BBC3’s time on the telly is coming to an end. The Beeb’s dedicated home for ‘youth programming’ is being switched off on 16th February. There will be no more late repeats of EastEnders and zero chance you’ll accidentally stumble across a new BBC3 comedy while channel hopping, or one of their trademark hard-hitting documentaries.
But as BBC3 moves online, sources insist that its weekly output will actually remaining the same. RadioTimes.com understands that fans can expect the same volume of brand new content each week, which is about 3-4 hours of programming.
Conventional programming will be available via BBC iPlayer, and we understand viewers can also expect to see BBC3 branded content popping up on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and another yet-to-be-announced platform, which we are likely to find out more about in the coming days.
Will BBC3’s programmes – including new series Class, Thirteen, Stupid Man, Smart Phone and returning episodes of Murder in Successville, Josh, Uncle and People Just Do Nothing – become available week-by-week, as is traditional? Or will the channel follow the lead of on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and drop full series in one go? That call will be made as appropriate and might be different for each show.
When it comes to what content BBC3 will be producing from now on, we can still expect the comedies, dramas and documentaries we associate with the channel. They have lost Family Guy to ITV2 (with older series also airing on BBC2), but there are still likely to be some acquisitions. There will be new ventures too. BBC3 wants to create reactive news and comedy features, shorts, spin-offs and standalones, investing around £6 million a year in this ‘short-form’ content, much of which will be made to support the main programmes.
And we can still expect to see BBC3 shows on our television screens, with the BBC Trust insisting that all BBC3 long-form programmes get a repeat on either BBC1 or BBC2. Exactly when and where will be arranged on a case-by-case basis, but we might, for example, see a BBC3 comedy air after The Graham Norton Show on a Friday on BBC1, or watch a hard-hitting documentary before Newsnight on BBC2.
The next question of course is, whether on iPlayer, BBC1 or BBC2, will BBC3’s audience be watching?