Luther star Idris Elba presents Story of Now for BBC

Originally published by The Guardian

Luther star Idris Elba is to present a ground-breaking, interactive BBC documentary series called Story of Now that explores some of the biggest questions facing mankind about its past, present and future.

Using the latest video technology, the series allows viewers to explore hours of films and information from experts about 20 of the world’s fundamental issues – from politics to religion, creation to consciousness.

The experts include neuroscientist Dr Molly Crockett, blind figurative painter Sargy Mann and social activist Naomi Klein and questions covered include did the universe begin with the Big Bang and is the sky really blue?

All the films are available on BBC Taster, the corporation’s new online platform for trying out digital content and emerging technology.

What makes the Story of Now films different is that viewers can search inside them by clicking on parts of the content.

Producer TouchCast has used interactive video technology it has developed that allows anything from the web – including video, games, web pages and live social content – to be experienced by the audience inside HD video and puts the viewing experience in their hands.

The so-called ‘videoweb’ technology has been used recently by The Voice coach for his new music video.

Emmy award-winning Elba joined the project after seeing rough cuts of the Story of Now films last year and is working with TouchCast on other interactive programming.

TouchCast Studios UK CEO and Story of Now executive producer Paul Field said: “Viewers not only experience the full richness of the web inside HD video, they can search inside it. Even subtitles feature keywords that link to more content that opens inside the films. We call this medium the videoweb and we believe Story Of Now can play a major role pushing the development of this new medium.”

BBC history head of commissioning Martin Davidson said: “The creative opportunities offered by interactive video are huge. Story of Now has taken full advantage, seamlessly blending classic filmmaking with cutting edge technology, enabling us to reach new audiences with our world class content.”

BBC Taster’s content can also be shared and rated by viewers and the corporation will use the feedback to help it decide if projects or programmes should be developed further.

Edo Segal