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BBC to shoot Grand Theft Auto drama to get kids into coding

Jonathan Lester
BBC, Grand Theft Auto, TV

When it comes to role models for the youth of today, Grand Theft Auto isn't exactly the first name that springs to mind. However, the BBC plans to shoot a drama about the making of the legendary series in order to help glamorise the UK software industry and get more children interested in coding.

According to the Beeb, the documentary will be part of a "season of programmes and online activity involving the BBC’s biggest and best-loved brands, including Doctor Who, EastEnders, Radio 1, The One Show, Children in Need, BBC Weather and many more, including a new BBC Two drama based on Grand Theft Auto and a documentary on Bletchley Park." It's part of the new Make It Digital campaign -- chances are you've seen the ads.

More details then quickly emerged, including that the drama is not about the game itself, rather it's about development, and likely the rise of UK-based DMA Design who eventually became Rockstar North. Actually it's a pretty inspirational tale, especially considering how great it was to see a British dev who was around back in the Amiga days rise to such prominence.

BBC to shoot Grand Theft Auto drama to get kids into coding

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: “This is exactly what the BBC is all about - bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions. Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future. Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.

“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve.”

They needn't have bothered. Carl made his own GTA series a while back, and it's certainly dramatic.

Add a comment3 comments
Tsung  Mar. 12, 2015 at 14:55

I can't help to feel that using GTA to showcase UK game development to children is sending the wrong message. The problem being that GTA is an 18+ game. The equivalent I could think of is using the porn industry to get children interested in film making.

There are plenty of UK developers out there who make plenty of games (Frontier or 22Cans for instance) that are not ultra-violent, why not follow them?

Last edited by Tsung, Mar. 12, 2015 at 14:56
JonLester  Mar. 12, 2015 at 15:20

@Tsung: I basically agree, but I think the beeb wants to take advantage of GTA's pulling power for their initiative. Sadly I don't think that most kids/teens will give much of a damn about Elite or Theme Hospital, more's the pity.

Hopefully they'll focus on DMA design's earlier work too.

JonLester  Mar. 13, 2015 at 10:27

@Tsung: Well, at least Braben got his own little documentary! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8liWPFR3SuE

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