Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 13:19 UK

Giant public screens for Olympics

Big screen in Liverpool
It is hoped the screens will provide a "lasting legacy" from the games

Up to 28 giant TV screens are to be erected in towns and cities across the UK to televise live action from the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics.

Eight permanent screens and a number of temporary screens are being planned to show this year's event in China.

The aim is to involve the whole of the UK in celebrating the games, the London organisers said.

Critics say the screens will turn towns into versions of an electrical retailer or "outdoor Currys".

Sarah Gaventa, director of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) said: "Just when we're starting to create well-designed, civilised public space in many English towns, along comes a rash of intrusive neon screens.

"Having a fun, relaxed time in our streets and squares should come from the character and design of a place, not something that feels more like an outdoor Currys."

But a spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) said they were in consultation with government, English Heritage and CABE to ensure that "any new live sites work in the best way possible for all involved".

Planning permission for all the screens would be subject to local consultation.

'Lasting legacy'

LOCOG said the permanent screens would provide a "lasting legacy" of the Olympics for towns and cities across the UK.

The committee is to supply the screens and the BBC will provide content.

They will be funded by 2.6m from the National Lottery with more funding from Lloyds TSB and BT.

Permanent screens will be put up in Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea and Waltham Forest in London.

There will be further sites in Bristol and Norwich, subject to planning permission.

The 20 temporary screens, in locations including Belfast, Glasgow, Herne Bay and Weymouth, will initially be erected to televise the handover ceremony from Beijing on 25 August to London.

The 2012 Party, marking the moment when London becomes the official Olympic city, will be broadcast live on TV and on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2.

It will feature performances from The Feeling, Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and McFly.




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