BBC preps VR property series; appoints Helen Thomas as director for England

BBC2 has commissioned Endemol Shine UK’s Remarkable Television to produce the British pubcaster’s first-ever virtual reality property series. Presented by Robot Wars‘Angela Scanlon (pictured), Watch This Space (w/t) will utilize cutting-edge ...
June 28, 2018

BBC2 has commissioned Endemol Shine UK’s Remarkable Television to produce the British pubcaster’s first-ever virtual reality property series.

Presented by Robot Wars‘Angela Scanlon (pictured), Watch This Space (w/t) will utilize cutting-edge VR and visual effects to overhaul ordinary homes with unique designs.

Each episode of the 8 x 60-minute series features leading architects Laura Clark and Robert Jamison as they provide two couples in disagreement about how to design their homes with radically different proposals. The homeowners will then be able to “step into” the offered designs using VR technology before even having to lift a hammer. The couples then have to decide which design plan is the winner to take on and build themselves.

Remarkable’s Joff Wilson is executive producer.

Watch This Space was commissioned by BBC2 channel editor Patrick Holland and David Brindley, head of commissioning for BBC popular factual and fact-ent. BBC’s Michael Jochnowitz is commissioning editor.

“We are really excited about this original property format which is no average home build show. We are taking ordinary homes and offering extraordinary transformations based on the homeowners’ own budgets and we are using technology in a way that has never been seen on British television before,” said Kitty Walshe, joint MD of Remarkable Television, in a statement.

In addition, Remarkable has been commissioned by BBC1 to develop a celebrity special of its entertainment format All Together Now.

The one-off will see a range of celebrity faces form a combination of solo and group performances in front of “The 100″ judging panel. If the panel likes what they hear, they can join in and sing along. The greater the number that join in, the higher the performer’s score and the closer they are to being crowned winner.

All Together Now Celebrities will air later this year on BBC1 with host comedian Rob Beckett and former Spice Girl Geri Horner as head of “The 100″.

James Fox, Dom Waugh and Andrew Cartmell are executive producers for Remarkable. The special was commissioned by BBC content director Charlotte Moore, Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning, and Rachel Ashdown, commissioning editor of BBC Entertainment.

The BBC has also commissioned a sophomore season run of All Together Now slated to air in early 2019.

helen thomasIn other BBC news, the British corporation has tapped Helen Thomas (pictured, above) for the newly created role of director of BBC England as part of the BBC’s push to better serve the UK’s Nations and Regions.

Effective immediately, Thomas will have direct editorial and operational responsibility in England across all platforms and will additionally oversee the BBC’s offering to communities across the country.

The creation of the director role brings England into line with the other nations of the UK, which are all led by BBC directors, and spells the end of the BBC English Regions controller posting. As a result, the current controller, David Holdsworth, has decided to depart the BBC after 34 years of service.

Thomas first joined the BBC in 1985 following a stint in commercial radio. Following a career break to raise children, she worked for ITV’s Yorkshire Television before re-joining the Beeb in 1999 as editor of BBC Radio Humberside.

From there, Thomas was promoted to head of regional and local programming in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire before her remit was eventually extended across the whole of Yorkshire. She is currently leading the reinvention of BBC’s local radio across England.

“It’s so important that we serve and reflect all of the country’s diverse communities. England is a complex, changing place and the BBC needs to evolve our offer to ensure we are providing the best services possible to people across the country,” Thomas said in a statement.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.