BBC Three’s TV channel return date confirmed

The channel, which has been online-only since 2016, will be returning to the TV guide.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs The World

It’s only a matter of weeks until BBC Three returns to our TV guides, with the broadcaster setting a date for its linear channel launch.


BBC Three will be available to watch on Freeview, Sky, Virgin and Freesat on Tuesday 1st February, with the new channel broadcasting every night from 7pm.

Viewers will also be able to watch BBC Three live on iPlayer, with the channel offering “a rich content mix of drama, comedy, entertainment, documentaries, news and sport”, the BBC has teased.

The launch night will kick-off with the premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus the World – a spin-off in which former contestants of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK take on alumni from other Drag Race franchises.

Elsewhere in the week, BBC Three is set to air live football, with the semi-finals and final of the Africa Cup of Nations – which features 24 national teams based in Africa and hosted by Jermaine Jenas – being broadcast live on the new channel.

BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell said in a statement: “We know how popular sport is with younger audiences and it’s going to have a big part to play on BBC Three.

“AFCON is set to be an incredibly exciting tournament with some of the best players in the World on show and it’s brilliant news that we will be showing the climax of the competition on free to air television.”

Last year, the BBC announced that BBC Three would return as a TV channel after Ofcom approved the move, with the platform becoming digital-only back in 2016.


BBC Three launches as a broadcast channel on Tuesday 1st February. For all the latest news, visit our dedicated Drama hub, or find out what else to watch with our TV Guide.