Yesterday something small but significant happened. Instead of disappearing from iPlayer when its 7 days were up, the first Episode of The Complete Smiley - The Spy Who Came in From the Cold stayed put. Which means that you can go back and listen to it before listening to Episode 2.

    The unusual behaviour of The Spy is down to the "Series catch-up" feature of iPlayer - something that's been on offer for some TV series for a while, and which we're now starting to trial for radio programmes. Series catch-up means that all the episodes in a series are available until 7 days after the final episode is broadcast. So you don't have to worry about keeping up each week, but can catch up with the story so far at any point during the series.

    There will be around 30 series in the trial between now and mid January, including quite a few from Radio 4. Most of the le Carré season will be included as well as an exciting Dickens serialisation and a complete series of Behind Closed Doors later in the year.

    The reason that we're only offering a limited number of series is because this is a trial. The BBC already has permission from the BBC Trust, who regulate what we do, to offer TV programmes with series catch-up, but we don't yet have permission for radio. We're running the trial to find out how useful or interesting people think this is, and to establish what it would mean to offer it more widely. If all goes well we'll then use the information from the trial to ask for permission to offer series catch-up as a permanent feature.

    I realise the BBC's internal processes may sometimes seem a touch bureaucratic, but it's important that we find out how popular or useful a new feature might be, how much it might cost, and also what impact it might have on the wider industry, before we decide whether to launch it. This particular trial is limited to 30 series, and we've picked them from across networks and genres to make sure we get a broad range of feedback (here's a list of the Radio 4 series included).

    If you're interested in telling us what you think about series catch-up, as part of this trial, then you can take part in a survey that we're running. There's a link below, along with some more info. I'll also be happy to respond to any comments you post on this blog over the next couple of weeks.

    Sarah Prag is Executive Producer, Audio Services at BBC Audio & Music Interactive

    Comments

    This entry is now closed for comments.

    • Comment number 9. Posted by robneave

      on 17 Jul 2009 09:43

      Can we assume that at some point in the (not too) distant future that these will end up on Radio 7?

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 9: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 9: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 8. Posted by Briantist

      on 16 Jul 2009 06:14

      About time, this might get a lot more people interested in radio drama ("where the pictures are better") because you can start listening at the beginning.

      Still, Auntie is still chopping off all her other "long tail"s.

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 8: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 8: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 7. Posted by AusNiall

      on 16 Jul 2009 02:13

      The Classic Serial
      And here I thought I would be able to get the whole Smiley's People. Can't you please, please put up the whole series starting from the beginning?

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 7: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 7: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 6. Posted by Sarah_Prag

      on 15 Jul 2009 16:44

      Fifi, I'm sorry to hear that you were having problems listening to the latest episode. Were you trying to listen to the "lower bandwidth version"? If so, there was unfortunately a problem with this version which was fixed late yesterday afternoon. You should find it works for you now!

      Sarah Prag, Executive Producer, Audio Services, Audio & Music Interactive

    • Comment number 5. Posted by Steve Bowbrick

      on 14 Jul 2009 17:42

      @Wonko the Sane You're right. The terms of these Trust-supervised trials are pretty strict - so only series that go out within the six months of the trial proper can be included.

      Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 5: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 5: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 4. Posted by robneave

      on 14 Jul 2009 14:49

      Hmmm...

      The Smiley catch-up seems to be limited to the one that's on now. If you missed the first two in the series Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality then tough.

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 4: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 4: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 3. Posted by Baz

      on 14 Jul 2009 14:05

      Interesting idea. I know from trying it out on the TV iplayer at a friend's house that it wasn't immediately clear when the series would be taken down again.

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 3: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 3: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 2. Posted by Forget It

      on 14 Jul 2009 06:07

      This is a nice start.

      With the "Catch up" label there is scope for confusion - since BBC Radio 7 is already using it for their week-end block of repeats. Which last for no more than 7 days on the iPlayer. Perhaps they could be persuaded otherwise?

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 2: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 2: 0
      Loading…
    • Comment number 1. Posted by Fifi

      on 13 Jul 2009 16:47

      I would have been more impressed if I'd been able to listen to Episode 2 today, instead of the depressing Afternoon Play being broadcast.

      It's 'not available yet'. Grrrrrr!

      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 1: 0
      • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 1: 0
      Loading…

    More Posts

    Previous

    Next