New drama based on Grand Theft Auto coming to BBC Two

BBC to give one million children free coding devices

The BBC will hand every child in year 7 across the UK a free new coding device as part of its major new Make it Digital initiative.

One million Micro Bit devices will be developed and handed to children around the country to get more people into programming and digital technology. The BBC said the UK is facing a significant skills shortage, with 1.4m digital professionals needed over the next five years.

Here’s an early look at the Micro Bit device:

A series of programmes and online activity involving the likes of Doctor Who, EastEnders, Radio 1, The One Show, Children in Need, BBC Weather and more will also form part of the campaign. Further projects include a new BBC Two drama based on Grand Theft Auto and a documentary on Bletchley Park. A BBC Three talent show called Girls Can Code is also in the works.

There will also be a range of education activities and events, including Bitesize, Live Lessons and School Report.

A Make it Digital Traineeship meanwhile will create opportunities for up to 5,000 young unemployed people.

The BBC is partnering with 50 Organisations, including ARM, British Computing Society, BT, Code Club, Google, Microsoft, Nesta, Tech City UK and Samsung.

“This is exactly what the BBC is all about – bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.

“Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future. Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.

“BBC Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve.”

Additional reporting by James Batchelor

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