Fancy getting your hands on an item of the very latest in hi-tech Who merchandise, digitally speaking? Want to get it for free? Well, you can with the launch of the Doctor Who: Cybermen Monster File Ebook!
A few provisos to be clear on, however. You need to be a UK resident to get the ebook free, although if you live elsewhere you can pay to own it. You need to have a compatible device (iPad, Android or Kindle Fire) to download the ebook. And you need to be quick about it as the free offer only applies until 31st July 2014 (11:59 to be precise).
‘What is this mysterious ebook of which you speak?’ I hear you ask, in that oddly stilted way of yours. Well, the BBC promise us:
‘An interactive history of one of the Doctor’s most famous foes. Every version of the Cybermen is brought to life using clips, fabulous photos and in-depth info…’
We can also look forward to Cybermen: Status Update, a new story from Joseph Lidster which you can either read or listen to Nick Briggs doing so on your behalf. I bet he’s doing all the voices, too, the clever old so and so.
‘So what are we to make of all this?’ (Okay that’s enough with the olde worlde phrasing…) In terms of the forthcoming series – minor spoiler! - we already knew that the Cybermen are due to return in at least one of the later episodes. The fact that this is being released now, as the publicity machine gathers speed ahead of the August 23rd opener, is perhaps an indicator that we can expect the silver giants to play a more prominent role than may have been expected in Series 8. Or maybe the producers just want the young’uns and new viewers to be able to get fully up to speed before they see them again on-screen.
Aside from the implications for plotlines, it’s interesting to see the BBC once again using Doctor Who to blaze a trail for their use of new technology. In recent years we’ve seen downloadable games, online clips and various bits of web only content, all of which allowed the broadcaster to test out new approaches on viewers of one of their flagship shows. Some of these have worked better than others (who remembers the ‘TARDISODEs’ from Series 2? ‘That’s not even a word!’ as Donna surely would have said) but one can see the logic in terms of exploiting the varied audience the programme brings to see how well this kind of thing goes down.
The accompanying blurb for the download is quite open about the fact that the BBC wants ‘to explore a different platform for delivering additional content to our audiences.’ And it’s encouraging to see that, with the inclusion of clips, photos and audio content, the ebook format is being used in imaginative ways that simply wouldn’t be possible with a traditional book.
The big test for the success of this, of course, will be whether it’s any good. So let us know! Download Doctor Who: Cybermen Monster File Ebook and tell us what you think.