A blog pulling together all my fings.

Archive for January 2011


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Being Human trending in UK and worldwide on Twitter

I produce the online content and manage the fan community for Being Human, a BBC Three TV show featuring a ghost, a vampire and a two werewolves all trying to live normal human lives. Give it a try if you’ve not seen it, it’s well good.

The first episode of the new series aired last Sunday and smashed it in the ratings, as well as creating a lot of noise online, some of which I’m going to document here.


Being Human exists in several different online spaces. We have over 330,000 Facebook fans, 11,000 Twitter followers and a huge community centred around the Being Human blog. This is our hub of activity for the show, where hundreds of comments are posted daily.


I love the Being Human fan community. They’re intelligent, funny and have some fantastic theories and discussions about where the show could go. Many of them have become friends in real life, chatting on Twitter, friending each other up on Facebook and travelling to Wales to meet up in person and see the set. They’ve embraced all the elements of the show we’ve introduced to them, including online storylines, new cast and crew members and some even follow my work away from the job, which shows curiosity and loyalty above and beyond your average fan of a TV show.

In fact, some of them may be reading this now because they’re a fan of Being Human. If that’s you, hello! You’re awesome.


Our community is a very positive one, and that’s something we’ve tried to build over three series. We aim to set a tone that’s funny, welcoming and warm. We want to people to feel like they’re part of a fun gang, not part of an exclusive clique, and the fans have created a self-regulating community that honours and enjoys this tone. The fans don’t tolerate aggression or arrogance, and will actively turn their back on people who try and steer the conversation that way. They also embrace new blog users, bringing them up to speed on topics they may not quite follow. And unlike many other shows (especially in the sci-fi genre) the Being Human bloggers don’t try to outdo each other with superior knowledge, rather they share that knowledge for others to enjoy. As a result many people get hooked not just on the show or the extras we create, but on the community itself.

Whenever it looks like the chat may turn sour, there arises a general consensus amongst the fans that it’s better to be a community that shares a love of the show, rather than a community that bitches and falls out. It’s like a family, really, and myself and Garret Keogh (our creative director) are very proud to have been a part of making it grow.


The website has undergone big changes this year, and we’re getting bigger audiences as a result. Before the new series even aired we were getting higher unique user figures than the peak of the previous series (60k+). This is partly due to a redesigned website, a new online storyline featuring Annie (a ghost) trapped in purgatory and a new style of blog video that sees us getting up to even more mischief on set. Then, last Sunday 23rd January, it went into overdrive when the first episode of the new series went live. Here’s what happened on Twitter…

– We started with #beinghuman trending on Twitter in the UK.
– Then Lacey Turner started trending in the UK – this is her first acting gig since Eastenders.
– Then Robson Green started trending in the UK – this is his first acting gig since catching massive fish.
– Finally #beinghuman started trending worldwide.

I was ecstatic and celebrated in typical bolton style… by eating a pasty.

After the show we drove the conversation to the blog and launched episode highlights, plus a behind the scenes feature that went on to gather over 500 comments. I’m still waiting on exact user stats, but we’re expecting them to be high.


This weekend we’ll be doing it all again, but this time launching brand new online drama Becoming Human off the back of the episode. This series features a crossover character from the main show, and lives entirely online. It’s a tale of deadly mystery, with episodes and evidence posted online for the audience to enjoy over the next eight weeks.

No pressure then…

Written by barrypilling

January 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm


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At the end of last year I was commissioned to make science animations for a show on BBC Three called Secrets of the Universe.

These ‘science bits’ (as the shampoo commercial would describe them) were designed to be lo-fi and engaging to a young audience who wanted more from TV science than a man with grey hair waffling on about something that wouldn’t hold their attention for two min…mmm waffles.

The idea was to make high concepts as accessible and fun as possible. I worked with producer Dan Child and presenter Greg Foot to represent the science accurately whilst still bringing some imagination and playfulness to the project. So in amongst Archimedes, the theory of gravity and the formation of the solar system we’ve got pipe cleaners, Playmobil toys and a moon made of tuna. Oh, and I’ve suggested that everything in the universe is made of gravy granules. A little tribute to my northern heritage.

Below are some of the storyboards I created for the big bang VT. The first shows what happened when the bang occurred (marmite and dinosaurs came out, obv), the second shows a Dustbuster eating up the universe and the third illustrates that if the world was a 24 hour clock disco was invented 1/5000th of a second ago.

To think Einstein only ever had a blackboard and chalk to show his theories… Bah! The past was well lame.

The show got 400,000 viewers followed by a further 300,000 on the midnight repeat, so the BBC were very happy and are in talks about bringing it back for a longer run.

Big Bang Storyboard

Dustbuster Storyboard

Disco Storyboard

Written by barrypilling

January 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm


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