Nuts and Bolts Goes Interactive; TELEVISION: Viewers of Valleys Drama to Decide between Two Endings
Byline: TONY TRAINOR
HTV soap opera Nuts and Bolts will become the first interactive television drama in Britain to invite viewers to decide the fate of one of its leading characters.
The saga of life in the fictional South Wales Valleys town of Ystrad, which is in its third series, will feature a special viewers' poll.
Episode 25, the penultimate edition, which is due to be broadcast on November 30, will invite viewers to choose between two alternative endings for the series.
The audience will play the role of a Crown court judge in deciding whether Ystrad business tycoon Jon Peters should be sent to prison for hiring thugs to beat up Gilly, one of the soap's villains.
Peters is played by actor Chris Reich, who may be familiar to EastEnders buffs as Dr Legg's nephew, Samuel.
Peter Edwards, the creator and producer of Nuts and Bolts, directed Reich during their time on EastEnders in the 1980s.
Filmed entirely in Merthyr Tydfil, Nuts and Bolts won a Royal Television Society award as the best regional drama programme.
The twice-weekly soap now commands more than a quarter of the available viewing audience in Wales, despite its off-peak time slot of 5.30pm, and is watched by more people than the ITV network soap Crossroads .
The second series featured an extra edition, Episode Zero, which explored the psychological motivation of each character.
Joanna Davies, HTV's brand manager, whose idea it was to let viewers call the shots, said, "How many times do we shout at the screen when a film or drama ends the wrong way?
"I was gutted when Clark Gable walked out on Vivien Leigh at the end of Gone with the Wind and.
"If I'd had the opportunity to vote then, I would certainly have wanted them to be together.
"With Big Brother showing how compulsive interactive TV is in 'reality' programming, it seems logical to make it a part of TV drama too."
In the climate of interactive television where Sky Sports viewers can select different camera angles and replay the action, it was only a matter of time before drama producers would seek to interact with their audiences. …