AUNTIE BEEB has confirmed its first foray into interactive radio, with a Choose Your Own Adventure-style drama* controlled using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, or as it calls them, non-partisanly, voice interfaces or VUI.
The play, called The Inspection Chamber, allows you to play the fourth character is a sci-fi comedy, written, we're told, in the spirit of the late great Douglas Adams.
A trailer for the play is now available on the BBC Taster website, where it puts all its experimental stuff (if you've never been, take a look there's some very cool stuff), and it is expected to launch properly in the coming days.
It's all part of a BBC R&D project called 'Talking With Machines' which the corp is using as a means to learn about the possibilities for the medium and develop a design and user experience languages. Work started earlier this year alongside the BBC Children's department.
The new play has been created in association with Rosina Sound and stars Amelia Bullmore whose canon includes Big Train, Happy Valley and The Crown but is perhaps most recognisable to comedy fans as Alan Partridge's Ukrainian girlfriend, Sonja.
The R&D blog explains: "In this pilot, you're actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice - we wanted to make it feel like you're having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece. We haven't come across any other interactive stories like this on voice devices, and we're excited to see how people respond to it."
As the BBC charter obliges universal service as much as possible, the company has developed for Alexa and Google Assistant "to start with" but has also mentioned the Invoke Speaker from Microsoft (running Cortana) and Apple HomePod.
There's no fixed date for the full release but expect to be able to play it around the Christmas tree. µ
*Auntie says it's not that similar to CYOA but it's a good way to explain it in a nutshell
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