BBC Unveils Red-Button Interactive TV Schedule for the Coming Weeks

--Highlights Include Wimbledon, Formula 1, "Springwatch Unsprung," "Psychoville"

The BBC announced Thursday the line-up of content that will be available through its red-button interactive TV service over the next few weeks. Here are some highlights:

  • For this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament, BBC Red Button will offer digital viewers a choice of up to five live matches (note: when Wimbledon coverage is being broadcast on BBC One or BBC Two, the version of the service on the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, will offer a choice of up to four matches), plus a highlights service and replays of the tournament's top matches. The service will also give viewers the option of watching Wimbledon tennis matches without commentary, so that they can enjoy what the BBC describes as "the true court-side experience." In addition, a digital text service will be offered between June 22nd and July 3rd, providing news, results and score updates.
  • Prior to Wimbledon, the BBC red-button service will offer extended coverage of the Queen's Club tennis championships.
  • Prior to the BBC's broadcast coverage of upcoming Formula 1 auto races at Istanbul Park (Turkish Grand Prix, June 5th) and Silverstone (British Grand Prix, June 19th), the red-button service will continue to allow viewers to access all on-track sessions, including Friday and Saturday practice and qualifying sessions. Then, during race broadcasts themselves, the service will present viewers with a choice of three streams, featuring split-screen, in-car camera feeds, leaderboards and rolling highlights respectively; and will also allow them to switch between the main network commentary or commentary from BBC Radio 5 Live. Finally, at the end of each race, the service will allow viewers to access a supplemental program featuring analysis and interviews. The BBC says it is also targeting younger F1 fans with "alternative commentary" through the red button for each of this season's F1 Grand Prix races: it says that viewers will be able to catch Michael "Abs" Absalom, Dan Clarkson, and F1 expert Perry McCarthy on the red-button service's Sport Multiscreen for interviews, sketches and up-to-date information on what is happening in each race.
  • For round six of the MotoGP bike-racing season, which will take place June 13th in Catalunya, Spain, the red-button service will offer coverage of Saturday-afternoon qualifying sessions, as well as a post-race program entitled "MotoGP Extra."
  • After broadcasts of the BBC's popular nature program, "Springwatch" (note: the latter is a mostly live-on-location show, broadcast four nights a week in late May and early June, that follows wildlife during the arrival of spring in the UK and that involves a crew of around 100 and around 50 cameras), viewers will be able to press the red button to access a 15-minute supplemental live show, entitled "Springwatch Unsprung," that will feature "Springwatch" presenters interacting with the show's audience in a more "relaxed" format. The show will, among other things, allow viewers to call in and share their own photos and videos, the BBC says.
  • Following the June 11th broadcast premiere of the new BBC Two comedy-thriller, "Psychoville," viewers will be able to press red to access the show's second episode.
  • Starting June 12th, fans of the BBC Two comedy show, "That Mitchell and Webb Look," will be able to press red to see the show's stars, Robert Webb and David Mitchell, introducing new sketches, as well as new animations that have been specially commissioned for the BBC's red-button service.

According to the BBC, its red-button service, which launched 10 years ago and which can be accessed from BBC channels on the UK's digital satellite, digital cable and digital terrestrial platforms, is currently used by 10 million viewers each week. Its regular features include a multiscreen display that is designed to enhance and supplement the corporation's sports coverage, and digital text services such as flight information.