BBC leaps into VR with “Easter Rising” doc

The factual educational brand of the UK pubcaster has commissioned a virtual reality documentary on the Easter Rising, an armed insurrection of Ireland in 1916.
March 2, 2016

BBC iWonder, the factual educational brand of the UK pubcaster, has commissioned a virtual reality (VR) documentary on the Easter Rising, an armed insurrection of Ireland in 1916.

The tentatively titled Easter Rising: Voice Of A Rebel VR experience is to retrace the footsteps of 19-year-old Willie McNieve, who took part in the six-day uprising to end British rule in Ireland, through the streets of Dublin.

Utilizing McNieve’s eyewitness testimony, the project will give viewers personal insight while allowing them to experience the moments that led to the attempted establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the throes of the First World War.

Easter Rising, which will be available via the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR platforms later this year, is being created in partnership with London-based prodco Crossover Labs and award-winning multimedia artist Oscar Raby of VRTOV.

Realscreen understands Easter Rising isn’t the pubcaster’s first foray into VR, but it is their largest, and the first designed for viewing through more powerful systems, such as Oculus and Samsung, and made available to the public.

A traditional video version will also be made available for web users on the BBC iWonder website.

The pubcaster says it will release further interactive doc projects throughout the year to mark other key moments from 1916, including the battle of the Somme.

“The events of 1916 in Ireland had an immense impact on Anglo-Irish relations,” said Martin Davidson, BBC’s head of commissioning for history and business, specialist factual, science and religion, in a statement.

“In this anniversary year, BBC audiences will be able to tap into a variety of programming that sheds a light on the lasting influence of the attempted rebellion that took place whilst the rest of the country was distracted with World War One,” he continued.

With files from Manori Ravindran

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.