MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC has announced that Doctor Who viewers are in for an extra treat when the new series launches next month.
In addition to watching 13 new adventures - with David Tennant as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose - viewers in the UK will be given the opportunity to download thirteen 60-second mini-episodes via their mobile phones, or stream them on broadband as part of the BBC's TV Plus trials.
The Tardisodes, which are part of the BBC's trials exploring ways of broadening the output of leading brands, offer the audience an insight into what's going on in the Doctor Who universe that week. These downloads will be available on Saturdays after the main show has gone out.
They will include footage that won't be seen on TV, and show the characters and adventures coming up in the next episode - from meeting the Cat Women who can cure all illnesses, joining Mickey as he discovers some alien activity in a local school, to witnessing the Cybermen upgrade process.
BBC director of television Jana Bennett says, "What better way of travelling with the Time Lord than to have a Tardisode come to you on your phone or PC? The Tardisodes are an exciting development, delivering mini-episodes which will let viewers access the vortex and explore new worlds before the Doctor arrives himself.
"We know that there is a huge appetite for Doctor Who and we want to make the whole experience bigger and better for viewers. These TV Plus trials will continue to help us understand more about the different ways in which viewers want to enjoy Doctor Who."
Created by the team behind Attack of the Graske, the Christmas interactive mission, the mini-episodes will have the same high quality elements as the main show.
Tardisodes co-producer Jo Pearce says, "Our aim, when planning the development of all these projects, is to make the interactive content around Doctor Who series two compelling, exciting and intriguing as well as enticing a broader audience to Doctor Who by positioning it on different platforms."
The Tardisodes are part of the BBC's TV Plus pilots, offering audiences a new way of engaging with BBC TV programmes to enhance their viewing experience. The pilots include preview clips on mobile phones, programme premieres on broadband a week ahead of their TV transmission, and a rich interactive experience on-demand through broadband and digital TV.
From 1 April 2006, the audience can text the word Tardis to 81010 to subscribe to the service. The user will then be sent a text message with a link to the download (this text will cost between 12 and 15p). They will then be asked to bookmark the link and to come back every Saturday at the end of the Doctor Who programme to see the new Tardisode.
If the user does not have a compatible handset they will be told before they download the content and asked to go to the Doctor Who website to watch the Tardisode. The BBC does not charge for its mobile content. However, the operators charge for using the internet on your phone and for the text messages to access the service will apply.
Costs vary from operator to operator. Operators may charge for time spent browsing or amount of data downloaded. Registering for the service is simple, participants will be asked to subscribe via text message and then will receive a weekly alert to inform them that new content is available.