First interactive soap opera hits big screen

THE world's first interactive soap opera is to hit the big screen.

Channel Four's Dubplate Drama will premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival tomorrow – with its next episode to be decided by cinema audiences in just minutes.

Dubplate, which pioneered audience voting as a way of getting youngsters to talk about difficult issues like drugs, knife crime and gangs, is to begin its third series this week – to be shown on TV on Thursday following the premiere – with a new star in chart-topping hip-hop princess Tulisa of N-Dubz.

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Writer and director Luke Hyams, 29, yesterday admitted letting audiences decide has brought its problems.

He said: "It can be very tough when the audience picks the one episode that isn't your personal favourite. Last year, one of the choices saw one of the main characters dying, and we had to sadly lose one of our main actors.

"Also, the things that the audience don't pick end up on the cutting room floor. Once we had a limo chase through the streets of Birmingham and the audience picked the alternative episode. That was obviously a shame because the producers spent a lot of money on the scene."

Audiences for the television show take their time to decide what happens after the first episode ends with a multiple-choice dilemma, through a special MySpace site. Those in the cinema have to come to a decision in minutes. Fierce debate is expected.

Dubplate is centred around a pop group who shoot up the charts and, in the final series, fall back down again. The show's new female lead Tulisa, 20, has plenty of experience of the tough world of music.

The first episode of series three of Dubplate Drama will be broadcast on Channel Four on Thursday.

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