BBC Unveils its Red-Button Interactive TV Schedule for This Week

--Viewers Invited to Create Trailers for "Digital Revolution"
--BBC in Archive MOU with British Library
--November Record for iPlayer

The BBC has announced the line-up of content that will be available through its red-button interactive TV service this week:

  • Around the December 19th finale of the reality TV show, "Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two," digital viewers will be able to press red to access a TV version of the show's Strictly Social Web site (note: the latter is a Flash-based two-screen application that allows viewers to make comments, predictions and more). According to the BBC, "some of the best features from the Strictly Social Web site will be quick-stepping it over to the BBC Red Button. Digital viewers will be able to press red to see what the nation is saying about television's favorite dance extravaganza," the corporation says, "while the host of the Strictly Social site invites users to share their opinions on some of the night's most pressing issues--i.e. 'Is Ola's dress hot or not?'" (Note: the red-button Strictly Social service was also offered in conjunction with "Strictly Come Dancing's" December 12th semi-final.) In addition, On December 17th, starting at 6:30PM, digital viewers in Scotland can press red to access uninterrupted coverage of "Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two"--in other areas, the show can be seen on BBC Two. (Note: neither "Strictly Come Dancing" red-button service is available on the UK's free-to-air satellite platform, Freeview.)
  • From December 14th-25th, 7:00AM-7:00PM, digital viewers will be able to press red to test their knowledge of the events of the past 12 months by playing the "'Newsround' End of Year Quiz" from the long-running children's news magazine, "Newsround." (Note: not available on Freesat.)
  • Through December 26th, digital viewers can press red to access a weekly updated selection of videos designed to supplement the BBC Two three-part Christmas special, "Victorian Farm." According to the corporation, the videos showcase, among other things, "the secrets of traditional gift and festive decoration making," and 19th century recipes and Christmas games. All 25 of the supplemental videos are available on the BBC's Victorian Christmas Web site (, together with printable templates and designs for making Victorian Christmas crackers, cards, gift boxes, tree ornaments, mince pies and more. (Note: not available on Freesat.)
  • At 10:25PM on December 16th, following the show's Wednesday night broadcast, digital viewers can press red to see Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus, the stars of the BBC Two satirical music series, "Never Mind the Buzzcocks," debating what the BBC calls "an Issue of Cultural Importance." According to the corporation, the debates to date have "revolved around the relative merits of Brian Ferry and ferries, and just who is the greatest: legendary glam-rockers Wizzard or, er, wizards." (Note: not available on Freesat.)
  • Late evenings on December 14th and 17th (and, also on December 15th and 18th on Sky and Virgin), digital viewers can press red to access exclusive additional content from Armando Ianucci's political comedy, "The Thick of It." (Note: not available on Freesat.)
  • On weekdays, around the clock, digital viewers can press red to access Video Choice, a recently launched feature on the BBC News Multiscreen application. The feature consists of a two-minute package of highlights which is billed as featuring the day's best picture stories, and which is put together by BBC News's On Demand team. On weekends, the daily highlights package is replaced by a topical video interview, entitled "Five Minutes with..." (Note: not available on Freesat or Freeview.)
  • A range of soccer-themed programming continues to be available through the red button: on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, digital viewers can press red to access "Lawro's Friday Focus," a show in which commentator, Mark Lawrenson, shares his predictions for the weekend's games (note: limited availability on Freeview); from 2:30PM on Saturday afternoons and on select midweek evenings, digital viewers can press red to access the soccer results show, "Final Score"; and on Sunday mornings until noon, digital viewers can press red to access the BBC One Football League round-up show, "The Football League Show" (note: not available on Freeview).
  • Through December 15th, digital viewers can press red to access a show highlighting the contenders for the Sport Personality of the Year 2009 award (note: limited availability on Freeview).
  • From 8:00PM on December 16th (note: finishes early on Freeview) and from 9:00PM on December 18th (note: not available on Freeview), digital viewers can press red to access coverage of the Dressage event from the Olympia Horse show. In addition, from 10:45PM on December 18th, digital viewers can press red to access highlights of the event.
  • From 7:00PM on December 18th, digital viewers can press red to access live coverage of the "Duel in the Pool" swimming competition in Manchester. This coverage, and all the sports coverage listed above, is offered through the BBC Sport Multiscreen, a 24/7 red-button application that provides up to five screens of extra coverage as well as round-the-clock headlines.

In other BBC news:

  • The corporation is inviting viewers to use rushes that have been made available on the project's Web site to create a trailer or short film promoting "Digital Revolution" a project that sees the BBC teaming with World Wide Web inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, to create a four-part documentary series that is marking the 20th anniversary of the Web's invention by taking an "open source approach to its production process" (note: for more on the project, see the article published on, July 13th, and the interview with BBC senior producer, Russell Barnes, published August 6th). According to a posting on the BBC Internet blog, "your short film or trailer could win a promo spot on the BBC homepage and be seen by hundreds of thousands of people" and "the winners will also be invited to attend a documentary masterclass at the BBC and meet with a BBC Multiplatform commissioning executive."
  • The corporation has signed an MOU with another venerable UK institution, the British Library: "Managed by a joint steering committee, the MOU seeks to develop new ways of integrating access to nearly a million hours of BBC TV and radio content and more than 150 million British Library items--significantly increasing access to research material across both national institutions for the benefit of researchers and the wider public," a joint press release states. According to the BBC, the BBC Archive contains close to a million hours of TV and radio programs.
  • The corporation says that November saw a record 59.6 million requests to view TV programs on its BBC iPlayer service, compared with 53.2 million in October.