Well, the third of the leaders' debates is now over and there are only a few days left of campaigning before polling day on Thursday. I'm an election junkie and always look forward to election night. I'm a stay-up-all-night person and have been since 1987. (I stayed up a bit in 83, but I was doing my 'O' Levels, so couldn't pull an all-nighter.) This one is clearly going to be a cracker, the most interesting since 1997, perhaps the closest since 1992. One of the things that I am looking forward to this time is being five hours behind, which means that all the juicy stuff should start happening long before the middle of the night. So I've blanked out Thursday evening and night in my diary, I have got the beers in, and soon I will have everything ready for the toasted sandwiches, the traditional food of election night, at least in my house.
But there is a concern. Where will I be able to watch it? It is, of course, compulsory to watch Election Night on the BBC, with David Dimbleby and all. There is simply no competition, and Dimbers is the only choice. I had imagined that BBC America would be carrying the BBC1 coverage all the way through. For the American presidential election, they did take the BBC coverage. As of now, though, their schedule for Thursday just lists all the usual rubbish, Gordon Ramsay and the rest. I wrote to BBC America about this and received the following reply:
BBC America is committed to providing the most honest, objective and straightforward news coverage from around the world. We are pleased to let you know that on May 6th 2010, the date of the UK General Election, the channel will present a special edition of BBC World News America focusing on all of the twists and turns of the day’s events, from across the party spectrum.Unfortunately, this does not tell us anything much, unless the "special edition" of BBC World News America is in fact the live broadcast of the election coverage from the UK.
I have also asked C-SPAN if they are planning to carry some coverage direct from the UK since they have been the best of all the channels to this point in covering the election, e.g. they have broadcast all three of the leaders' debates live on C-SPAN 3. I have not yet heard back from them, and they only update their schedules about twenty-four hours in advance.
I hope it won't have to be a case of plugging the laptop into the telly and streaming over the internet.
More as soon as I have it.
Update (Saturday, 14.23): More from BBC America in response to my wallpost on Facebook:
On May 6 at 7pm et/pt there will be special election coverage on BBC America's program BBC World News America. As the count begins to come in Matt presents a special Election Day program from the BBC’s Television Centre in London with Katty Kay in Washington DC. There will also be online coverage, which we will post about when there are more details.I am afraid that this is bad news, for several reasons: (1) This confirms that BBC America are not showing the main BBC1 / BBC News feed from England. (2) They are not starting coverage until 7pm. Coverage should start at 5pm (10pm British time). (3) There is no indication how long the coverage will last for. The schedule has not changed on the BBC America site, so it looks like the "special election coverage" is not going to be lengthy, unless there are schedule changes to come.
So it looks like we may need to hope for C-SPAN, or go online.
Update (Sunday, 14.20): David Hendrix writes:
In past UK elections (certainly 2001 & 2005), C-Span HAS presented a live stream of BBC's election night coverage. Don't know why their website shows no listings yet for Thursday. As their UK debate coverage has been good I expect them to again carry the BBC feed.David is right about the iPlayer. It will only work over here if you've found a good VPN or some other means of accessing it. Nevertheless, I am wondering whether the BBC will stream their election coverage from the website, as they did for the third leaders' debate. But that might be hoping too much. It is good to hear about the Sky possibility, and also to hear about the C-SPAN coverage last time. They have really come up trumps on this campaign so far, the only channel to carry all three leaders' debates live over here. I have emailed them to find out if they are planning to carry the BBC coverage this time too. Well, we should know by Wednesday evening, at the latest, when they update their schedules.
It is no good trying to watch BBC coverage on the BBC website because the BBC iplayer detects if your IP address is outside the UK - and prevents US-based computers from getting the signal
However - the SKY TV website will probably be streaming their TV feed. If you can stand Adam Boulting's smirk...
Update (Monday, 22.28): More news: BBC Election Night to show on C-SPAN?