Make it Digital

BBC launches flagship UK-wide initiative to inspire a new generation with digital technology

Television Brands

Date: 12.03.2015     Last updated: 10.06.2015 at 12.39

Doctor Who
Doctor Who will help inspire its audiences to get coding with digital technology through a major update to the popular The Doctor And The Dalek coding game, and an upcoming nationwide challenge.

Building on the success of The Doctor And The Dalek, fans will be able to get under the hood and create their own levels. Users will be able to access a wide variety of designs to create their very own Doctor Who platformer.

The first version of the game focused on the demystification of coding and picking up basic programming principles. The new update, expected to arrive around autumn, will continue to use the game’s existing pseudo code, but also gradually increase in complexity. Support packs for teachers and parents will also be updated, alongside interviews with experts giving tips on how to build the best levels.

In addition to the game and in the run-up to the new series airing in autumn of this year, a nationwide challenge will launch. The aim is to encourage and celebrate fan creativity and showcase some of our audience's amazing user-generated content that has gathered millions of views online and has even made it onto the show. More detailed will be announced in due course.

EastEnders will link in with BBC Make It Digital by inviting audiences online to get involved, use their digital creativity and engage with the show in an entirely new way. By launching a new online kit this September, EastEnders will let fans give their own take on an upcoming storyline and create graphical versions of how they think a plot might play out. These alternative ideas and endings can be played on the EastEnders’ website, bringing fans into the heart of Britain's best loved soap.

The 2015 Dimbleby Lecture: Martha Lane Fox (BBC One)
Joining illustrious predecessors including Christine Lagarde, Bill Gates, Sir Terry Pratchett and The Prince of Wales, Baroness Martha Lane-Fox will deliver BBC One’s annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on Monday 30 March 2015. It will be the 39th annual lecture held in honour of the veteran broadcaster, who died in 1965, and this year it will be presented by Jonathan Dimbleby.

Baroness Lane-Fox will challenge us all - leaders, legislators and users - to understand the internet more deeply and to be curious and critical in our digital lives. She will show how, only then, we will be able to tackle the most complex challenges facing our society.

Since co-founding in 1998, Baroness Lane-Fox has been a champion of digital culture and access in the UK. In 2013, she joined the House of Lords as crossbencher and she is currently Chancellor of the Open University and, chair of Go On UK, a charity that aims to increase Britain's internet access and basic digital skills.

The Weather Watchers Club on The One Show (BBC One)

The BBC’s Weather Watchers Club is a new, crowdsourced initiative that will invite people across the UK help tell the story of the weather where they live.

Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood will launch the Weather Watchers Club on The One Show. We're making it easy for anyone to join in. Individuals, families and schools will be able to tell us what’s happening to the weather in their area.

People across the UK will be able to contribute and upload photos, readings and data, including the temperature, rainfall, wind speed/ direction and air pressure.

There will be updates on the club on The One Show during the year, and the BBC’s Weather Centre will use the information, photos and data will help shape the BBC’s local weather output on air.

It's a chance for people to learn more about how weather works - and how forecasts are made. We'll give people the chance try their own hands at forecasting as well.

Members will be able to create and share personalised infographics for their location, and images and data will be collected centrally and visualised as part of a new, interactive BBC weather map of the UK.

Working in partnership with the Royal Meteorological Society and others, the Weather Watchers Club is a moment when the BBC will change the public’s relationship with one of its most enduring obsessions.

It will add real value to the BBC’s weather output, and help tell the story of the UK’s weather on an unprecedented scale.

Gordon Welchman - The Forgotten Genius Of Bletchley Park (BBC Two)
This documentary tells the story of a key codebreaker who helped shorten World War II by two years, but who was subsequently written out of history and whose legacy has since been forgotten.

Gordon Welchman was a visionary who, 70 years ago, foresaw the technologies that define our own time and who deserves credit, along with Alan Turing, for the incredible success of British code breaking during the war.

Welchman created the ‘industrial’ system at Bletchley Park that enabled Britain to read German messages before even the enemy high command, as well as other key technological improvements. He added the ‘diagonal board’ which much improved Turing’s design for code breaking the German’s Enigma machine which sent messages in cypher; he pioneered traffic analysis which enabled him to map the entire German military from their communications; and he had huge impact on the Battle of the Atlantic, on the hunt for the Bismarck, and on the successful deception around the D-day landings.

His wartime work on ‘traffic analysis’ was the godfather of the methods that trapped Osama Bin Laden and after the war he was one of the inventors of the first ever cloud-based communication system, still in use by the US military today. But he also began a system of intelligence-gathering that led directly to GCHQ, the NSA - and the revelations by Edward Snowden that western agencies were listening in on us all.

After the war, Welchman moved to America, and worked at the heart of the military industrial complex. But it was his decision, on retirement, to reveal the details of this wartime work in a book, that led to his persecution by the British and American governments. He believed the public needed to understand the power of code-breaking. But three years after the book was published, Welchman was dead, and his name was rapidly erased from the story of Bletchley Park.

Gamechanger (working title) BBC Two
This special 90-minute drama for an adult audience will tell the story of arguably the greatest British coding success story since Bletchley Park - the triumph of the computer game Grand Theft Auto.

Unlike many coding success stories, Grand Theft Auto was not created in Silicon Valley - it was the brainchild of a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days. In autumn 2013 its latest iteration - GTA:V - earned $1bn in its first three days, becoming the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

GTA offered gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they could behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American gangland underworld.

But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding success led to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values it encourages; and above all from moral-campaigners, who have fought passionately to stop it.

Gamechanger tells the story of how the game was conceived and created and the subsequent fallout as various groups objected to its violent gameplay.

Girls Can Code (BBC Three)
Girls Can Code is a talent show with a difference – the girls taking part don’t set out knowing that they have any specific talent.

Girls Can Code will trawl the country to find six girls with a hidden talent for the science and technology of computer coding, and take them away from their day to day workspaces and present them with a series of cutting-edge coding challenges.

No one will be more surprised than them to discover that many of the skills they use on a daily basis in their current lines of work are exactly the kind needed for a successful career in computer science. But any initial surprises will soon be put to one side as they all remember that this is a competition and, for one eventual winner, a whole new career is on the table.

Girls Can Code will aim to redress science’s shocking gender imbalance. It’ll shatter the myth that computer sciences, engineering and coding are only for a man’s world and prove that girls have something new and different to offer these disciplines. What’s more, the world of science and tech needs them.

Lady Ada Lovelace: Enchantress of Numbers, with Dr Hannah Fry (BBC Four)
Mathematician Hannah Fry explores the remarkable life of Ada Lovelace. Born 200 years ago in 1815, she was the daughter of Lord Byron, the infamous Romantic poet. But Ada is better known for being the world’s first computer programmer.

Hannah discovers how this aristocratic young lady came to be a prophet for our digital age. She’ll find out how she became involved with the design of the first computer - the Analytical Engine. Not only did Ada publish the first computer programme, she also created a manifesto for the information age. More than any of her contemporaries, she saw them as more than mere number crunchers. Ada even speculated that one day computers would compose music.

Hannah concludes that it was only because Ada was the daughter of Lord Byron that she alone had the imagination, her 'poetical science', to foresee the true power of computers.

The Wonder Of Algorithms, with Professor Marcus du Sautoy (BBC Four)
In this coding special, Professor Marcus du Sautoy looks into the ultimate potential of algorithms and whether there is any capacity of the human mind that they can’t reproduce, as he lifts the veil on the wonderfully mysterious world of algorithms.

Most people do not realise it, but their lives are touched by algorithms every day. They are ubiquitous, yet most of us are completely unaware of their extraordinary impact on our daily lives.

Algorithms control what we read, the products we buy, and with whom we socialise. They know when to stock supermarket shelves, can predict the weather, and create connections around the planet at the speed of light. Algorithms can guide a surgeons hand, build works of art, and even ignite the spark of love.
Marcus lifts the lid on the largely unknown, unseen world of algorithms to reveal the vital roles they play in modern life.

Children In Need
BBC Children in Need’s 2015 Appeal will be part of Make it Digital with several exciting initiatives tying into BBC Children in Need’s 'Be a Hero' campaign.

We will launch a special toolkit that will encourage people to create simple, short animations. Young people from across the UK, as well as children and young people supported by BBC Children in Need-funded projects will be invited to use this kit to share their stories. A selection of these animations will feature on the BBC Children in Need website and on social media.

BBC Children in Need will also encourage young people to make their own Superhero game, by launching a Pudsey game-maker kit. The kit will be easy to use, requiring no previous technical knowledge and will bring to life popular fundraising activities such as baking, fancy dress and challenges.

Appsolute Genius
Last Autumn CBBC launched Appsolute Genius, a brand new series in which Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood - Dick and Dom - learnt about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped the world of coding, computer programming and gaming.

As part of the series CBBC offered the audience a once-in-a-lifetime competition inviting them to design their very own app for all kids to play. The judging for the competition took place at Buckingham Palace and the judging panel was chaired by HRH the Duke of York, a champion of all things digital and patron of Code Club.

The judging panel included:

  • Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC
  • Alice Taylor founder of MakieLab
  • Divinia Knowles COO and CFO of Mind Candy ¬creators of Moshi Monsters
  • Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio ¬creators of Angry Birds
  • Joseph Garrett ¬also known as Stampy, the Minecraft YouTube sensation
  • Jake Manion, Creative Director, Aardman Animations

The winner was 12 year-old Alex from Hampshire, who won with his Escargot Escape Artistes game that the judges said was humorous, exciting, and showed a great imagination. Set in Paris in the restaurant of the Eiffel Tower where the chef is trying to catch snails to cook and serve them, as they try to avoid being eaten in garlic butter. Parachutes, jet packs and helicopters are used as escape tools as the player moves the escargot to slime up the 2731 steps from the bottom of the tower to the top. If they reach the top they escape and slime the chef on the way down.

In the final episode of this series to be shown on CBBC on Thursday 26 March at 5pm, we follow Alex as he goes to Aardman Animations to see how his winning game idea is developed and made into a gaming app. Viewers will be able to download the app at the end of the show. It will be available on Apple App Store, Amazon Appstore and Google Play Store. Appsolute Genius will return for a second series later in the year.

Also returning to CBBC for a second series will be Technobabble - the fun series that transports CBBC viewers into the technological future. Each episode will be a thrilling mix of future tech, from virtual reality to space travel, and all the latest from the worlds of apps, gaming and all things digital. Brought to CBBC viewers by a fresh mix of new presenting talent, hugely popular YouTube video bloggers and computer-generated character ‘The Vlogster’ (voiced by Dave Lamb), Technobabble will encourage and empower kids to expand on their computer skills and knowledge. Both Appsolute Genius and Technobabble are made by CBBC Productions, the in-house team based in Salford.

CBBC viewers will have the chance to get creative digitally and to meet their favourite presenters in a one off live show that will take place in the Autumn. Full details will be released later in the year.

Nina and the Neurons
On 12 March 2015, Nina and the Neurons launch a new game for the CBeebies Playtime App, building on their presence within the BBC’s Make It Digital initiative, as they invite four to six year-olds to get hands on with code. The Playtime version of Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital will expand upon concepts already introduced in the online game, TV and radio series, and supporting web and grown-ups content, by challenging children to become bug-fixers. Nina’s robot needs instructions to tell it what to do, but some of the instructions are wrong. It’s up to the CBeebies audience to fix the code and help the robot complete its journey.