BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced in 2014 that BBC THREE was to be axed as part of a £100 million pound cost-cutting measure. Many people have already spoke out about the axe, I myself am upset that a channel that has provided much quality programming is being reduced and relegated to an online-only format. The news yesterday (Friday 16th January 2015) of the axing of In The Flesh has just assured me that big changes need to happen. I thought I could maybe adapt with the idea of the programming going to BBC TWO or BBC ONE (Russell Howard’s Good News, Gavin & Stacey), but now I think this change is destroying far too much of why people enjoyed the channel in the first place. Here are my five points as to why BBC Three can’t be taken away and also what needs to change in the British Broadcasting Corporation.
- It may have been youth orientated, but that was never the only audience.
Yes, BBC THREE was originally seen as a channel aimed at the younger demographic, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones affected. BBC Three brought us programming which challenged what we were used to. Sitcoms such as Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisp would never have existed if it wasn’t for the channel. Comedy for the channel has indeed been strong. Big examples come from the school-based antics of Bad Education, the random sketches of Little Britain, the rather quirky How Not To Live Your Life and many more which appealed to many and grew. The biggest examples can be award winners Gavin and Stacey (winner of many TV awards) and Russell Howard’s Good News (voted the best-ever BBC THREE show on Digital Spy). These shows have been integral and some have grown to be of matching or higher quality than your standard terrestrial channels.
- You win a BAFTA; you’re going to be cancelled!
BBC THREE has seen itself surpass its more established brothers and take some top prizes in TV. Most notably would be the BAFTAs in which the programming of the channel has beaten shows from the major five. April 2012 saw the axing of critically-acclaimed show The Fades. The show was highly-praised and put a great positive note on BBC THREE and its contents. A month later, the show won the Best Drama BAFTA and many went away confused as to why this happened to a cancelled show. The answer? It should never have been cancelled. 2014 saw a similar thing happen when top show In The Flesh won the BAFTA for best TV Mini-Series. Yet, even with top award wins and great praise, the show has recently been cancelled. Why do you do this BBC? These shows are proof you can make something great and you keep ruining it! Please reward what works for you, not punish us with inferior shows.
- BBC THREE made some great documentaries. But do we really need cheap reality shows?
One thing BBC THREE could do was make some intriguing programming. One big example is the shows that have focused on disabilities, family life and other subjects that many channels would steer clear from. The documentaries hosted by Stacey Dooley have been highlighted as showing content and areas which the more established channels would never do. So the educational factor is strong for the channel. We wouldn’t see half of the realities of these areas if not for this channel. Also, Doctor Who Confidential had a charm until it was taken away (by Zai Bennett). Then we have the programmes which are just bad. We seem to lose quality dramas and instead we get shows were parents follow their children on holiday, shows where women get makeovers, wedding programmes where a man plans the wedding (Made to look like the man won’t know what he is doing). This comes down to Zai Bennett, the guy who cancelled many of BBC THREE’s top programming and kept the cringe-worthy shows. He should not be allowed on any TV channel that holds programming of a high-calibre.
- Torchwood and Gavin & Stacey took over the main channel, and rightfully so.
Back in 2006, Torchwood begun and gave BBC THREE at the time it’s highest ever ratings. The programme was seen as having a bigger plan and slowly progressed up to BBC TWO for series 2 then up to BBC ONE for the critically-acclaimed series 3/’Children of Earth’ and the STARZ network partnership ‘Miracle Day’. Gavin and Stacey meanwhile made its way to BBC ONE by its third series and hit viewing figures of ten million by the time it hit the finale. This also launched the careers of the creators James Corden and Ruth Jones. These shows would not have entered our lives if not for this channel. They started small and eventually took the UK (and the world) by storm. Apart from Mrs Browns Boys, Gavin and Stacey has been the most successful BBC sitcom of the 21st century. As for Torchwood, it developed from a spin-off to become one of the most hailed adult Sci-fi shows of all time.
- If BBC THREE has to close, you better use that money you’re saving to bring back the shows we miss!
Well, even after 260,000+ have signed the petition to stop the BBC THREE closure, it still looks like bad news for the channel. But, I think to make it up to the people who will be upset by the closure; there is a list of cancelled shows (mostly cancelled by the taker of fun, Mr Zai Bennett) which should return for BBC TWO or BBC ONE. The Fall and In The Flesh are the two big shows which need a return. How Not To Live Your Life I think still has a lot of life in it too. Nighty Night was a risky comedy where dark humour paid off and we will not forget the gripping Being Human which made stars of the cast. But still, one of the best sitcoms of the 21st century would be Ideal as Johnny Vegas probably played one of his best characters in the Graham Duff comedy.
PLEASE BBC! SAVE YOUR QUALITY PROGRAMMING!
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove