Six to Start

Seven Ages of Britain for BBC One

Uncover Britain’s hidden history with David Dimbleby, through seven weekly quests. Decipher an Old English story, find out the truth behind the Round Table, and read Henry VIII’s love letters – all in the Seven Ages Quest.

Seven Ages of Britain was BBC 1′s flagship history programme for 2010. Over the course of seven hour-long episodes, David Dimbleby told the story of Britain’s history, from the Roman occupation to the modern day, through art and objects.

Six to Start was commissioned by The Open University (the BBC’s partners on the programme) to draw viewers further into Britain’s rich and surprising history through an online game, the Seven Ages Quest. We worked with the Open University’s expert historians to create seven weekly quests that each posed seven questions about the objects and events covered in the show.

Unlike normal quizzes, these questions couldn’t be solved with a simple Google search – instead, players had to take advantage of all the resources and tools they could find, and if they got stuck, they could ask friends on Twitter and Facebook for help.

We eased players into the Seven Ages Quest by recruiting David Dimbleby himself to provide the introduction and debriefs for every quest; this was David’s first appearance online, and we were delighted with the results:

We also embedded in exclusive and deleted scenes from the Seven Ages of Britain to add flavour and context to the game; in this way, we also introduced younger players to the TV show.

The key to succeeding in the Seven Ages Quest, and rising the ranks from Novice to Grand Master, didn’t lie merely in knowledge, but in the ability to find and evaluate that knowledge; players had to find and read the Domesday Book, Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, and centuries-old copies of The Guardian.

With the Seven Ages Quest, we opened people’s eyes, not just to the great span of British history, but to the tools and resources that can help them pursue and grow their interest.