The BBC to release a Doctor Who game that'll teach children programming

The BBC is set to release a Doctor Who game that’ll help kids to learn how to code and program with the help of Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor. The game is written by Phil Ford, one of the show’s writers, and it’ll tell a standalone Who story as the Doctor teams up with one of his big bad mortal enemies, a Dalek, in order to save all of creation. (Insert sounds of doom here.)

Here’s what the BBC revealed about the upcoming game:

The Doctor and the Dalek

Players join the action as the TARDIS materialises amidst a deadly pursuit through space – a Dalek Saucer bearing down on a Cyber-ship. But from that Cyber-ship emanates a distress call – from a Dalek! On freeing the battered Dalek from his Cybermen captors, the Doctor finds himself taking his new unlikely ally on a mission to save all of creation from destruction at the hands of his greatest enemies.

But why would a Dalek turn to its mortal foe for help? To find out, join the Doctor and the Dalek in a new adventure spanning the Sontar homeworld and its vile Clone Chambers, which have never been shown on-screen before, as well as reintroducing the icy Cyber-tombs of Telos – last seen in classic Doctor Who episodes.

The Doctor said: "Oi! Short and not-very-old one! I need your help - I’ve got a Dalek and we’ve got a mission to save the universe. So get on over to the CBBC website, and play The Doctor and the Dalek while there’s still a universe left! Come on! Chop chop! Make it Digital on the BBC."

Introducing computing skills

A range of puzzles are featured throughout the game, where players must take control of the Dalek and programme it to “power up” its ability to perform a range of tasks, such as flying. Each puzzle unlocks an achievement that helps the Doctor build the Dalek back to full strength, ensuring it can take on increasingly difficult challenges as the game progresses.

The puzzles are linked to the new computing curriculum and are designed to allow children across the UK to pick up core programming principles as they play. Several key stage 2 and 3 curriculum points – such as combining instructions to accomplish a given goal, using variables to alter behaviour, repetition and loops, and logical reasoning – are seamlessly integrated into the gameplay and, most importantly for children, are intuitive and fun.

Resources accompanying the game will be available from BBC Learning at for teachers and parents to help children get the most out of the game. These will provide links to other resources available from across the BBC and third parties, enabling children and teachers to take their learning journeys further.

Danny Cohen, BBC Director of Television, said: “The Doctor and the Dalek is a brand new Doctor Who story and a fantastic game, voiced by the wonderful Peter Capaldi. It’s an excellent example of how a hugely popular BBC show can give fans something extra, whilst also introducing wider audiences to increasingly important skills, such as coding and programming.”

Sinéad Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, said: “We’re really excited about the launch of The Doctor and the Dalek as not only is it a really entertaining platform game for kids to play but it’s also a great introduction to some key principles of computer programing. Every puzzle has a strong link to the KS2 or KS3 computer science curriculum. So we think it’s going to be a really valuable tool for students, parents and teachers.”

The Doctor and the Dalek was commissioned by BBC Learning, developed and produced by BBC Wales and Somethin’ Else in association with BBC Future Media.

“The Doctor and the Dalek” will be released as part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative, set to inspire kids to get creative with coding, digital technology and programming. It will be available for free starting from Wednesday, Oct. 22. Bummer is that it'll only be open for UK residents -- coding is a skill that children the world over could stand to learn.

(BBC via EW)

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