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Your Opinions: Should BBC Three Be Axed?

Posted by Tom W from Cardiff - Published on 12/03/2014 at 15:33
9 comments » - Tagged as Comedy, Culture, Sport & Leisure, Topical

BBC Three is set to be axed from our TV screens, as part of the BBC’s plan to save £100 million a year.

The move, described by BBC Three Controller, Zai Bennett, as "perverse", is expected to be announced by the BBC’s new Director General, Tony Hall, later this month.

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 thinking… 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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9 CommentsPost a comment



Commented 26 months ago - 12th March 2014 - 19:08pm

I think their remit is 16-34 but I've rarely watched it apart from Family Guy. Still I think it's important to have a youth-orientated channel and should be saved.

I'd get rid of BBC 4. I watch loads on there and it's a brilliant channel but I'm sure BBC 4 now is what BBC 2 used to be. So what I'm actually saying is get rid of BBC 2 / replace all their programmes with BBC 4 ones.

Won't happen though.



Commented 26 months ago - 12th March 2014 - 19:13pm

Oh and the only reason that Russell Kane is moaning is because no one else will commission his terrible shows.



Commented 26 months ago - 13th March 2014 - 11:55am

I'd be devastated if they axed BBC3. Some of my favourite TV shows started there. Think what might have happened if they'd not have a chance to flourish. What if The Mighty Boosh had never happened?! One of the things I missed most when I was in America was late nights on BBC3. It's such a comfort to stick on Family Guy and American Dad and just laugh.

From what I've heard, a large portion of the savings is going towards creating a BBC1+1.... well, who would want that? Nowhere near as many who would rather see BBC3 saved. BBC3 really is important to young people and to comedy as a whole. Their accolades prove this and surely the uproar following the announcement support it.

BBC3 should not be axed.



Commented 26 months ago - 13th March 2014 - 15:16pm

If, like Stormer says, BBC1+1 is going to become a new channel, axing BBC3 would be a ridiculously stupid move. There's already a BBC1+1, just as there is a BBC1+2, a BBC1+3 and a BBC+72: it's called iPlayer.

When I was in Year 8/9 I had some mildly unpleasant things to deal with, and going to BBC3 to watch Russel Howard's Good News and Snog Marry Avoid (trashy, not very feminist, but still comforting) was what would pull me out of slumps and get me ready to be a human being again. When I left the UK, BBC3 is undoubtedly what I missed the most, and every time I've been home, BBC3 is undoubtedly the TV channel I've watched the most.

If a person can have a TV channel they can call home, mine is BBC3; if it is axed, I'll be doomed to forever lurk in the dark corners of YouTube, watching old episodes of shows I didn't even like, just for that taste of familiarity we all desperately need.


Commented 26 months ago - 14th March 2014 - 09:36am

Thats crazy bbc 3 has won more awards than sk1,E4,channel 5 and ITV2 put together! wow!!!!!!!!!! !........! _=-


Commented 26 months ago - 14th March 2014 - 09:42am

BBC3 engages young adults/teenagers to the BBC. If BBC is axed then younger viewers will not tune in to watch the BBC. It shouldn't be taken away!


Commented 26 months ago - 14th March 2014 - 09:46am

BBC3 is the best channel that the BBC has. i love watching Bad Education and Bluestone 42 they have the best programs eeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrr!!!!! they should really axe of BBC4 because no one watches clasical music on TV they don't watch orchestra concerts on the TV you would just get tickets to see them!
BBC3 is my comfort when i'm sad or lonely! i really like curling up on my sofa with my laptop and watching Don't Tell The Bride or Snog Marry Avoid!




Commented 25 months ago - 9th April 2014 - 14:50pm

I think bbc3 should stay. It has great documentaires that engage young people. If it weren't for bbc three I wouldn't have found one of my favourite youtube channels thosepeskydames in one of cherry healeys shows.


Commented 25 months ago - 11th April 2014 - 09:41am

WHY would someone do this tom us what about family guy and american dad and Russel Howard's good news

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