BBC Three’s move back on-air “under active consideration” by BBC boss

The channel behind Normal People and Fleabag could return to linear television in the future.

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People

BBC Three’s recent successes with the likes of Normal People and the Emmy-winning Fleabag haven’t gone unnoticed – and it looks like the digital-only channel could return to linear television on-air.

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Speaking at the virtual Edinburgh TV Festival, BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell addressed rumours the channel could be restored as a linear one and revealed that BBC bosses had it “under active consideration”.

“Obviously there’s a new Director General about to start, and as the [BBC’s] annual plan says, that’s something the corporation has got under active consideration, so he’s gonna have that on his list of decisions, I would say, [as an] early decision probably to make in his first quarter,” she said.

“I would say that anything that gives a voice to BBC Three content which is trying to reflect the lives across the whole of the UK is obviously a good thing – I would say that! But obviously the corporation has got quite significant [decisions] to make…  so there’s a bigger picture in which it has to be weighed within.”

Later during the panel, she said, “The linear portfolio is still really powerful. The number of people you can catch on a linear channel overnight is significantly bigger than you would be able to capture on say iPlayer overnight.”

“TV is still a massively powerful presence in many people’s lives,” she added.

Back in May, the BBC announced in a report that there’s “potentially a strong case for restoring BBC Three as a linear channel” but that “viewing habits” would need to be closely monitored before any final decision was made. 

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