BBC to Air Interactive Thriller Series, "The Well," Targeted at Teens

--Vodafone-Sponsored Social Media-Integrated Series, "Who Killed Summer?," Launches

The BBC announced Thursday that BBC Switch, a BBC brand devoted to multiplatform content for teenagers (its offerings include programming blocks on BBC Two and Radio One, as well as an online portal), has commissioned digital production company, Conker Media (note: the latter is part of Lime Pictures, the company behind the soap opera, "Hollyoaks"), to create and produce an interactive, digital drama thriller targeted at its teen audience.

Entitled "The Well," the new show is slated to air in the fall on BBC Switch's programming block on BBC Two (Saturdays, 12:00-2:00PM), and will be supplemented by an extensive interactive presence on the BBC Switch Web site (bbc.co.uk/switch). According to the BBC, the show's Web presence will allow viewers to immerse themselves further in its story by, among other things, exploring a multi-level game that the corporation bills as "a spookily atmospheric recreation of the main drama location." By engaging with "The Well" through a series of tasks and challenges, the BBC says, viewers will be able to unlock hidden content that reveals the show's backstory.

The entire "The Well" experience--both the TV series and its online interactive enhancements--has been created by Melvin Burgess, an author of young-adult fiction who is a recipient of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. The show--which stars Karen Gillan, who was recently chosen as Doctor Who's latest companion--represents Burgess's first foray into digital media and TV. "It's fantastic to have a writer of Melvin's caliber involved in this project,' Geoffrey Goodwin, head of BBC Switch, said in a prepared statement. "'The Well' is a great example of Switch's strategy to produce a broad range of high-quality and exciting content for British teens, combining both established and new talent with distinctive interactive ideas." Added Lee Hardman, head of Conker Media: "The Well bridges the gap between traditional TV and digital media by showing the creative potential of multi-layered drama in terms of storytelling. This approach deepens the audience's engagement with the story and enables them to get one step ahead of the TV drama--something that works particularly well with the Switch audience."

According to the BBC, "The Well" centers on a derelict building, which contains a long-forgotten well that happens to be the resting place of a dormant malevolent force: when the house changes owners and renovations begin, four teenage friends uncover the well and unwittingly release the force. "The Well" is the second major interactive project to be announced by BBC Switch this year: in May, it announced that it had started production of a new multiplatform interactive TV soap opera called "The Cut," which will offer five-minute episodes on the BBC Switch Web site as well as a weekly omnibus edition on BBC Two. According to the BBC, "The Cut's" Web site will seek ongoing "feedback and ideas" from its teen audience--including storyline suggestions--in order to keep the show topical and relevant. The corporation also says that, once the show debuts, it plans to cast a new character and that audiences will have the opportunity to be involved in this process. (Note: For more on "The Cut," see the article published on itvt.com, May 14th.)

In related news: MWorks, EI, Hideous Productions and Big Balls Films (the company behind "Kate Modern") have teamed on a 20-episode online/mobile drama entitled "Who Killed Summer?" The show, which is sponsored by Vodafone and which launched last week, is a mock-reality TV series that is billed as following "six young, hot music lovers from across Europe" as they "hit the hottest gigs, the best festivals and the wildest parties, capturing content on their mobiles, while a film crew records every intimate moment in high definition." One of the six "young, hot music lovers" will, of course, be murdered. The show, which can be viewed on a dedicated Web site (wks09.com), via an embeddable widget, or via a downloadable mobile application, invites viewers to follow its characters via Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, as well as via its various characters' blogs.

Region: 
UK/Ireland