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

--Begins New Trial of "Radio Visualization," Including Interactive Enhancements

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

  • Viewers of the long-running children's magazine show, "Blue Peter" (airs on the CBBC channel and in the CBBC block on BBC One), will be able to press red to see what happens when one of the show's presenters, Joel Defries, goes behind the camera to direct his fellow presenters and the show's studio crew. (June 16th-21st; daytime only; not available on Freesat.)
  • Immediately 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. (Not available on Freesat.)
  • Immediately following the show's June 11th broadcast, and from June 12th-19th (9:00PM-4:00AM), 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. (Not available on Freesat.)
  • After broadcasts of the popular BBC Two 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. (June 8th-11th; not available on Freesat.)
  • From 7:30PM-4:00AM, June 19th-21st, viewers will be able to press red to view highlights of an appearance before a live audience at the Edinburgh International Film Festival by BBC Radio 5 Live film critics, Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode (note: Kermode is a regular guest on Mayo's radio show). (Not available on Freesat.)
  • Following the June 8th broadcast of the 1980's-themed BBC One "Life on Mars" spin-off, "Ashes to Ashes," viewers will be able to press red to watch music videos from such seminal 80's bands as Duran Duran, Human League and Dexy's Midnight Runners. (Not available on Freesat.)
  • During the June 11th and 18th broadcasts of the political panel talk show, "Question Time," viewers will, as always, be able to view information on the show's panelists and discussion topics, as well as a selection of comments texted in by viewers, on Red Button page 155.
  • From June 8th-12th, the BBC Sport multiscreen red-button service (offers headlines and up to five additional streams of sports coverage) will offer extended live coverage of the Queen's Club Tennis Championships; and from June 13th-15th, the service will offer replays of the tournament (except on Freeview).
  • Prior to the BBC's broadcast coverage of the June 19th British Grand Prix, the BBC Sport multiscreen will 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, and highlights will be available through June 22nd.
  • From June 14th-28th, all afternoon games from the 8th FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as the third-place play-off, will be available live on the BBC Sport multiscreen.
  • For round six of the MotoGP bike-racing season, which will take place June 13th in Catalunya, Spain, the BBC Sport multiscreen will offer coverage of Saturday-afternoon qualifying sessions, as well as a post-race program entitled "MotoGP Extra" (through June 16th).
  • From June 7th-9th, the BBC Sport multiscreen will show highlights of the Derby horserace.
  • As always, a rotating selection of games, based on its programs, will be available on the CBeebies children's channel's red-button service.

In other BBC news: The corporation last week launched the second phase of an ongoing trial of "radio visualization" that sees it offering enhanced and interactive online versions of various shows, including "The Simon Mayo Show" on BBC Radio 5 Live, "The Chris Moyles Show" and "Switch" on BBC Radio 1, "Material World" on BBC Radio 4, and "The Hub" on BBC 6 Music. According to the corporation, online audiences will be able to view "glanceable" content associated with each of the shows, including Webcam streams, images, now playing and artist information, and news and sports feeds, and will also be able to interact with shows--first through a pop-up console online, and later in the trial by downloading an application to their mobile (note: the mobile app, which will not support live video, will be available for a selection of mobile devices that have been chosen based on analysis of mobile traffic to BBC Audio & Music sites). Listeners to "The Simon Mayo Show," for example, will be able to see what happens in the studio, watch guests being interviewed and read other listeners' text and email messages, the BBC says. In addition, as a result of feedback the BBC received during the first phase of the trial in January, audiences will be able to access on-demand content: the first such offering will be a 45-minute compilation of highlights from the past week of "The Simon Mayo Show" that will be available every Friday.

The BBC says that the trial, which will run through July 31st, will allow its BBC Audio & Music Interactive arm to assess the public's appetite for enhanced, visual radio offerings and share its findings with the rest of the UK radio industry. "The visualization console is about enriching the digital listening experience," Mark Friend, controller of multiplatform and interactive for BBC Audio & Music, said in a prepared statement. "More people are consuming radio on different platforms and on devices that have screens. Just as DAB listeners might glance at their screen to see what track is playing or what DJ is coming up next, the visualization console experiments with putting all of our glanceable content in a single place in order to create a richer user experience."