Your Opinions: Should BBC Three Be Axed?
The change will see BBC Three become a solely online channel, a trailblazer in a new media world, but there are concerns that less programming will be produced by the channel.
BBC celebrities, such as Jack Whitehall, Nick Grimshaw and Russell Kane are among thousands of people across the country already rallying behind the channel, which they argue is ‘vital’ to new comedy.
BBC three was launched in 2003, and its key successes have included Gavin & Stacey, Little Britain (which was later moved to BBC One) and Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education, an episode of which was the fourth most watched BBC show on iPlayer last year. The channel has won more awards in its 11-year history than its rivals (Sky 1, E4, ITV2 and Channel 5) put together over their combined 25-year history. It has proven more popular than Channel 4 for 16-24 year olds, is even more popular after 10pm than Dave (or anything else for that matter), and even its documentaries have pulled two Baftas.
Lord Hall announced the plan at the Oxford Media Convention last week, where he alluded to the "tough choices" in his in-tray. Speculation has been growing for a while about the future of the £85 million-a-year BBC Three, in the context of such big forthcoming cuts, and the plans look set to somewhat protect the £49 million-a-year arts and culture specialist, BBC Four. However, this is still some U-turn for the Director General, who said just in October that he wouldn’t even consider closing a channel.
Importantly, Hall still needs approval from the BBC Trust before the service moves online, and the BBC are keen to stress that, as of yet, "no decisions have been made". The Trust is the corporation’s governing body and is supposed to represent the interests of licence fee payers. It has acted to reverse plans before, for example, overturning the decision to close BBC Radio 6 Music and Asian Network after a rigorous consumer campaign.
There are many petitions in circulation to stop this service going wholly ‘online’, and, perhaps ironically, the best place to find one is online. Even BBC Three’s own Twitter feed has been posting ‘#SaveBBC3’.
The channel hasn’t been without controversy, with incendiary show titles, such as My Man Boobs & Me, and Snog, Marry, Avoid?, however, talk of it being axed and its overall annual budget being halved has prompted outcry. Many believe that BBC Three is a vital service for up-and-coming comedians and film-makers.
Comedian Russell Kane, who currently has a show called Live At The Electric on the channel, proclaims that "If BBC Three is really under threat, so is much of the UK's new comedy". This was echoed by many other famous BBC comedians, including Matt Lucas, who starred in BBC Three’s Little Britain, who called the channel "the home of new comedy and drama".
A new-look second generation iPlayer was unveiled today and many argue that moving BBC Three to the platform is in keeping with its target audience’s changing viewing habits, such as watching content online in their bedrooms or on tablet devices. However, some are concerned that the move is too far ahead of the curve and could collapse before viewing habits adapt. The BBC does already offer some content online, such as advanced viewings of Peter Kay’s new BBC One sitcom, Car Share, but is BBC Three’s mission statement, ‘Never Afraid to Try New Things’ coming back to haunt them?
Dear young people of Cardiff. Here at theSprout, we want as many young people as possible to be connected, talking about the issues that affect them most. We’re calling for one article per week relating to a key news story that we can open up for discussion. This week’s topic is: Should BBC Three be axed? Comment below to have your say. If you’re not registered, just input your email address and password here. Sprouty love, Sam (Editor) and Tom (Sub-Editor).
Just to get you thinkingâ€¦ Do you watch BBC Three? Would you be affected? Would you mind only being able to watch BBC Three online? Are you concerned that it would affect the future of new content from BBC Three? What would this mean for the BBC’s commitment to provide ‘something for everyone’? What do you think of the quality of BBC’s recent content? If you were wielding the axe, where would you make the cuts?
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