BBC commissions original iPlayer dramas

iPlayer A record 272 million iPlayer requests for TV and radio programmes were made in January.

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The BBC has commissioned its first original dramas for its catch-up service iPlayer.

Six short films will be broadcast over the next two years by "up and coming talent" as part of a BBC Three strand.

Some comedy pilots and spin-offs from other shows have previously been screened on iPlayer, including Doctor Who mini-series Pond Life.

However this is the first time original drama programming has been created specifically for the service.

Victoria Jaye, BBC's head of TV online content, said it would help to explore "storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration".

BBC Three controller Zai Bennett added: "This new drama strand is exactly the kind of venture BBC Three is all about."

A record 272 million iPlayer requests for TV and radio programmes were made in January - up 26% on the previous month thanks to new mobile and tablet devices unwrapped on Christmas Day.

The most popular TV programmes requested include David Attenborough series Africa, Top Gear and Miranda.

Figures from the BBC showed usage of the service has grown some 42% in the 12 months to January 2013.

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