Would you be interested in listening to a 90 second YouTube philosophy lesson? Before you answer you should know that the lessons are going to be taught by The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns and Agent Dana Scully of the X-Files. Have I piqued your interest? The BBC is certainly hoping so. They’re bringing in the big guns to help voice a series of animated educational shorts for a series called “A History Of Ideas.”
The series is a video complement to the Radio 4 series of the same name, hosted by philosopher and radio presenter Melvyn Bragg. The BBC is hoping to give the program a new media facelift with some bonus video content and it’s bringing in a handful of recognizable voices to give the series a little extra pizzazz. Harry Shearer, who recently dropped his own web series, Nixon’s The One, will voice twelve of the episodes while Gillian Anderson will take on another twelve. A total of 48 episodes are planned meaning that there’s room for two more stars, but the BBC isn’t tipping its hand on that just yet.
This latest project from the BBC is part of a larger boom taking place in Educational YouTube right now. Here in the States, the digital arm of PBS is working with the Green brothers to bring about two new editions of Crash Course, while separately YouTube is throwing its advertising might behind another educational Hank Green project, Sci-Show. YouTube’s capacity to reach a different audience has made it a prime vehicle for innovative educational programming and it seems that public broadcasters the world over are finally getting in on the fun.