BBC Three has announced its first interactive episode, High Wood, as part of new drama series Our World War.
Inspired by the BAFTA award-winning series Our War, which tracked the first-hand experiences of British troops on the frontline in Afghanistan, High Wood is available online and on tablets from 9pm tonight (14 August) and tells the story of the 1st South Staffordshire Battalion during the battle of High Wood at the Somme, blending broadcast quality drama with animation to put the viewer in charge.
On behalf of Corporal Arthur Foulkes viewers will be able to make the decisions that impact the regiment using on-screen buttons. Each decision made will have its own unique ramifications and may also lead to unexpected outcomes as the episode progresses.
Chris Sizemore, executive editor of BBC iWonder, said the episode was a “unique opportunity to reach younger audiences” as it turns “viewers into participants”.
Split into three parts, viewers will be able to see how they’re progressing at the end of each narrative via a feedback screen. Feedback includes a comparison between the viewer’s choices and the most likely route a solider in 1916 would have taken and a morale score showing how the viewer’s decisions are affecting the men they’re leading.
At the end of the episode viewers can further their knowledge of WW1 by exploring the BBC iWonder guides.
“iWonder is all about creating formats that can unlock the learning potential of great stories right across the BBC in a way that's entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking. We're really looking forward to hearing what our audiences think of this highly immersive experiential drama,” added Sizemore.
Adrian Van Klaveren, controller, World War One Centenary, commented: “The BBC's World One season is aiming to help people have a better understanding of the First World War. Part of that is trying to imagine what it must have felt like to be thrust into combat - literally fighting for your life and that of your fellow men. Based on a real battle, this interactive episode of Our World War gives younger audiences the opportunity to understand how strategic decisions made in the heat of battle really did mean the difference between life and death.”
The interactive episode, written by Marco Crivellari and directed by Scott Rawsthorne and Jon Shaikh, was commissioned and produced by BBC Learning, which plays a central part in meeting the BBC’s purpose of promoting education and learning, including the commissioning of iWonder content.
The interactive episode launch comes as BBC Three prepares to go online only after being cut earlier in the year.