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Joanne Watson
"We're not spending licence fee payers' money on anything extraordinary"
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John Inverdale
"We do have the odd moments of levity
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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
Behind the scenes at the BBC
Sue Barker and John Lloyd
Sue and John talk tennis on the BBC
BBC Sport Online's Gabrielle Lewis provides an insight into the BBC's mammoth outside broadcast operation from SW19.

BBC Sport has eyes and ears all over the All England Club during the Wimbledon Championships.

As the host broadcaster to more than 20 other TV networks, the BBC's pictures find their way on to screens around the world. In 1999, 170 countries used the corporation's coverage.

But the BBC's operation has come a long way from its first televised coverage in 1937, when there were just two cameras on Centre Court and a maximum of 30 minutes of play was transmitted each day.

TV and radio

Now BBC Sport has production teams with slow-motion facilities and graphics controls on the club's seven show courts, and each has a minimum of three cameras, with up to nine of Centre Court.

We have reporters and guests in seven positions and sometimes on the roof

Joanne Watson, BBC Radio Sport
The daily programmes on BBC One and BBC Two are transmitted from the Broadcast Centre and hosted by former French Open champion and Wimbledon semi-finalist Sue Barker.

She is joined by a plethora of expert analysts including former Wimbledon champions Pam Shriver, Pat Cash, Jana Novotna and Martina Navratilova.

This year John McEnroe has added his colourful insights and opinions to the team.

Another debutante to the BBC's TV team at Wimbledon 2000 is John Inverdale.

He anchors BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage, before fronting BBC Two's highlights programme, while Ian Payne takes over until the end of 5 Live's daily coverage.

"I sit in my little box for five hours for 5 Live then I grab a quick bite to eat before heading up to the TV room to see what pictures I will be working with," Inverdale explains.

"I spend all day thinking about yellow tennis balls for a fortnight and even get stopped when I'm out jogging by people who wants to talk about Andre Agassi.

"But working with John McEnroe has been fascinating. He's a fantastic pundit and has been great for the BBC."

Nerve centre

Whilst Inverdale is based in 'the coffin', a claustrophobic commentary position on Centre Court, the nerve centre of the domestic radio operation is in the basement of the Broadcast Centre.

Staff there provide material for the rest of the network, local radio stations and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) programmes,

"We had about 30 staff on the first day and that gradually decreases during the Championships," said Joanne Watson, Editor, BBC Radio Sport at Wimbledon

"We have reporters and guests stationed in seven positions and sometimes on the roof of the Broadcast Centre to cover Court 14."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Another busy day for 5 Live
In the studio next to 5 Live is BBC World Service Radio. Accommodating a much smaller production team, the World Service studio broadcasts a three hour 'Wimbledon Live' programme from 4.30pm every weekday and round-ups throughout the day.

From their two commentary boxes on Centre Court and Court One, World Service broadcast to a potential global audience of over 140 million.

"We've got much faster editing equipment and better studio facilities than the old cramped dungeon we used to have," says Barry Millns, now in his 11th year as a World Service broadcaster at Wimbledon.

"We've also got a very dedicated team, and it's great to be involved."

Internet and Digital

The live programmes from Radio 5 Live and World Service are also transmitted through the internet, whilst BBC Sport Online, although based primarily at Television Centre in West London, has one features journalist based in the new Press Centre at Wimbledon.

Ceefax have been joined at the club by BBC Interactive, the new digital television output following successful test transmissions last year.

Meanwhile BBC Choice broadcasts the 'Garden Party' review programme from a house in SW19.

With the BBC continually enhancing its commitment to Wimbledon, the next four years promises to keep providing the best entertainment to tennis fans around the world.

Search BBC Sport Online

See also:

22 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
The BBC at Wimbledon BBC Sport >>
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
John Inverdale BBC Sport >>
28 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Mac is back and the fans just love it BBC Sport >>
22 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
BBC Wimbledon schedule BBC Sport >>
05 Jul 00 | The BBC Team
Ask the experts BBC Sport >>
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