BBC 3 to produce Serial-inspired real-life murder series

Channel controller Damian Kavanagh reveals plans for online-only channel

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BBC Three will produce its own Serial-inspired real-life murder series, channel controller Damian Kavanagh has revealed.

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Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival about the plan to move BBC 3 fully online by mid-January 2016, Kavanagh announced a project reminiscent of Serial – the weekly nonfiction podcast that was all but inescapable last year.

“It’s a real life story we’ve got in development,” Kavanagh said. “It is a murder case. It’s absolutely brilliant and compelling and we’ll do that as a serialised [narrative].”

Pending BBC Trust approval, the online only version of BBC 3 will have roughly £3 million to spend on drama. Kavanagh pointed to Serial as an example of how to “do narrative in different ways alongside the beautiful dramas we’re going to make from writers. I’m going to try and be creative in terms of what we can do to make the drama budget go as far as we can.”

The project will cover a variety of media. Kavanagh explained: “It will be video, audio, it will be maps, you will be able to immerse yourself fully in it and get involved in it.”

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Presented by Sarah Koenig, Serial investigated the 1999 murder of student Hae Min Lee week by week. The podcast topped the iTunes download chart and won Koenig a Peabody award. A second and third series will be released in autumn 2015 and spring 2016 respectively.