Getting excited about Karen Gillan as Amy Pond in Doctor Who after seeing those photos we published. Then here’s something to tide you over until Doctor Who starts next year.
The Well is an eight-week drama event that’s been made for the BBC’s teen strand, BBC Switch. It’s been created by Melvin Burgess – the godfather of young adult fiction – and will take place across multiple platforms including online, social networks and TV.
The story is being launched first online (social networks), and simultaneously on BBC TWO and bbc.co.uk/thewell , where the audience can explore a scale replica of the main location for The Well - the derelict house where the well is discovered. The first episode is up online now!
Between TV episodes the audience can enter the house to explore the environment,
and by completing a series of tasks and challenges, they can unlock hidden drama content: revealing the terrifying backstory to the drama and getting one step ahead of our characters.
As the story develops, the drama flows between the four TV episodes and the 3D game; when a character hides an item within the house on TV, the audience can immediately go online, solve a puzzle, and uncover the item from its hiding place. The story has been woven across these multiple platforms, and the more the audience engages with the story (on TV, online and on social networks) the more they can deepen their experience of the drama and our characters.
What is ‘The Well’?
Melvin Burgess : “It’s a ghost story. A brother and sister and their friends discover, and disturb, something very ancient and dark at the bottom of an ancient well. Their task is to get it back before someone dies, or worse. Of course, not all is as it seems. There are greater evils in the well, and the four teenagers are not the first ones to have tried to deal with it. More than that, though, The Well is an experiment in using TV and online platforms. I’ve been fascinated for a while now about how to tell a story online. It’s difficult – the interactive nature of most online platforms goes against story telling, but Conker Media seem to be the company with practical ideas about how to get it done.”
What inspired you to write this story?
“The brief was simply to write a good, scary ghost story, with young people at the heart of it trying to solve the mystery – but something that could play across more than one platform. A ghost story is perfect for this, because at the heart of every ghost story is a mystery waiting to be solved – a back story, about how the horror arose and others in the past who have brought it back to life. I was intrigued. But I suppose the main thing is, I always loved ghost stories. The unknown beings that can move to and fro between life and death…nothing like a good scare, is there?”
As a novelist how did you find your first experience of writing for television and online platforms?
“I really enjoyed it. The thing about writing novels is that you do it on your own. It’s like long distance walking, headed for the North Pole or something. There you are day after day, all on your own, heading towards a distant goal. I loved working with other people. And I loved the experimental side of it as well.”
How does the story benefit from being told across multiple platforms?
“I hope it will deepen people’s involvement with the story and with the characters. It creates a whole new dimension – you get to know the character s better, for one thing. And there is a whole other story, from the last time the well was opened, that will only be available to online users. If you mange to access all the hidden drama, you’ll definitely
be one step ahead of anyone who’s just watching it on TV.”