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BBC in 'dangerous' kids programming

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1990-03-15 Stage and Television Today.jpg


A TEAM of BBC programme makers and actors are preparing for a new drama series to be screened from March 19 — but they have no idea what the script will be from March 20, writes Jane Garner.

The BBC is repeating its live drama for children What's Your Story with a week of afternoon programmes created solely from viewers' ideas.

Preparations are under way with producer and director Richard Simkin again at the helm. He has a script writer, a composer and musical director, story teller Sylvester McCoy and a team of actors at the ready, but they will only be able to work on the first episode this week.

Only after the first show goes out will the plot for day two be revealed by young viewers ringing in with ideas to develop the story. And so it will go on.

"It is the only programme of its kind," he says.

He describes the whole project as 'dangerous in terms of television' but truly interactive with the audience. "The strange thing about it is that I have cast a company of actors looking only for acting skills and a range of shapes and sizes. I was not casting for a part because the first episode isn't written yet!" said Simkin.

Children have written in with ideas or Episode One after appeals for help from Dr Who's Sylvester McCoy on children's programmes including Blue Peter

Script writer Peter Corey and musical director Michael Omer will have the actors in full rehearsal on the morning of March 19 and by 8pm that night the outline plot for Episode Two will be ready.

On Tuesday morning the actors will start learning their lines, there will be speedy rehearsals and all must be ready for transmission late afternoon.

"Wc take telephoned ideas and choose the best of them," said Richard Simkin. "There are cameramen and others standing by with their tools of the trade ready not knowing what they will have to do with them."

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  • APA 6th ed.: 16, 1 (1990-03-15). BBC in 'dangerous' kids programming. The Stage and Television Today p. Jane Garner.
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