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Britain From Above...

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Nick Cohen Nick Cohen | 08:01 UK time, Friday, 8 August 2008

...You Should See The View From Here!

There's been a lot of buzz online this week about the launch of Britain From Above, our latest big "multiplatform" project, where TV and online producers have worked together to reveal some of the extraordinary unseen stories of how Britain works.


Current, Make, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Map Room and others picked up on the pre-release pictures and CGI visualisation video - called "GPS performance art" by the Huffington Post.

Well, I'm happy to say that the full site goes live today and features full versions of those sequences, more video from the TV shows and exclusive web material, designed and produced by Lion TV and Numiko.

It's one of the first times we've created a series like this with online in mind (and part of the team) from the ground up. That meant that even right at the outset - during scriptwriting and storyboarding - the team was thinking about how every last aspect of what they were capturing would work online.  

One nice new feature is embeddable video: you can click on "SHARE" and host the clips, for example in your blog - like this:

Britain From Above is one of the first BBC sites to enable this function, so it would be great to hear how it works for you in the comments below.

Some of the other features include:

  • Photography from Jason Hawkes, one of the world's foremost aerial photographers and key contributor on the project
  • A map interface to all the video and photos, latitude/longitude metadata for every item and a list of all the video as a .kml download (coming soon, once all the content is live)
  • Information on the expert contributors behind the show

And the BBC Archive team has also released an online collection to tie in with the project. Aerial Journeys features some real gems including the BBC's first aerial broadcast and a 1960s series, Bird's Eye View, by none other than John Betjeman. You can see the full selection here.


I hope you enjoy!

Nick Cohen is a Multiplatform Commissioning Executive.


  • Comment number 1.

    What a great site. I love the homepage navigation, its so clean. Very visual, yet structured and with supplementray information just a rollover away.

    Can't wait for this series to begin, genuinely excited to see this...

  • Comment number 2.

    ‘One nice new feature is embeddable video: you can click on "SHARE" and host the clips, for example in your blog - like this:

    Britain From Above is one of the first BBC sites to enable this function, so it would be great to hear how it works for you in the comments below.’

    Excellently done for people without Flash! You might want to have a temporary replacement graphic, or a link for that…

  • Comment number 3.

    Will the programme shows pictures as 'live' video or will we be subjected to some 'artistic filmic' treatmant?

  • Comment number 4.

    Britain from Above ? Did I see the wrong programme tonight ? I only saw "The South from Above" ?!

  • Comment number 5.

    I laughed at tinmcc's comment and had to send one in support! I lived in London for years so I'm really interested in all things south but yes, it really was "The South from Above". Well, I guess more people live there....

  • Comment number 6.

    These two programmes are both yet to become available on iPlayer. This seems to be another symptom of a more general problem affecting iPlayer for the last five days.

    However both programmes appear in the iPlayer "Most popular" list and that is just impossible!

    You also have both programmes in the "Highlights" section of iPlayer! Hardly a highlight if you can't see it!!

    So the hype about this fantastic so-called "multiplatform" project has only served to reveal that you are fabricating its popularity..

    Shame on you!

    Oh and when will the programmes be able to be made available to wach on-line?

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks hannahg50 ... at least it was worth registering on bbc, if only to get one vote of support!

    I thought one person at the bbc might have heard of the MetroCentre.

    Although maybe they were on their way up here, passed signs for the Trafford Centre and thought ... "We're technically in the North now aren't we, surely this will do?"

    I laugh at the way they only realised that they had been filming just London when scripting the voice over.

    Even the cameo shots, when the voice over stated "Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the country ..." were filmed in London!!

    This meant the focus of the program went from London, to shots around the country (in London), to a feature on London ... !

  • Comment number 8.

    tinmcc gets my vote - although the programme was not as London-centric as I expected, given the BBC's normal attitude!.
    I enjoyed it, clangers notwithstanding. The Island of Ireland is not, and never has been, part of Britain! Even so, it was a very revealing programme, which goes a long way to deal with the "dumbing down" tendency.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks harbottle99. Agree, I enjoyed it, even if I did feel like a secondary school student in one of my very first geography "video" classes.

    It's the postmen I feel sorry for, they didn't even get a mention.

    Actually, come to mention it, perhaps this is why the BBC chose to leave the North out this week - next week will have a full feature on Cumbria / Postman Pat ...

  • Comment number 10.

    Contrary to what was said in the first programme, Traffic Separation/Routing Schemes ( the seaways along which ships must go in coastal waters ) are common throughout the world and not unique to the Dover Straits.

  • Comment number 11.

    Beautiful filming and effects! Breathtaking!

    What a shame about the Dolby Digital sound track only being in stereo! What a complete let down. I wanted to be immersed in the experience, but the sound made it so two dimensional.

  • Comment number 12.

    I was really looking forward to this series, I really liked 'Coast' and thought this would be as good, but I think I was watching 'London from Above', nearly every single story was London based, each of the stories could easily have been set in different parts of the country, does anybody know if the series actually does a better job of looking at the rest of Britain (outside london) in future episodes? If the next episode is the same I don't think I'll bother with the rest of the series.

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree that it was too London biased. Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm late to the party, but:
    This was a wonderful concept that got beautiful execution (the bits we in the States can see, anyway). The segments on air traffic control and the night lights were sophisticated and refined--just what we Americans tune into the BBC to see/hear. Please make more available eventually for those of us living elsewhere!


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