The BBC is developing British TV’s first 3D comedy drama as part of a two-year trial across multiple genres.
BBC head of 3D Kim Shillinglaw is in discussions with comedy commissioner Cheryl Taylor and head of in-house comedy Mark Freeland about the project, although few details about the programme are known.
Shillinglaw confirmed that the aim is to broadcast the show early next year and said the corporation’s experimentations in 3D would be “broadcastable wherever possible”, to ensure value for money.
The comedy will be the first long-form 3D scripted content aired in the UK. Sky has previously experimented with a 10-minute Little Crackers comedy short in 3D, but is not thought to have an equivalent project in the pipeline.
The BBC is nipping at the heels of US counterparts such as NBC, which demonstrated a non-TX 3D version of soap Days Of Our Lives at last week’s MipTV.
The UK broadcaster is looking to test the medium in “as many genres as we can”, with arts and science 3D programming likely to follow.
“Each genre presents different challenges, and we have to make sure with each experiment that we are testing some aspect of production or distribution,” said Shillinglaw.
The BBC is using only a “small budget” from the licence fee for the experimentation, with BBC Worldwide stumping up the lion’s share for projects including a 3D version of an episode of Planet Dinosaur, which is expected to TX soon.
Discussions are now taking place with unnamed commercial partners about investing in the programmes.
The corporation is also developing new strategies around 3D distribution. The BBC HD channel, which has so far been used to transmit 3D trial programmes, is soon to convert to BBC2 HD.
But Shillinglaw said the team had some additional spectrum capacity available, and could create a temporary channel, or even switch the BBC2 simulcast off for the five or six 3D transmissions expected to take place annually for the duration of the trial period.
The BBC has already successfully trialled iPlayer as an alternative platform for 3D content and Shillinglaw said she wanted to “take that further”. “We are the only broadcaster looking into that type of thing – it could be very innovative,” she added.
The comedy project follows the BBC’s previous 3D coverage of last summer’s Wimbledon and Strictly Come Dancing in December 2011.
This article was first published in Broadcast.