BBC iWonder (2015)

The brief

To write x3 interactive guides about William Shakespeare for a new online factual product by the BBC.

The process

I worked with commissioners to identify three interesting and unusual topics about Shakespeare’s life and works, that could be hung off a frequently asked or provocative question. I used SEO and user research to discover what aspects of the topic was appealing to users, and contacted experts in schools and the BBC’s own Learning department to identify topics relevant to the curriculum, as well as topics linked to current events and recent controversies.

Once I’d identified three topics, I expanded on them using the BBC’s template, broke the answer down into key learning steps, and fed back the kind of interactive functionality and assets I’d need to illustrate the topic.

The outcome

I delivered x3 scripts for interactive articles outlining copy, metadata and interactive assets.

  1. Was Shakespeare a fraud?

  2. How much of what we say today do we owe to Shakespeare?

  3. Was the theatre more fun in Shakespeare's day?

GUIDE TITLE: Was Shakespeare a fraud?

GUIDE METADATA: William Shakespeare wrote more than 37 plays, 5 long poems and 154 sonnets – or did he? Weigh up the evidence with this BBC guide.

PROMO: Three reasons you should doubt Shakespeare.

LEARNING OUTCOME: In this guide users will DISCOVER the evidence for and against Shakespeare’s authorship THROUGH biographical and historical information WHICH MEANS THAT they will UNDERSTAND to what extent Shakespeare wrote his plays.


  1. Introduction

  2. The Stratford man

  3. Clues in the text

  4. Shakespeare’s reputation

  5. Interactive

  6. Did someone else write Shakespeare’s plays?

  7. Where to next?

SEO KEYWORDS: Stratford, Shakespeare facts, Shakespeare country, Shakespeare family tree, Shakespeare family, Shakespeare’s birthday, birthplace, Shakespeare house, Stratford upon Avon, Anne Hathaway, controversy, conspiracy, authorship, biography

STEP 1: Introduction


William Shakespeare is considered the world’s greatest ever playwright, but not much is known about him.

We know when he was born (1564), when he married (1582) and became a father (1583, and again, to twins, in 1585), and when he died (1616, at the age of 52). But beyond official records, he left very little behind.

What does remain are his works. In the course of his life, Shakespeare is believed to have written 38 plays, 154 sonnets and five long poems. Or did he?

Sample copy