“QUAKE” on BBC Radio 4 – Drama/VR Series

    “Quake” is a thrilling audio drama that acts like a puzzle that consists of 12 pieces and which unveils the tragic experience of searching the survivors after a fatal earthquake took place. The inspiration behind the subject matter that it approaches is ”the digital revolution in humanitarian response.” (BDH.net,n.d.) Each episode can be accessed on BBC iPlayer or on the Radio 4’s website and includes graphic visuals in oder to paint a clearer picture for the listeners and to put emphasis on the emotional weight that ”Quake” truly carries within.

    The innovation that this radio drama comes with stands in the methods of delivery of the message to the wide audience, namely ”QUAKE: TRAPPED MAN VR” is BBC Radio 4’s first virtual reality radio.” (BDH.net, n.d.) Additionally, for the first episode it was made an even greater version of a  360-degree film, where listeners are able to be more than witnesses of the tragic event and which allows them to feel as if they were actually there and experience that horrific event ”If you have a virtual reality headset you can watch the first episode in 3D, as if an earthquake is actually happening to you.”( The Daily Telegraph,2017) According to the BBC Radio 4 remit, which is to ”appeal to listeners seeking intelligent programmes in many genres which inform, educate and entertain.”(BBC Radio 4 Commissioning,2017), the programme fits well and has successfully achieved its aim, namely to attract the audience by creating a modern way of delivery and of experiencing a radio drama. As a result, ”Quake” won the prestigious “PRIX EUROPA” award for innovation.

The damages followed by an earthquake/ Photo taken from BBC

    The methods of distribution are diverse and the drama has been released for listening as a whole or as shuffling episodes in any other order. As Rhian Roberts, the Digital Editor at Radio 4 said “Quake is designed as something that can fit into whatever space you have available in the day, choosing episodes to suit, or listening to the whole thing as a podcast. It’s an exciting innovation in how we offer Radio 4 drama to both new and existing audiences.  The slow paced visuals offer an extra dimension to each episode, but it’s always the audio drama that leads the way.” (VR focus,2017)

     Although ”Quake” reveals an insight into an unfortunate event caused by a natural phenomen, the purpose of the show is to connect emotionally with the audience and to create a strong understanding towards the psychological effects that such a disaster has the power to trigger among people. In addition,as raw and as brutally honest as the whole experience is, the main fact that has managed to make ”Quake” stand out is the immersive effect that it has over the listeners, the suspense of whether or not survivors we’ll be found or how do these kind of damages occur and can be avoided. However, not everyone would enjoy or would believe this kind of intimate and close experience that this drama aims to offer. For instance, Gillian Reynolds wrote for The Daily Telegraph that ”All those inventive graphics and beautifully designed sounds don’t make you believe, even for a single minute, that you’re inside the action. The characters are too thin, the plot too linear. Everyone keeps explaining things.” ( The Daily Telegraph,2017)

 

REFERENCES:

  1. BDH. (2017). QUAKE: Trapped Man VR – Immersive – BDH. [online] Available at: https://www.bdh.net/immersive/quake-vr-trapped-man [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
  2. Pressreader.com. (2017). PressReader.com – Connecting People Through News. [online] Available at: https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20170518/282385514446109 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
  3. BBC. (2017). Information for suppliers to Radio – BBC Radio 4 – BBC Radio. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2FC4S5Nr3dbMH6XJzyM8tHX/bbc-radio-4 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
  4. Quake, B. (2017). BBC Radio 4 Ventures into VR for Online Audio Drama Quake. [online] VRFocus. Available at: https://www.vrfocus.com/2017/04/bbc-radio-4-ventures-into-vr-for-online-audio-drama-quake/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
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