The future of BBC Three is up in the air today with the news that BBC director general Tony Hall is expected to announce he is axing the channel as part of a money saving scheme. A campaign to save the channel, famous for being a breeding ground for new comedy, music festival coverage and undercover documentaries, is already circulating with parallels being drawn between this situation and that of BBC 6Music. People power saved the radio station in 2010 and it will be the BBC Trust who have the final decision as to whether BBC Three continues transmission. However, the future does not look promising.
As a licence fee-funded channel, BBC Three has targeted 18-34 year olds since its inception in 2003, offering the BBC’s only outlet for youth TV in recent years. In that time it has become home to comedies such as The Mighty Boosh, Gavin & Stacey and Little Britain prior to their moves to terrestrial TV while also broadcasting Nighty Night, Pulling, Him & Her and this year’s excellent Uncle. It’s also housed excellent drama like Being Human, The Fades and In The Flesh.
In addition to comedy, BBC Three is currently one of the very few places to watch live music with the channel showing coverage of festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds and T In The Park every summer as well as Radio 1’s Big Weekend. While the future of the station is unclear, it seems a move to iPlayer is the best music fans can hope for. This will bring budgetary restrictions that may affect the quality of the station’s current output – or even its ability to attend these events at all.
So how do you feel about the planned closure of BBC Three? Is it a channel you watch regularly? And if so, what would you miss the most about it? Or do you feel now is the time to say goodbye? After all, perhaps there are only so many repeats of Family Guy and Eastenders one person can take.