BBC Backstage – The End of an Era

So there’s been talk about the end of BBC backstage for a while and in certain circles its been heavily discussed.

As has been discussed recently in the press and various channels online, the BBC has taken the decision to close BBC Backstage in December 2010. Given the report recently in the Guardian Tech blog this no doubt comes as little surprise to most. However, I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain why this decision was made and what it means for the BBC as an open innovator in the future.

BBC Backstage has been a great success. I am very proud to have worked with the team on numerous projects. It was the forerunner to many other emerging, successful initiatives and has made a valuable contribution in driving the BBC towards genuine open innovation. In many ways it has been very much of its time.

More details will follow over the next few weeks but I can say…

  • I am not out of a job instead I’ve been planning to do more research for a while
  • The BBC have not done this behind my back (I’m still off work on sick leave)
  • We had planned to shutdown BBC backstage since May but thats exactly when I had my bleed on the brain, so everything got pushed
  • I had planned to do an announcement at Thinking Digital 2010 in Newcastle
  • I’ve been behind backstage for about 4 years and I really do care about this amazing innovative project
  • I’m not the only person whos been involved in its success. James Boardwell, Ben Metcalfe, Matthew Cashmore, Rain Ashford, Ant Miller and Brendan Crowther all have worked for BBC Backstage.
  • Also Matt Locke, Tom Loosemore, Jem Stone, Huw Williams and Adrian Woolard have managed the slippery beast which is BBC Backstage. Oh and never forget Sarah Mines the BBC Publicist whos work life was changed when she got bbc backstage as her new project.
  • Although there was lots of events and large scale prototypes which will be talked about over the next few months. Please please don’t forget the small prototypes, events and sponsorship which bbc backstage was responsible for, as those matter as much as the big stuff.

Hopefully over the next few months, we’ll explain the impact backstage has had on the BBC as a whole and why all good things must come to a end.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and