We had a chat with Zillah Watson, an Editor within BBC Research & Development, to find out about Home Front.
What exactly is Home Front?
Home Front is in fact an epic audio drama series that is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. This pilot is a new way of exploring the stories and characters from this drama.
Home Front is an epic audio drama series that is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. With every episode set exactly 100 years to the day before broadcast, this ground-breaking drama sets fictional stories against the factual background of World War One Britain. It tracks the lives and fortunes of a group of characters - Kitty is pregnant with a German baby; her little brother, Adam, thinks he started the war and doesn’t know how to stop it; Ralph, a vicar in love with his Sunday School teacher watches his wife Dorothea blossom through the opportunities opened for women by the war; seven-year-old best friends Sam and Jimmy go missing; Alice stabs her husband Bill with a carving fork; a family grieve for their adored son.
Home Front is written by some of the nation’s foremost dramatists including Katie Hims, Sebastian Baczkiewicz, Sarah Daniels, Richard Monks and Shaun McKenna. The stellar cast includes Claire Rushbrook, Rachel Shelley, Freddie Fox, Harriet Walter and Deborah Findlay.
So what does the Story Explorer do?
Home Front Story Explorer provides a new way to enjoy and understand stories. It allows you to trace individual storylines in the drama, follow characters, find the moments you love, and share them with friends. You can discover more about the historical backdrop to the drama.
We commissioned special illustrations for this project to help bring the stories and characters alive.
Why did you make it?
This project is based on extensive R&D research on how to make stories work on the web. We wanted to find new ways to explore complex stories, and allow people to catch-up on previous series.
The bigger picture is that we developed it to work across any drama or soap, TV or radio; or to tell stories in factual programmes or news.
Has it turned out as you hoped?
Yes, though there were a number of extra things we would have done if we’d had more time. For example, design new ways in to Home Front for people who haven’t listened before.
On BBC Taster we will be able to understand more about how people use the Story Explorer, which will help us develop future iterations.