BBC announces multi-platform offering for UK teenagers
The BBC announced today (Thursday 20 September) details of new content aimed at 12 to 16-year-olds, across TV, radio and on the web. BBC Switch will be an extension and improvement of the BBC's offering for 12-16 year olds and will not involve a new channel or service.
BBC Switch will include:
BBC Switch on BBC Two
Two brand new shows will launch in the new BBC Two slot, dedicated to teenagers. The slot will begin on Saturday 20 October on BBC Two on Saturday afternoons (transmission time to be confirmed).
A weekly music TV show Sound, co-hosted by Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac and new signing Nick Grimshaw. Focusing on the best new UK music the show has no studio base and will be filmed at outside locations across the country. Sound will be fast-paced, showcasing the most exciting new music while mixing up live performances and interviews across a variety of genres.
A new drama Falcon Beach launches on Saturday 20 October. The show revolves around the lives of central characters Jason, Paige, Tanya and Lane in the beautiful sun-soaked town of Falcon Beach. This is an addictive coming-of-age drama about teenagers, their passions, relationships, friends, families and enemies.
BBC Switch on Radio 1
From Sunday 14 October, BBC Radio 1 will launch a five hour teen slot on Sunday nights. Annie Mac will host a new show (7-10pm) and new Radio 1 signing Kelly Osbourne fronts Radio 1's Surgery (10pm-midnight).
Switch With Annie Mac – featuring the best specialist music, the week's hottest gossip, and behind-the-scenes news and live tracks from Sound. There will be a focus on the big online stories of the week from across the social networking world, featuring hot new tracks, bloggers, vloggers and websites. Annie's army of listeners will actively participate in the show and there will be insider information on everything from EastEnders to World of Warcraft.
The Surgery With Kelly Osbourne – new Radio 1 presenter Kelly Osbourne will host this multi-award-winning, live phone-in advice show. The Surgery will continue to build on its reputation for frank and challenging audience discussion, offering practical advice and information as well as listening to the concerns and opinions of the listeners. Each week, Kelly will be joined in the studio by an expert and Radio 1's regular medical expert, Dr Mark Hamilton, will also be on call.
BBC Switch online
Switch online launches on Sunday 14 October. The site is an online portal for teens to access content across the BBC services they love, including Radio 1, 1Xtra, Slink, Blast, EastEnders and:
Signs Of Life – a ground-breaking, online interactive drama. It is the biggest commission of its kind and consists of eight episodes. Players move between watching the drama unfold and interacting with the plot. The adventure follows Daisy, her jealous boyfriend Joe, and Joe's mysterious father Max and is a mix of drama, games and psychological tests centring on astrological events in an English village. The emotional themes of each episode are further explored via interactive personality tests. Players can save and share the results of the personality test as widgets that appear on their own social networking page.
THEM – a definitive web guide to the "tribes" that exist within the UK today, informed by the young people that belong to them.
The Surgery – a useful source of clear and frank information for teenagers about personal issues such as relationships, puberty and health. The site is written for girls and boys aged 12 to 16 and is also the primary online destination for Radio 1 listeners in need of advice.
Slink – an online magazine for girls aged 12 to 16. Full of entertainment, chat and advice. The site is a safe and friendly place for girls to be themselves, watch interviews with their favourite stars, play games, get vocal about the issues affecting their lives and, with help from Slink's panel of experts, confront their problems from acne to exams.
BBC Switch and Radio 1 partnered events
BBC Switch will partner with the first Radio 1 under-18s event to be held at Wembley Arena in November. The event, the biggest under 18s event of its kind, will be hosted by Radio 1 DJs and feature some of the best UK and international artists.
Jana Bennett, Director BBC Vision, said: "I am incredibly proud of the work being done by Andy Pariftt and his team, it is great to have this project as part of BBC Vision.
"BBC Switch reflects exactly the way we want to work within Vision, bringing together content and programming in a way that feels natural to our audience. These initiatives announced today work in a completely complementary way and bring innovative programming to a very important audience."
Andy Parfitt, Controller, Radio 1, 1Xtra and BBC Switch, said: "This is a big step in delivering the vision that was set out in Creative Futures. The BBC connects with young children in a very significant way, but when they reach their secondary school years this relationship is not as strong.
"Our aim is to make distinctive and powerful content 12 to 16 year olds can embrace and, through our work with BBC Vision, Radio 1 and online, I feel we are achieving that. We've worked hard to really get to know this audience and the insights we have collected are at the heart of everything we will do.
"This announcement completes a wide range of changes and initiatives across which all deliver this October – together they give us a great opportunity to build the BBC's relationship with younger audiences."
Geoffrey Goodwin, Head of BBC Switch, said: "We have aimed to create high quality, innovative content across multiple platforms, particularly concentrating on the digital sphere.
"It is clear to us that storytelling is important to our audience and we have developed new narrative formats online such as the successful Wannabees and now Signs Of Life. It is of utmost importance that we deliver to young people a truly 360 degree experience with this content."
Annie Mac said: "I'm really honoured and excited to be involved with BBC Switch on Sunday nights. The show is going to be like nothing heard on radio before. It's a proper challenge for me and something I can't wait to get stuck in to.
"As for Sound, I'm really looking forward to working with Grimmy and the opportunity to showcase new and upcoming bands on TV is truly exciting for me, it's so important that music gets this kind of TV exposure."
Nick Grimshaw said: "I'm really excited to be working on the show, especially with Mac – I saw her crowd surf recently and fell for her. Filming the pilot was fun enough so to get the chance to do this weekly is awesome.
"The show is focusing on new and live music and that's where my heart lies. I can't wait to start work on it and sneak random bands I love into the show."
Kelly Osbourne said: "I grew up listening to Radio 1 and I'm so excited and honoured to be joining the station's Surgery show. What's important to me is we'll be giving teenage listeners thoughtful, honest and realistic advice on a whole range of issues – without being patronising!"
Notes to Editors
BBC Vision is the biggest integrated multimedia broadcast and production group of its kind in the world. BBC Vision – so called because it makes BBC content that people watch – is led by Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, and comprises Vision Studios led by Peter Salmon; Vision Operations led by Bal Samra; Multiplatform Commissioning; and the channels and services BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies, as well as Learning.
In his role as Controller of BBC Switch, Andy Parfitt reports to Jana Bennett, Director, Vision. In his role as Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra he continues to report to Jenny Abramsky, Director, Audio and Music.
In June 2006, the BBC appointed Andy Parfitt, Controller of Radio 1, to lead the development of plans to improve its offering to Britain's teens. The appointment followed the unveiling by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson of Creative Futures, the corporation's editorial vision for the digital age.
Andy Parfitt's role has been to develop ideas for programming and content aimed at 12 to 16 year olds, delivered through existing broadband, TV and radio services.
Signs Of Life is produced by BBC Vision and independent production company Endemol UK. It is the largest commission of its kind from the BBC and the year-long production of Signs Of Life has seen television talent working in a new alliance with Endemol UK's award-winning digital unit Victoria Real.
Falcon Beach is an acquired drama from Canada made by Original Pictures and Insight Productions, and distributed in Europe by Fremantle Media. It has been shot on location at Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Falcon Beach was developed for Global Television in Canada and ABC Family in the US and launched in May 2006.