BBC Projects

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Siege of Derry timeline

The Siege of Derry timeline explores the turbulent period of Irish history when Londonderry took centre stage in the battle for supremacy between two kings. The 1689 Siege of Derry is a contentious event often viewed in isolation. We were keen to use this website to remove it from its modern day political connotations and to view it as a conflict set within the context of Irish, English and European history. It was therefore essential that I thoroughly research the subject, draw from qualified sources, work with historian and analyse key aspects of information to ensure an unbiased account. The resulting animated timeline reveals the military strategy of the 1689 Siege of Derry and places the campaign in context by exploring events in Ireland, England and Europe from 1603 to 1690. Contemporary maps, pictures and accounts have been compiled to create an animated narrative of this period 17th century Irish history. This resource reflects the KS3 Plantation theme of learning.

Ellen Bell, writer/ producer, BBC 

Award: Winner of the Kieran Hegarty Award for Interactivity at Celtic Media Festival 2012.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sesame Tree

The Sesame Tree resource was created to complement the “Sesame Tree” television series made by the BBC with the Sesame Street Workshop. The website featured illustrated interactive scenes from the TV series to enable children to immerse themselves in the Sesame Tree world. Interactive activities such as Scrapbook challenge extended the learning outcomes of topics featured in the TV series. Activity sheets and parental guidance were available to download for off-line use. Aimed at 3-6 year olds the website reflected the specific requirements of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Foundation level. For this project Ellen worked closely with the TV production team to ensure the website was complementary to the series and delivered to transmission deadlines. She storyboarded layouts and activities and commissioned website developers, graphic designers and illustrators and project managed their delivery.

Ellen Bell – producer, BBC


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Place, My Space

My Place, My Space was a tourism challenge that invited KS2 pupils to create child-focussed tourism material for their area. The challenge consisted of a website and competition designed to encourage KS2 pupils to find out about their local area and share their knowledge with their peers. The website features video and printable activity sheets that provide KS2 pupils with a basic understanding of tourism marketing and ICT skills. We used the personality of the young presenters throughout the design and content to create a fun and engaging website for young users.

Ellen Bell, producer/writer, BBC


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Top Teeth

Top Teeth is an educational website designed to heighten awareness of dental health for children in Northern Ireland. Child tooth decay is a serious health problem in Northern Ireland. The resource is aimed at 7-9 year olds and is designed to encourage good dental hygiene amongst children in a fun and enjoyable manner. The interactive games and activities offered on the site give children the opportunity to learn about dental hygiene, diet for healthy teeth, teeth structure and the names of different types of teeth in a colourful and interactive manner. This project involved Ellen mentoring an assistant producer during the production of the website. She had overall responsibility for content creation, project management and creative direction while guiding the assistant producer in the commissioning of teacher’s notes, web development and activity design.

Ellen Bell – acting senior producer, BBC

Award: Winner Learning OnScreen Award 2011.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For Teachers

For Teachers was a video-based website designed to help local teachers transition to the new curriculum. We conducted research with local teachers and found many were apprehensive about the curricular changes and the use of technology in the classroom while some had embraced the new guidelines and were implementing them successfully. I felt that creating a website that used video to share this best practice would provide a valuable resources to all teachers in Northern Ireland. I commissioned a local company to film sessions of the new teaching methods and use of technology in the classroom. BBC archive footage was used to create five thematic units that contained teaching resources and structured learning activities.

Ellen Bell – producer, BBC


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Landscapes Unlocked

Landscapes unlocked uses BBC archive footage to explore the landscape of Northern Ireland. The website features footage from BBC series Sky High which was re-edited and re-scripted to provide an insight into the geography of Northern Ireland. The website provides the general audience with video guides that explore the beauty of the Northern Ireland landscape by county. For KS3 students the videos are broken down by educational topic and theme. BBC News archive was then used used to illustrate how geography topics such as pollution affect everyday life. Animations were created to demonstrate more complex topics such as erosion and meander formation.

Ellen Bell – producer, BBC Russell Matbouli, developer BBC

Nominations: Learning OnScreen Award 2009.


Screen shot of Learning Tea break web page.

Learning Teabreak

Learning Tea-break was a BBC NI radio programme designed to encourage the over 50s to get more out of their computers. The radio show provided a light-hearted look at common technical queries and issues and included anecdotes from local celebrities. I wanted the website to reflect the light-hearted nature of the programme so I decided to create a 1950s style couple who as agony aunt and uncle would answer common technical difficulties from listeners. We devised 10 scenarios and asked two of the contributors to the programme Jackie Fullerton and Olivia Nash to take on the roles of the couple for a photo-shoot. The resulting tongue-in-cheek photographs were interspersed with technical screen shots and photographs to create fact sheets that illustrated technical issues such as dealing with spam emails and booking holidays online.

Ellen Bell – producer, BBC


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

KS3 Citizenship

KS3 Citizenship website was designed to support teachers during the introduction of the new subject of Citizenship into Northern Ireland schools. Citizenship explores controversial topics such as racism and sectarianism and many practitioners felt uncomfortable teaching the subject. I used the comic-book metaphor for its implied moral code and its ability to convey difficult issues in an accessible manner. Using this approach I was able to create activities such as ‘A Balanced View’ that enabled teachers to discuss and debate difficult issues such as prejudice with their pupils.

Ellen Bell, interface/interactive designer, illustrator


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

William III

With William III, we wanted to create a website that challenged the traditional view of ‘King Billy’ a contentious figure in Irish history, celebrated and condemned in equal measure. I felt that the history of English monarchs was often presented in a dry and inaccessible manner as compared to the coverage of the life of the modern Royal family. When the producer began to uncover some revelations about the character of King William, I felt that a tabloid style of design would be appropriate ‘to break the story’. Using a broadsheet lay-out for more in-depth pieces. Activities such as the ‘Child’s View’ were designed to challenge common misconceptions about the King. This approach made a comprehensive and detailed description of the must maligned monarch enjoyable and accessible to a wide range of users.

Ellen Bell, interface/interactive designer, Russell Matbouli developer 

Nominations: Interactive BAFTA, Learning OnScreen Award 2006


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Musical Mysteries

Musical Mysteries is an interactive website designed to support the Northern Ireland Music Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2. The resource helps pupils to explore basic musical concepts in sound, rhythm and mood. Enabling them to gain valuable listening, composing and musical interpretation skills. Ellen was responsible for storyboarding, directing the illustrator and producing the interactive games for the website. Russell was responsible for the client-side development of the website.

Ellen Bell – interactive designer, Russell Matbouli – web development, BBC

Award: Winner, Learning OnScreen Award, 2005


Screen shot from Irish Bitesize website.

Irish Bitesize

The Irish Bitesize website is designed to aid students studying for their Irish GSCE exam and provides content for the different elements of the examination in the form of revision guides, Flash games, course notes and quizzes. The Irish Bitesize site was designed for those students studying Irish as a second language and included Flash activities for Listening and Speaking modules of the exam. Ellen was responsible for project managing the delivery of the Irish language content (1,300 audio files) and the design and build of the interactive games. Russell was responsible for the build of the website.

Ellen Bell – interactive designer, Russell Matbouli – web development, BBC


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TV and Radio Schools websites

A range of resources were created to support Northern Ireland Schools TV and Radio output such as the Hurley Burley, Na Dódai and Today and Yesterday series of programmes. These programmes targeted primary school children with content relating to the Northern Ireland curriculum. The support consisted of teacher’s notes, suggested activities, songs and interactive games that reinforced the learning outcomes of the associated programme. Ellen was responsible for storyboarding, designing and coding of the interactive games and producing teacher’s notes. Russell was responsible for website development.

Ellen Bell – producer/ interactive designer, Russell Matbouli – web development, BBC