the most innovative sports coverage showcasing Paralympic sport to millions of viewers, fronted by a world-class presenting team.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012 commented: “The eyes of the world will be focussed on the Paralympic Games – the world’s second biggest multi-sport event – in London in 2012. We will deliver a spectacular sporting showcase for the world’s greatest Paralympic athletes, and will use the power of Paralympic sport to raise awareness; challenge stereotypes; inspire understanding and communicate the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality.

We are absolutely delighted to appoint Channel 4 as our broadcast partner in the UK. Channel 4 shares our vision for the Paralympic Games, has a very strong appeal to young people, and will play a hugely important role in increasing public engagement and involvement in Paralympic sport in this country.

We are confident that the quality and depth of the broadcast coverage provided by Channel 4 not just for the 12 days of sport in 2012, but in the two and a half years leading up to the Games, will inspire disabled people of all ages to take up sport and be a catalyst for continued change in public attitudes towards disability. The commercial value of this deal has raised the bar financially for the Paralympic movement. ”

The deal with Channel 4 includes multi-platform broadcast rights within the UK, with non-exclusive rights in the Republic of Ireland. Channel 4 will produce and screen two peak time 10 part documentaries in 2011 and 2012, building the stories of the athletes and their journey to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It will also include dedicated coverage of the Paralympic Torch Relay and will be supported by the biggest marketing campaign in the broadcaster’s history.

Channel 4 will also cover key disability sports and sporting events, in the run up to the Paralympic Games in 2012.

At Games-time, Channel 4 will deliver over 150 hours of coverage of the Paralympic Games, with over 130 hours on their core channel (Channel 4). Paralympic sport has never had this level of exposure in the UK. The coverage will be led by a flagship peak-time show, and extensive coverage will also be provided on mobile and online. Subtitling and audio description will form part of all the programming, ensuring the widest possible audience can enjoy the Games.

Lord Burns, Channel 4’s Chairman Designate, said: “For Channel 4, the London Paralympic Games will be the main event, not a sideshow to the Olympics; the Games will define our year in 2012 and take over Channel 4 for their duration. The Paralympics will be one of the most significant sporting events to be staged in Britain for many years and we’re confident the more comprehensive and more cross-platform coverage we are offering can connect the Games with the widest possible cross-section of British viewers.

Kevin Lygo, Channel 4’s Director of Television and Content, added: “Channel 4 has done more than any other broadcaster to bring disability into the mainstream and we have a great track record of broadcast innovation with sports like Test cricket. We are genuinely thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with LOCOG to bring Paralympic sport into full public focus before, during and beyond the 2012 Games and to deliver a lasting legacy, including altering public attitudes to disability and disability sport.”

Sir Philip Craven, President of the IPC commented: “The IPC congratulates Channel 4 as a free to air public broadcaster in being awarded the national television rights for the UK. I am sure they will work diligently in portraying just what a magnificent event the Paralympic Games really are, what Paralympic athletes are able to achieve and how they can inspire the world with their performances.

The IPC also wants to thank LOCOG, following a very open, transparent and fair process. The quality of all bids was very high, and I am confident that all bidding companies would have put on a great Paralympic Games coverage.”

Tanni Grey-Thompson commented: “I am pleased that the Paralympic Games will be shown by a terrestrial broadcaster in the UK in 2012. Channel 4 has some exciting plans for its coverage and marketing support.  I look forward to seeing these plans progress in the coming months and years ahead on the road to London 2012 ”

London Paralympic Logo

Love ya London

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The Opposite of Digital

Camille at the Roundhouse

Camille at the Roundhouse

It started deep below Tate Modern. In three large circular spaces, formerly oil tanks for the Bankside power station, Will Gompertz, Director of Tate Media, mentioned he would love to do an event in the brick-walled space before it gets transformed into new gallery space for 2012. The acoustics were enchanting, a huge cylindrical echo chamber punctuated with iron pillars, and a low hum from the remaining generators which made me think of Le Fil, the album by London-based(?) French singer Camille. The name of the record – the Thread – comes from the single note which threads across the whole of it. So when I noticed Camille was playing at the Roundhouse I invited Will.

Le Fil I came across by chance. Just liked the cover. I was down in Brick Lane with the Enfants Terribles one weekend when I ducked into Rough Trade East. When we pass a record or book shop they habitually form up into a SWAT team to bar my way but on that occasion I was too quick for them. It was a good session of buying on instinct – I came across Burial’s Untrue for the first time that day too.

As things turned out Will couldn’t make it in the end (had to meet Steve McQueen of Hunger fame) and I ended up inviting James, my neighbour, on the touchline at Finchley RFC vs Harrow RFC U12s out in Stanmore on an autumnal Sunday morning.

Now James hadn’t been to the Roundhouse since ’69 when he saw Pink Floyd, of which there are colourful accounts in Joe Boyd’s White Bicycles, including a mention of Donegal’s own Henry McCullough, the only Irishman on stage at Woodstock (with Joe Cocker). So it was a pleasure to reintroduce them and resonant to be standing next to an iron column not dissimilar from that secret Tate space.

Camille‘s performance was the opposite of digital. In this age of easy copying, reproduction, recording, on demand, clones – it was a unique performance of an unpredictable singer in dialogue with the live crowd. She seems to have a thing about the colour orange which suits me as so do I (childhood bedroom colour at 2A Selvage Lane aka La Sirene, appropriately enough – lord knows why my parents called the house that (or anything) but the sign ended up being flipped around and having the even worse Popin added to the former reverse side at the next house where my mum still lives and Sirene still hangs hidden).

Camille in short hand is Bobby McFerrin meets Kate Bush with a bit of Swingle Singers, Marcel Marceau and Beardyman thrown in for a good measure of machine-free madness. So all voices and body beats with no instruments beyond a piano which she doesn’t really need.

The gig came to a collective climax and just to show how live it was she came on for one too many encores and an improv with Jamie Cullum which didn’t quite work and dissipated the hard-won energy. But that’s the beauty of transcending the 1s and 0s – you win some, you lose some, you can’t tell til you try, human fallibility seeps in alongside human spirit.

The best 0 of the night was when she came back on for the encore that took the performance to its high point. She’d changed from the LBD under her orange robe to a Longer Black Dress. Then at 1 point she turned around to reveal a large 0 cut into the dress at the base of her spine, revealing an expanse of back which recalled Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger and a delightful toppest bit of bum, an emblem of that mad French sexuality we know and love from the likes of L’Ete Meutrier (One Deadly Summer) and 37.2 degres le Matin (Betty Blue). That threat of madness, that touch of unpredictability, the moment of unevenness, the ambiguous attractions among the band are the undigitalness we all need from time to time.

Random poll brought to you courtesy of WordPress’ new alliance with Polldaddy – couldn’t resist having a quick go

Animation for the Nation

The broadband animation project I have been working on all year has finally launched in Beta at www.4mations.tv. This is the new home of Channel 4 animation and has suitably bold ambitions to be the Centre of the Animated Universe. Produced by Aardman in Bristol and Lupus Films using video SNS technology from Reality Digital.

It works – which is always a good start, providing a wealth of animation and games, including the best of C4’s outstanding 25 year archive of short animations. People who upload their work are in the frame for cash rewards awarded to the most watched contributions.

The first 400 contributors get this special, very valuable badge:

First 400 blog badge

First 400 blog badge

And, in the spirit of Olympic hand-over and 2012, the toppest community members get this little golden baby:

gold blog button

gold blog button

How can you live life without those? Come on, shake a leg, get animated and explore the dark corners of 4mations…

Update 28.8.08:

4mations in The Guardian

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