Radio 4 to tweet along to War and Peace

By James Cridland for
Posted 11 December 2014, 7.41am est

BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a ten-hour production of Leo Tolstoy's epic novel War and Peace this New Year's Day.

The dramatisation, by playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, will be accompanied by live tweets throughout the day from BBC Radio 4's digital team.

Rhian Roberts, Digital Editor for BBC Radio 4, says in an article published by today that the team are "aiming for a playful companion to the book", including plot developments to help listeners catch up, as well as commentary to entertain. The Twitter feed, which will also be on the BBC Radio 4 website, will include maps, family trees and battle plans as well.

While many of the tweets will be pre-scheduled (the station uses SocialFlow to achieve this), there will be live responses as well on the day.

This is a crafty use of a "second screen" for radio - enhancing a potentially challenging piece of work with a more accessible medium, and content aimed at the younger audience of Twitter. (Twitter itself skews to 18-24s, while Radio 4's average listener is aged 55.)

The tweets are partially written by the comedian and writer David Schneider and the team at That Lot. They've also recently done work for Absolute Radio.

Read more on this from Rhian Roberts.

More information

James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.


6 years, 4 months ago

Interestingly: while a tweet-along hasn't be done before, in 1970, WBAI in New York broadcast the entire War and Peace unabridged. It took five straight days, and they hired literary stars to do it. Here's a radio documentary about it. Thanks to Paul Gray on my Google+ feed for pointing this out.

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