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BBC orders bingeable teen content for iPlayer

The UK pubcaster has commissioned a raft of digital teen content that will live as box sets on BBC iPlayer, in a move to keep pace with VODs such as Netflix and YouTube.
July 4, 2018

In line with its US$44-million funding commitment focused on homegrown digital and teen content, the BBC has commissioned a range of new original content for 13- to 15-year-olds that will be available as box sets on the UK pubcaster’s iPlayer streaming service.

Commissioned by BBC Children’s head of content Cheryl Taylor, the multi-genre mini-slate includes drama, entertainment and factual content, and will live on BBC iPlayer beyond the service’s traditional 30-day timeframe to give teens easier and longer access.

In terms of leveraging YouTube star power, popular influencer Ali-A will be hosting I’m Not Driving That, a new 20 x 22 minute series where young drivers must complete a personalized advanced driving course before getting their cars revamped. Produced by Endemol Shine North, the series is executive produced by Kez Margrie for the BBC and Coral Lawson for Endemol.

Fellow YouTuber Mimi Missfit has also been tapped to host Mimi Tells it Straight – Everything You Need to Know About Sex, a five x 20 minute series from Peggy Pictures that follows a group of 15-year-olds to Holland to discover how Dutch teens learn about sex education. Executive producers are Margrie for the BBC and Ida Bruusgaard for Peggy Pictures.

The A List, meanwhile, comes from Kindle Entertainment and is a darker teen drama set on an island summer camp that features themes of friendship, romance, loyalty and betrayal. The 13 x half-hour program will launch this fall and is executive produced by Kindle’s Anne Brogan and the BBC’s Amy Buscombe.

Returning to the car/comedy format, two-series commission Teen Taxi from producer Dragonfly takes a closer look at humorous conversations between teens and their parents as they travel in their family cars. The 12 x 20 minute series is executive produced by Dragonfly’s Simon Kerfoot alongside the BBC’s Hugh Lawton.

Other commissions include a series of specials (titles yet to be announced) from Maverick TV on mental health and alcohol featuring identical twin doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken, and a documentary mini-series following teens as they move into adulthood. The former is executive produced by Kez Margrie for the BBC, who is joined by Maverick’s Romily Menzies. The latter includes Big Deal Films’ Boys to Men, which puts the spotlight on real issues facing teenage boys in London, Nine Lives’ The Great Eco Build, where a group of educationally challenged young people in Wales build an eco-community center from scratch, and Chatterbox’s Life After Care, which follows a pair of young men as they leave a lifetime of being in foster care. The BBC’s Margrie is executive producing.

Rounding out the commissions are 30 x 10 minute improvised drama Logan High (pictured) from UK indie Chalkboard TV and 13 x 28 minute True Believers (working title) from Saltbeef TV. The former centers on a group of teens at a fictional secondary school in Edinburgh. Originally ordered by CBBC last October for a digital-first premiere on iPlayer this year, Logan High is based on First Years, an original scripted reality format created and produced by Newen-owned Dutch indie Tuvalu Media Group. The hit mockumentary series debuted in the Netherlands on pubcaster AVRO-TROS. Executive producing for the CBBC version are Amy Buscombe for the BBC and Mike Benson for Chalkboard.

True Believers, meanwhile, is a comedy/drama about an up-and-coming boy band competing for success alongside a rival girl band. Executive produced the BBC’s Melissa Hardinge and Saltbeef’s Jeremy Salsby, the series will bow on CBBC later this year.

The teen content announcements follow yesterday’s BBC original homegrown commissions for its younger audiences on CBeebies and CBBC.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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