As befits a series on the history of the internet, The Virtual Revolution would have been very different without the input of web users.

Even the title was pieced together from suggestions made by the community that followed the production team’s every move.

“We had to offer it as open source - people such as web founder Tim Berners-Lee said they wouldn’t have done it unless it was collaborative,” says multiplatform executive producer Julian Phillips.

Research notes, early graphics and music ideas and rushes were all uploaded online. Visitors got stuck in, suggesting people to interview and angles to take and pointing out errors along the way, forcing staff to respond via blogs and webcasts.

The project debuts on BBC2 this week, with the remaining episodes to be collaboratively tweaked close to the wire.

“Contributions from Berners-Lee and Al Gore are there for good on YouTube,” says producer Russell Barnes. “The dream is that someone takes this and puts their own view on it. Having let go of the rushes, we’ve really let go.”

Producer Russell Barnes
Multiplatform executive producer Julian Phillips