‘Normal People’ success could see BBC Three return to TV, says BBC boss

The Sally Rooney adaptation gave the channel its best ever ratings week on iPlayer this month

The success of Normal People could see BBC Three returning to TV screens, says BBC boss Tony Hall.

The Director General spoke of the overwhelming success of the Sally Rooney adaptation, which gave BBC Three its biggest ever week of ratings on iPlayer this month.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday (May 24), Hall said: “We’ve learned. I think it’s absolutely right that an organisation should learn.


“We took (BBC Three) off linear because we wanted to save money and because we thought we could really launch it as an online vehicle because that’s where audiences are going to be, and it’s been a fantastic creative success.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in ‘Fleabag’, another big BBC Three hit. CREDIT: BBC

Hall went on to discuss how Normal People is “just the latest example of how well that’s done.”

“But what we’ve also learned is if you’ve got linear channels working alongside an on-demand service, that works very powerfully and that’s why we’re thinking of bringing (BBC Three) back.”

Back in March, it was revealed that the BBC were considering bringing BBC Three back on air after four years of being online-only.


The show was taken offline in 2016 to save costs. Since then, the channel has had success with Normal People, Fleabag and This Country, which were commissioned as online-only BBC Three series’.

Reviewing Normal People, NME wrote: “Running over six hours across 12 episodes, Normal People is a single relationship written large in tiny details – and both actors do a great job of keeping the focus narrowed down to the smallest flickers of love, pain and regret.”

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