Former Pulp lead singer and BBC 6 Music presenter Jarvis Cocker is not mourning the demise of BBC3, insisting that young people are not interested in conventional television any more.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Cocker, 50, said that he was not anxious about the BBC’s decision to move the channel online subject to BBC Trust approval.
“Young people don’t watch television anyway – it’s all about tablets for them so we shouldn’t be too bothered,” he said at the BBC’s launch of its new arts programmes today.
Asked whether the BBC – or its current system of funding through the universal licence fee - would eventually die out if a new generation do not watch television in significant numbers he said: “Well, we mustn’t worry about that. We should worry about what we do now. If the next generation want the BBC, they will have it.”
Some observers may be surprised that Cocker, who is taking a sabbatical from his 6 Music presenting duties, is not more sympathetic about the fate of BBC3 given the history of the radio station he works for. BBC 6 Music was also lined up for the axe but was saved after a public outcry and concerted campaign to save it eventually saw it reprieved in July 2010.
At today’s event, BBC director general Tony Hall said that BBC3 remained key to the BBC’s future. He said the iPlayer would help "engage with audiences", as would the eventual broadcast of all BBC3 programming on BBC1. “Never underestimate the power of BBC1,” Hall told RadioTimes.com
Hall also defended the BBC from the accusation that it was ignoring the youth audience, referring to the spread of arts programmes onto the mainstream BBC1 channel outlined today.
At the event Cocker told RadioTimes.com that he was taking a year away from his presenting duties on his BBC 6 Music show Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, in order to “find out if I have any creative energy left.”
He said he was composing more music but ruled out a reunion of Pulp, the band famous for singles such as Common People and Disco 2000. “We have done that, we won’t do it again. But hopefully I will find a way of inflicting any new music on an unsuspecting public.”