The End of BBC3? Tony Hall to Axe “Youth” Channel

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Following reports of its proposed closure by BBC Director General Tony Hall, BBC News has now announced that BBC3 will soon no longer operate as a broadcast television channel.

In theory, even once the channel has been axed completely, its usual output will remain available online. However, a reduction in funding and media platforms for the channel specifically designed to nurture emerging talent could make a huge difference to the BBC’s approach to new work that has not yet established an audience.

BEING HUMAN POSTERThe primarily youth-oriented channel has now been running for 11 years, and has provided a much-needed launching pad for many great drama series such as Torchwood, Being Human, The Fades and In The Flesh, as well as related behind-the-scenes programmes like Doctor Who Confidential. It also boasts an eclectic range of comedy shows including The Mighty Boosh, Gavin & Stacey, Little Britain, Bad Education and The Revolution Will Be Televised, as well as some important documentaries like the BAFTA-winning Our War.

According to the Guardian, Hall said at last week’s Oxford Media Convention that the BBC “couldn’t stay the same” because of the need to save another £100 million per year, faced with upcoming charter renewal and changes to the license fee. He said that “hard decisions” would have to be made, and stressed that he wanted to avoid “salami slicing” – that is, making smaller cuts across the board.

Though BBC critics have long disapproved of what they have seen as the channel’s increasingly “salacious and celebrity-obsessed content”, with shows like Snog, Marry, Avoid?, the BBC has in the past defended its more controversial programmes as essential to its aim of reaching out to younger viewers.

Ep00_CoE_torchwood_teamAlready there has been a groundswell of support for the channel on Twitter, including from actors, comedians and presenters (Russell Tovey, Jack Whitehall, Matt Lucas, Nick Grimshaw and Greg James, to name a few). A Change.org petition to save BBC3 has already been set up, and comedian Russell Kane has spoken out against the move, saying that:

“If BBC3 is really under threat, so is much of the UK’s new comedy. This place is the crucible of upcoming comedic artists. Yet again, young people don’t get a proper voice in the cutbacks.”

If this is to have an effect, it certainly won’t be limited to comedy: young writers, directors, actors and other creatives could also feel the impact of the decision. But are the BBC right to be making it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: The Guardian | BBC News

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