Advanced Television

Execs: ‘Online BBC Three will nurture talent’

January 26, 2016

By Colin Mann

In advance of its move from a linear channel to online, with switchover set for February 16th, BBC executives have revealed details of new and continuing content on the service. The new service will feature brand new original British comedy, contemporary British drama, innovative entertainment, thought-provoking documentaries and distinctive current affairs programming all made for BBC Three’s 16-34 target audience.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three, said that it would not be a case of “‘It’s on BBC Three’, rather, ‘It’s from BBC Three’. How we get our content to our audiences is changing, but some things aren’t; we’ll continue giving new talent and new ideas opportunities.”

“We’re 100 per cent committed to funding, finding and nurturing the next generation of new voices and providing coherent talent ladders so they have the opportunity to take their ideas to the next level. That’s what matters. It’s not the distribution platform, nor the duration; it’s the content itself and the talent behind it,” he declared.

Initiatives include a collaboration with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures, new British drama Clique, new documentary Black Power, new formats Life And Death Row: Love Triangle and Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared, along with new platforms The Daily Drop and The Best Of.

Kavanagh described BBC Three as “a badge of quality” and shorthand for content that will stimulate emotions and provoke reactions, adding that because the service was freed from the schedule, it could use whatever format and platform was most appropriate. “The majority of what we will make is TV, like People Just Do Nothing, but we’ll make short form video, blogs and picture-led stories as well. We’ll be on YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and our new site The Daily Drop,” he advised.

“The shackles are off when it comes to creativity. In February, our new drama Thirteen will include companion story Find The Girl that interweaves a character that exists wholly online. Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared and Emelia’s Story are exciting because we can now use different formats as well as TV to tell the story. Life Hacks shows how we can innovate with entertainment for new platforms. We’re blazing a trail with content made exclusively for young people.”

“When we were developing BBC Three we kept everything focused on what our audience told us they wanted. Different types of content they could dip into during the day that kept them informed and entertained, and comedy and documentaries they could binge watch at their convenience. That’s basically the idea behind The Daily Drop and The Best Of. Snackable daily updates for when you’re on the bus and longer programmes and other content for when you’re in front of the TV. For those big moments when you want a collective viewing experience we’re using the BBC’s live platform so we can create moments like director Q&As and encourage audience interaction.”

“There’s no ‘Big Bang’ change. The theory is simple: the only way for us is original British comedy, drama, serious factual and documentaries. I’ve £30 million (€39.4m) a year to spend on ideas for young audiences, and most importantly I want [UK creatives] to get behind us and help make BBC Three a success. We’re the first in the world to do this. There is a massive change in the way young people want to consume content. If we work together to make BBC Three a success, I believe we will all benefit,” he concluded.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, applauded the initiative. “It’s brilliant. I just love what Damian and the team are doing. For daring to do something new and very, very different, I think that’s what the BBC’s all about. We’ve always been innovators, we should continue to be innovators, and this just shows how we can change and do things that are new. We’re the first broadcaster in the world to work out what it’s going to be like in an on demand world. No TV channel has ever done this before. This is new and let’s be clear, it’s also risky in the way that it should be risky. If we don’t take risks, who is going to,” he asked.

“I want to underscore one thing Damian said … something that I think is important for this, but also for the BBC and that is backing new talent – in comedy, in drama, in factual programmes as well. I think that is one of the most important roles of the BBC: backing new talent, finding new talent, giving talent a chance to speak, to find its voice and to have confidence. It’s so important. I want people to look back on the new BBC Three and see it as a place that spotted the next James Corden, the next Aiden Turner, the next Sheridan Smith. In this new world, that’s part of what BBC Three stood for in the old world as well.”

All BBC Three originals will be available via and through BBC iPlayer on connected TVs, set-top boxes including Sky and Virgin, games consoles including Sony Playstation and Microsoft XBox, web browsers, native iOS, Windows and Android apps and BBC Red Button+.

All BBC Three originals will be repeated on BBC One or BBC Two at a later date.

BBC Three content will also be available on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Tumblr.

In addition to the brand new content some of BBC Three’s award-winning and most-loved shows will be made available at These favourites include The Mighty Boosh, Our War and Murdered By My Boyfriend.



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