BBC Three to return as TV channel in February after Ofcom approves move

BBC Three's return as a linear channel has been given the green light by Ofcom.

Normal People

BBC Three will return as a broadcast TV channel for the first time in six years, after Ofcom approved its relaunch.


BBC Three, which has been responsible for such shows as Fleabag and the record-breaking lockdown hit Normal People, will launch its new channel in February 2022.

Ofcom consulted and carried out a public interest test on the BBC’s plans to relaunch BBC Three as a broadcast channel, saying: “We carefully assessed the BBC’s plans, alongside evidence and feedback gathered during our consultation. We found that the channel’s potential value to viewers ultimately outweighs the limited impact we identified on rival broadcasters.”

In a statement issued today (25th November), Ofcom said: “As required by the BBC Charter and Agreement, we have carried out a competition assessment. We have reviewed how the BBC has developed its proposals and its assessment of their public value, as well as assessed the impact of the BBC’s proposals on competition. We consulted on our provisional determination that the BBC could go ahead with its plans, and have taken account of feedback from stakeholders in response.

“This statement explains our final determination that the BBC may proceed with its proposal. We have also set conditions in the Operating Licence to secure the contribution of the BBC Three broadcast channel to the delivery of the BBC’s Mission and Public Purposes.”

Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Ofcom have now confirmed that BBC Three will be returning to TV screens next year. This is a big moment, with the new channel providing a destination for young audiences to discover more content on the BBC. We will work hand in hand with iPlayer to provide a broad offering that is representative of the whole of the UK and we will continue to back new talent and bold ideas.

“This approach will bring the audience a distinctive mix of programmes that are there to entertain, inspire and challenge thinking, at a pivotal and exciting time to be young in the UK.”

BBC’s Commercial, Rights & Business Affairs Director, Jo Korn, said: “This new deal is great news for both the BBC and independent producers, and we are really pleased to have concluded this in good time for launch. It provides the channel with the flexibility to ensure its programmes deliver real value to audiences however they wish to view the content, as well as recognition of success for producers.”


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