The Last Hours of Laura K: The future of television?
James R | On 09, Apr 2015
The future of television is something that we ponder quite a bit here at VODzilla.co HQ. Will it be linear? Unlikely. Will it all be subscription-based? Quite possibly. But will it be interactive? That’s an interesting question the BBC may well be answering right now.
Last month, the broadcaster released a new online mystery: The Last Hours of Laura K. Previously unseen footage, social media evidence, clues laid over several months. It could easily be the new serial – with one key difference: the audience have to solve the crime themselves.
The concept was created by a team of writers following a BBC Writersroom Innovation lab, led by Creative Director Kate Rowland.
Viewers will able to stream 24 hours of video from fictional surveillance programme SATURNEYE to get an “intimate, unfiltered and impartial” look at Laura’s last hours before her death.
The 24-hour video file combines with Laura’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds to provide hints and motives to help users identify the killer. As a result, the narrative is stretched over 40 character profiles already live on social media, as well as an alternative news blog, SP117.
“The project, inspired by the Edward Snowden quote, ‘I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity, love or friendship, is recorded’, challenges the traditional conventions of storytelling, and questions how we live our lives now,” says Rowland.
The writers behind the project include Gabriel Bisset Smith, who also directs; Rachel Delahey, who plays Laura Kitchens; Kenny Emson; and Ed Sellek, working closely with producer Jon Davenport and Kate Rowland.
The final day of Laura’s life was filmed over 16 days across London, from the Southbank and St Martins at Kings Cross to Farringdon and Dalston. The shoot was carried out by a small, dedicated team working with a set of step ladders and a bag of Go pro cameras.
Low-budget filming techniques. Innovative storytelling. Audience involvement. Could this be what TV looks like in the future? In an age where second screens are increasingly the norm for viewers, the idea of combining them into one new, interactive format is an exciting glimpse of how entertainment could evolve.
Let us know below if you’ve tried to solve the mystery – or, if you have already had a go, how long it took you to find the answer!