It’s been a busy week over at TV Today, where we’ve been running a series of features around Torchwood: Children of Earth, which begins a five-episode run on Monday and continues throughout the week. The stripped scheduling is a tactic BBC1 has been using in increasing amounts, to create a buzz, or “event television”.
And so, we responded with “event blogging” – and for us at least, it seems to have worked.
Page impressions to the TV Today blog were up by a massive 155% week-on-week in the last six days (statistics for today, Friday, are not yet available). Now, it’s not all due to Torchwood: we’ve also seen a spike in people searching for information on a possible fourth series of Robin Hood after Saturday’s series three finale. But it’s Torchwood that’s formed the bulk of the increase.
For those who haven’t enjoyed our content yet, here’s the full list (and bear in mind that they all, to some degree or another, contain spoilers):
- Interview with Russell T Davies, part 1
- Interview with Russell T Davies, part 2
- Interview with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)
- Interview with Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper)
- Interview with John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness)
- A look at the BBC Torchwood website
- A competition to win three Torchwood novels
- Reviews of the first of the three Radio 4 Afternoon Play Torchwood episodes
- And finally, a preview of Day One, the first episode of Children of Earth
When I went to the press launch, my original intention had been to try and get enough information for a double-page feature in the weekly print edition of The Stage. However, by the time I left the launch I was convinced that the material I had got was too bitty to make a coherent prose piece. In addition, the BBC had embargoed any content until ten days before the transmission (TX) date – but at that stage we did not actually know what that TX date would be, which made scheduling a print feature difficult.
So instead I filed the sound files away, thinking I’d be able to grab a few bits and pieces to make a single blog piece in the run-up to Children of Earth’s broadcast. Only when I started transcribing the interviews some days later did I realise that there was more interesting content in them than I’d appreciated at the time.
And so we decided to put out one interview a day, splitting producer Russell T Davies’ over two days: not only because he had so much to say, but because that conveniently meant that we’d have an interview a day for five days. But when I wrote the announcement post, Mark and I didn’t have too much of an idea what other posts we could come up with – save for an episode 1 preview, something we have done for numerous series in the past.
As it was, we had no problem coming up with additional content, and the reaction from around the web has been incredible.
Will this form a template for other series in the future? Possibly. Quite whether other shows have enough of a pre-existing internet following to give us the sort of feedback we’ve enjoyed this week, I’m not sure: certainly Doctor Who has, but what else? And will we get such a following combined with the “event TV” scheduling that has made this Torchwood mini-series so eagerly awaited?
We shall see. But from a personal point of view, it’s been an invigorating experience, so I hope it’s something we can repeat further down the line.