BBC launches iPlayer-exclusive comedies and dramas (Wired UK)


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The BBC is committing
to the original content game, taking on the likes of Netflix with an array of
comedies and short dramas that will be exclusive to its iPlayer streaming
platform.

The new series will spotlight several of the UK’s most popular
comedians, including Jo Brand, Matt Berry, and Frankie Boyle. The
trio will host shows looking at various aspects of modern Britain,
from art to the upcoming general election.

Berry’s series launches first, debuting 5 April and described as
a “topical comedy”. Each episode of Matt Berry Does….
will tackle a different subject, starting with the Oxford-Cambridge
boat race. In May, Boyle will be presenting a one-off Election
Autopsy
, turning his caustic brand of humour on the upcoming
vote as he did with the similar Scottish Referendum
Autopsy
last year. Rather than a comedy special, Jo Brand
will be hosting a new edition of the arts-focussed Private
View
, looking at Turner Contemporary’s exhibition of the
works of Grayson
Perry
, also in May.

More original comedy comes in the form of Fast Cuts, a
series of shorts centred on emerging British Muslim comedians that
launches in June, and a planned second season of Funny
Valentines
 for 2016.

Other original productions include October’s horror documentary
Fear Itself (working title), looking at a century’s worth
of terrifying cinema; Women Who Spit, set for summer with
five female poets exploring youth culture; and a return of romantic
drama My
Jihad
, one of the BBC’s first attempts at original iPlayer
content, also set for summer.

“I’m thrilled to have such a vast range of fantastic content
coming exclusively to iPlayer in the next few months,” said
Victoria Jaye, iPlayer’s head of TV content. “BBC iPlayer is fast
becoming one of the most exciting places for British writers,
artists and film makers to create ambitious new work, from original
comedy and drama, to feature length documentaries and topical arts
and entertainment.”

The number of individual requests for iPlayer content has
tripled over the last year, showing a significant shift in viewing
patterns and making the BBC’s push for more unique programming a
canny one. One last new show, This Week on iPlayer (another working
title, and a boring one at that), is set for late 2015, showcasing
the selection available on the service in a given week.

More brand new programming is a good sign of the BBC’s growing
focus on iPlayer as more than a catch up service. While it’s still
a far cry from having the full Beeb catalogue available on demand
that many would like to see, instead of the current cycling of
content, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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23 March 2015 | 6:30 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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