From The Super Mario Bros. Super Show that cast a WWE wrestler as Mario, to the little-known Battletoads show that aired for one episode in the ’90s, TV shows based on video games are seldom remembered fondly. But that hasn’t stopped the BBC from mining one of gaming’s most lucrative franchises for an upcoming show based on Grand Theft Auto.
It’s surprising enough to see that the BBC has made plans for a TV drama based on Grand Theft Auto, but what’s even more surprising is that it’s for kids. The show will be part of the BBC’s new Make It Digital program, “a major UK-wide initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.”
The program is multifaceted, with projects mainly aimed at helping children and younger adults learn technology related skills, but it also includes a “season of programmes and online activity involving the BBC’s biggest and best-loved brands.” Some of these are names readers might be familiar with, like Doctor Who in particular, but one of the most interesting tidbits is the mention of a drama airing on BBC Two based on Grand Theft Auto.
The initial announcement was vague, leaving the details up to the imagination. Before you start writing angry letters (or celebrating) at the prospect of a television series full of drugs, sex, and violence being included in an initiative to educate British youth, it turns out that the series isn’t based on what happens in the games themselves, but what happens behind the scenes.
The series will supposedly be closer in concept to shows like AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, which follows a fictional company creating IBM clones in the 1980s Silicon Prairie. The new series will follow Rockstar Games founders San and Dan Houser as they start down the path that leads to the creation of the Grand Theft Auto games, according to IGN.
Gamers who only have a vague familiarity with the franchise might wonder why the series is airing on BBC Two, but though Rockstar is headquartered in New York, the Houser brothers were born and raised in London. It isn’t yet known when the program will air, but the tone of the BBC press release suggests that it could be this year.