BBC3 bidders: We’ll call our new channel Tony as an homage to the director-general!

Jon Thoday and Jimmy Mulville make light-hearted promise to honour the BBC boss if he allows the sale of the channel

Maybe this will convince BBC director-general Tony Hall – the men bidding to buy BBC3 have said they could call the new channel Tony if he allows the sale.

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The tongue-in-cheek promise was made at a meeting last night of Hat Trick boss Jimmy Mulville and Jon Thoday from production company and agency Avalon where the duo sought to convince rival independent producers of their plans.

One of the sticking points over their proposed £100m take-over of the channel before it goes online is using the BBC name – something the two men dismissed.

“We don’t care about what it’s called,” joked Jimmy Mulville. “We don’t mind losing the BBC name. We ‘ll call it Tony as an homage.”

In a lively discussion, the pair said that the BBC’s decision was a political one as the Corporation sought to show that it could take tough, cost cutting decisions ahead of licence fee debate.

Thoday and Mulville continued to insist that their £100m bid for BBC3 is serious despite the BBC’s insistence that the channel is not for sale.

Hat Trick is the award-winning producer of leading shows such as Have I Got News For You for BBC1 and Some Girls for BBC3. Avalon’s Television division makes shows such as Channel 4 comedy Man Down and Russell Howard’s Good News, which moved from BBC3 to BBC2 last year.

BSkyB and Channel 5 executive David Elstein also criticised the decision to axe BBC3 at a separate event last night.

Speaking at a City University event about the future of the BBC, he said:  “The BBC Trust is going to adjudicate on BBC3 but by the time they get round to it, if they get round to it, it will be too late, it’s a done deal… Talk about the living dead.”

BBC 3’s controversial move online is currently on hold pending a decision by the Trust, with the interim adjudication expected in June and the final decision expected in October. The Trust has told RadioTimes.com that 23,000 people have submitted comments about the proposals.

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Thoday & Mulville: We are serious about buying BBC3