From Limmy to Tinie Tempah, BBC announces new iPlayer original content for 2015
Staff Reporter | On 24, Jan 2015Reading time: 7 mins
The BBC has announced a new line-up of original content for 2015.
“BBC iPlayer presents a huge creative opportunity to push the boundaries of storytelling and engage audiences in new ways,” says Victoria Jaye, Head of TV Content for BBC iPlayer.
The Beeb has certainly never been afraid to try and engage new audiences or new content. While the organisation prepares to turn BBC Three into an online-only channel, it has released a growing catalogue of content directly on iPlayer, from a Frankie Boyle-hosted dissection of the Scottish referendum and early premieres of TV series to a host of “Comedy Feeds” giving a platform to young homegrown talent.
Last year also saw a string of comedy and drama shorts from more established names, bringing short-form storytelling into a higher profile spotlight that it might once have enjoyed years ago on terrestrial TV.
Now, the BBC has revealed some of its plans for this year’s video content. They start tomorrow in striking fashion with the premiere of Adam Curtis’ experimental documentary Bitter Lake, which the broadcaster describes as one its “most significant” online commissions to date. The film explores what happened in Afghanistan and its legacy, by drawing on the unedited rushes of almost everything the BBC has ever shot in the country – you can read more about it and watch a teaser here.
On Friday 13th February, nine original comedy shorts will go live on BBC iPlayer, including talent such as Limmy, Bill Bailey, Matt Berry (following up his previous iPlayer short from 2014), Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe, Nick Helm, Modern Toss, Russ Abbott and Katy Wix. Called “Funny Valentines”, the series will see each comedian bring their unique take on the international day of love to the web.
Following on from the success of Original Drama Shorts in 2014, BBC iPlayer will also offer a second season of three shorts in collaboration with BBC Three, giving the writers and directors of Oakwood, Playing Ball and Is This Thing On? their first ever TV drama credits.
Factual programming will continue with the ongoing Private View series, a nifty strand that opens up art galleries to the widest possible audience for free.
Hosted by contemporary artists or personalities with a real passion for the work featured in the exhibition, the series marks an important collaboration with British arts institutions, offering an up-close look around exhibitions on TVs, computers or mobile devices.
In March, multi-award-winning artist Tinie Tempah will take viewers on a tour of the V&A’s enormous retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s work. He gets up close to the bold and beautiful designs that shocked and amazed audiences and secured his place in fashion history.
Later in 2015, BBC iPlayer will also collaborate with Turner Contemporary and Tate Liverpool to bring Private Views of Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry and influential abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock respectively.
In a similar vein, Abbey Clancy will also return to iPlayer for London Fashion Week, taking an in-depth look at one of 2015’s most high-profile events in the fashion calendar.
“Our exclusive content for 2015 demonstrates how established and emerging British artists, along with cultural organisations, are seizing this opportunity to create bold, original new work,” adds Jaye.
“This is a glimpse of iPlayer’s next wave of innovation.”
Here’s the full line-up of shorts on their way in the coming months:
2015 iPlayer Original Comedy Shorts – Funny Valentines
A Wee Video For The Lassies
Brian Limond, aka. Limmy, creates a brand-new character: a nervous romantic filming his clip for a dating website. He’s single, looking for love and eager to open up and tell you a bit about himself. He’s got a twinkle in his eye, a good sense of humour and a grisly, violent backstory. Executive Producer: Rab Christie. Comedy Unit.
Bill Bailey re-imagines one of his most popular songs in this spoof music video poking fun at the earnestness of romantic rock. A solitary, obsessive loner’s life is turned upside down by a beautiful, mysterious woman, played by Emma Thompson. She opens his eyes to a whole new world and for a brief moment, he is in paradise. Executive Producer: Kris Bailey. Glassbox Productions.
The Sequel to Matt Berry’s maverick wildlife ‘documentary’ Lone Wolf. Berry voices spectacular wildlife photography and explores some of the world’s most exotic and extraordinary beasts and the courtships and mating rituals they endure, in their pursuit of sex. Executive Producers: Lisa Clark and Bob Mortimer. Pett Television.
A Tale of 2 Roms
First dates don’t come with user instructions and it’s hard to know how best to conduct one’s self in the hunt for love. Luckily for Romesh Ranganathan, his alter ego is around and on hand to tear apart his seduction techniques and offer some dubious advice. A Tale of 2 Roms also stars Aisling Bea. Executive Producers: Lisa Clark and Bob Mortimer. Pett Television.
Established Norwegian band Monozygotic is launching a new album ‘Funny Valentines’ in the UK. This promo features extracts from their music videos and interviews with the band members. As the promo unfolds, we realize that all the band members have been romantically involved with each other and these experiences have influenced their sometimes rather bizarre song lyrics. Starring Sara Pascoe. Producer: Clelia Mountford. Executive producer: Sharon Horgan. Merman Films.
Modern Toss presents The Lady And The Fly
An emotionally charged and lavish six-minute animation with the epic sweep of a classic romantic melodrama. In this groundbreaking tale of inter-species heartbreak, a lovestruck fly falls for the woman of his dreams, only to find himself bound in a web of his own deluded nightmare. Voiced by Mackenzie Crook and Paul Kaye, this Valentine’s Day treat will lift you up where you belong, on the wings of a soaring fly. Written by Jon Link & Mick Bunnage. Produced by Jane Harrison.
The story of a relationship in decline as Katy Wix decides to put pen to paper to tell the glamorous Frenchman who stole her heart that it’s over. This unconventional love story begins with a romantic meeting, but it’s not long before the cracks start to appear and, through a series of flashbacks, we see exactly where things went wrong. Executive Producer: Gill Isles. Baby Cow.
Written by and starring Nick Helm (Uncle) and Esther Smith (Cuckoo), Elephant sees two best friends while away a skint afternoon together walking around the backstreets of Brighton, trying to avoid what’s staring them both in the face. Why would they let the fact that they’ve fallen in love get in the way of them talking nonsense to each other? And what’s so wrong with settling for second best if it avoids an awkward conversation? Executive Producer: Neil Webster. Happy Tramp.
In Roy Clarke’s short, Russ Abbot plays Morris Roebuck, a man whose wife has left him and he’s had enough. He’s recording his ex-wife one final message as a goodbye and he ruminates on their life, God and Isobel from over the road who has been a ‘big comfort’ to him. Guest starring Felicity Montagu. Executive Producer: Gareth Edwards. BBC Comedy Productions.
2015 iPlayer Original Drama Shorts
In the suffocating silence of the countryside, 16 year-old William longs for the city, where he and his punk band can make all the noise they want. A poignant, funny coming-of-age story, this short follows William’s pursuit of his dreams. Written by Simon Longman and directed by Andrew Cumming.
When Charlie quits the netball team that her mother coaches, she kick-starts a chain of events that will test their relationship. Darkly comic, this short explores the relationship between mothers and daughters, and how far we will go for family. Written by Selina Lim and directed by Rachna Suri.
Is This Thing On?
An isolated horror fan announces that he’s going to kill himself live on a webcam. Will the people he meets online be able to save him? A bold and affecting story, this short examines how we can make connections in the online age. Written by Vinay Patel and directed by Max Myers.