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BBC Multi-platform controller: "Games are something the BBC should be doing"

Simon Nelson believes bringing games to a wider audience is part of the BBC's public service remit.

Talking to us about their forthcoming series of free Dr Who Adventure games Nelson, who led the corporation's ventures into podcasting and on-demand content, explained how the BBC decided to get serious about making proper games.

"We definitely see it as part of the BBC's remit to introduce people to new technology or new aspects of of technology which they might be unfamiliar or uncomfortable," he said.

"We've been looking an opportunity to do something on a scale that Dr Who - probably our key storytelling brand - deserves."

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Here's the full transcript of what Simon told us about games and the BBC.

Simon Nelson, Multi-Platform Controller, BBC

We've always done interesting web stuff with Doctor Who, but we really wanted to try and focus some of our resources and attention on doing something really big. [We wanted to] exploit this universe that's built up around Doctor Who and trying to find new ways for this very passionate audience to engage with it. This idea was developed jointly by ourselves and the developers, and I'm excited about it as anything I've ever done in media.

It feels like a natural development to everything we've been doing with experimenting with drama, storytelling and the new medium of the Internet. We've been able to do interesting stuff in original online drama, in creating play-along opportunities, interactive drama extensions and learned a lot of lessons of what worked and what hasn't. With Doctor Who, we know the audience doesn't just want to watch - it wants to play along and really be able to immerse themselves in the stories we create.

The mantra is fewer, bigger, better online. We've been looking an opportunity to do something on a scale that Doctor Who - probably our key storytelling brand - deserves.

We take different approaches for different brands. For Eastenders, we created a spin-off online drama where we introduced new characters and created 12 short-form episodes that basically introduce them to the square with an interlocking narrative. To do something on the same production values as Doctor Who, traditional online drama would not really be using the opportunity the new creative potential enables. It was right for Eastenders, but not for Doctor Who. The key is to look at each brand on its merits, its audience and what it's familiar with doing... and see where to stretch things further. So, Being Human is creating backstory for all the characters, how they became a werewolf or a vampire or a ghost. There's all sorts of tools you can give the writers and producers of these shows to really extend the story and the narrative, and encourage the passionate fan to get a more rewarding experience. Just don't screw up the drama when you're doing it. If the drama isn't really good, then you can damage the overall brand rather than add to it. So we pick our titles really carefully.

We definitely see it as part of the BBC's remit to introduce people to new technology or new aspects of of technology which they might be unfamiliar or uncomfortable. I always see it as a prime purpose of the BBC website to help people make their first steps to doing something online - whether it's watching video or basic surfing. I'm very excited about the potential of what we're doing with Doctor Who to introduce episodes of Adventure Gaming to a mass audience who wouldn't normally dream of going to anything similar... and maybe a bit intimidated by it. We're trying to make this as welcoming to a mass audience as possible without compromising the gameplay and the ambition of the narrative in doing so. And I think this team may be able to pull it off.

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