Digital channel BBC Three is to be dropped from Freeview, satellite and cable, as part of the BBC’s drive to save £100 million, it has been announced.
The station, which focuses mostly on comedy and reality television aimed at ‘young adults’, is to move entirely online, with its shows living on exclusively on iPlayer.
The decision follows director general Tony Hall’s speech last week, in which he stated that “tough choices” were needed, and that the BBC was “in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings.”
Launched in 2003, BBC Three was responsible for a number of big name projects featuring TVO regulars – amongst them The Mighty Boosh, Mongrels, Snuffbox, Nighty Night, Dead Boss, Pulling, Tittybangbang, Being Human, How Not To Live Your Life and AD/BC: A Rock Opera.
However, in recent years, alternative comedy on the channel faced tough times, as it focused more on reality programming – though the last few months had seen something of a resurgence with popular shows like Cuckoo and Uncle pulling in viewers.
News of the closure has come under significant public backlash, which may reserve the decision as was previously the case for both 6 Music and Asian Network. Yet with the continuation of the service as an online alternative, and the recent resurrection of BBC Two as a hub for alternative comedy via hit shows like It’s Kevin, House Of Fools and Inside No. 9, perhaps this won’t be such a bad thing after all…
To commemorate the channel’s past successes, we’ve set up a special section in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, celebrating some of their finest achievements which feature a cavalcade of TVO regulars. You can peruse the collection over yonder now.