Tokyo skyline has been on the BBC’s Olympics coverage… but the teams are in Salford 


Thought the BBC Olympic pundits were broadcasting from Tokyo? Wrong, they’re actually in Salford!

The spectacular Tokyo skyline has been on near-permanent display during the BBC’s Olympics coverage. 

So you could be forgiven for thinking the presenters were living the high life in the land of the rising sun. 

But in fact, the majority of the team is sitting in the slightly less glamorous surroundings of Salford.

The broadcaster has about a dozen reporters actually out in the Japanese capital covering all the sport. 

Most of the BBC are sitting in Salford rather than in Tokyo for the Olympics. Pictured: Katherine Grainger, Chris Hoy, Clare Balding, Alex Scott Pundits in the BBC Virtual Olympic Studio

Most of the BBC are sitting in Salford rather than in Tokyo for the Olympics. Pictured: Katherine Grainger, Chris Hoy, Clare Balding, Alex Scott Pundits in the BBC Virtual Olympic Studio

Meanwhile, 49 commentators, including 13 studio guests and pundits and ten presenters, are using the England-based studio.

So while hosts Clare Balding and Alex Scott, and former Olympic champions Katherine Grainger and Sir Chris Hoy may appear to be basking in the neon twinkle of Tokyo at night, they are really surrounded by 11 metre-square green screens. 

The virtual and physical set design – which resembles a Japanese rooftop pagoda – was created by Toby Kalitowski at BK Design Projects and Jim Mann at Lightwell.

The multi-million-pound virtual studio is based in the heart of MediaCityUK near Salford Quays – four miles from Manchester city centre.

It has three presentation areas – the main studio, a garden with a virtual fish pond and a separate runway – all filmed in the same space, roughly the lengthy of two Olympic swimming pools and five wide.

The virtual and physical set design – which resembles a Japanese rooftop pagoda – was created by Toby Kalitowski at BK Design Projects and Jim Mann at Lightwell

The virtual and physical set design – which resembles a Japanese rooftop pagoda – was created by Toby Kalitowski at BK Design Projects and Jim Mann at Lightwell

The commentators for events are also based in Salford, rather than by the track or pool, sitting side by side in their own individual booths which have windows for them to see their co-commentator next door.

While Tokyo boasts the tallest tower in the world, Skytree, and the Sensō-ji temple, Salford is home to the famed Salford Lads’ Club and the Imperial War Museum.

Prior to the Games starting, host Gabby Logan, who is on air every day, said: ‘We’ll be presenting from Salford this year, using a green screen to look like Tokyo!

‘It’ll be tough from a concentration point of view, because we don’t have focal points to draw on, but we’ll do our best to create a great atmosphere and an enjoyable show.’

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Written by bourbiza

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