Examples are used to provide an appreciation of the most recent developments in real-time experimental and operational seasonal forecasting and also of some of the wide issues surrounding the provision and use of such forecasts. The stimulus provided by the study of the El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon is discussed, especially with respect to operational seasonal forecasting in the US National Weather Service. The Meteorological Office's seasonal-forecasting activities and objectives are then reviewed briefly, leading to a description of, and some tentative results from, a major European collaborative project on Prediction Of Climate Variations On Seasonal to Interannual Time-scales. A wider international perspective is given by considering the relevant projects of the Word Climate Programme and also the proposal for an international research institute for seasonal-to-international climate prediction. In conclusion, some further general issues are raised for consideration.