BBC to release Doctor Who online game to teach kids how to code

21 Oct 2014258 Views

In a visionary move poised to teach more and more kids how to code, the BBC is about to launch a new online game called ‘The Doctor and the Dalek.’

The game has been engineered to complement the UK’s coding curriculum for schools.

The move is part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative to inspire a new generation of kids to get creative with coding, digital technology an programming.

“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,” said Danny Cohen, BBC director of Television explained.

The game will be available for free online at from tomorrow, 22 October. Note, it can only be played in the UK.

The game – aimed ideally at 10 year-olds – is based on the Unity engine and features the current Doctor Peter Capaldi’s voice.

A range of puzzles are featured throughout the game where players must take control of a Dalek and program 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.

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 UK’s brave new computing curriculum

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.

 “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 programming,” explained Sinéad Rocks, head of BBC Learning.

“Every puzzle has a strong link to the KS2 or KS3 computing curriculum. So we think it’s going to be a really valuable tool for students, parents and teachers.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of for 17 years. He joined Silicon Republic in 2002 to become the fulcrum of the company’s news service. He received of the Irish Internet Association’s NetVisionary Technology Journalist Award 2005 and saw awarded ‘Best Technology Site’ at the Irish Web Awards seven times. In 2011 he received the David Manley Award commending him for his dedication to covering entrepreneurs. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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