ITV’s Emmerdale gets social: Characters come to life with own blogs

10/02/2012

ITV has hired agency Somethin’ Else to take its popular soap opera Emmerdale into the "social and digital arena". The project aims to extend Emmerdale storylines "beyond the television screen and into the digital universe." Major storylines from the soap will now also develop off-air as characters come to life outside the soap's weekly episodes.

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Fans will be able to follow the characters beyond the TV screen by, for instance, looking at their private messages and watching footage they've shot on their mobile phones.

ITV Online & On Demand and ITV Studios have joined with Somethin' Else to work on the new initiative.

The project is currently in user testing phase in order to launch later in the year.

Ben Freeman, head of soap and drama, said: "We are really excited to be working with Somethin' Else to expand the storytelling canvas for one of the nation's most loved soaps. We aim to transform the franchise into a multi-platform brand, and hope that digital activity will become a key element to the Emmerdale franchise."

Stuart Blackburn, series producer for Emmerdale said: "This is an exciting proposition for Emmerdale and will give us a unique opportunity to provide viewers with a more interactive experience. From discovering what characters really think about each other by following their private messages, to seeing unseen footage filmed on their mobile phones, our rapidly developing online initiative will bring new ways of telling stories."

Paul Bennun, chief creative officer, Somethin' Else, said: "This is a true collaborative effort between dramatists and technologists, and puts Somethin' Else's knowledge of non-linear storytelling into relief. Once Emmerdale told stories only on TV. Very shortly it will become the first truly multiplatform drama aimed at a mass audience, its characters coming alive in a playful, social way. It's an honour to be working on a property of this scale with such a forward-thinking broadcaster."

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