BBC3, the channel that has brought you such gems as Don't Tell The Bride And Hotter Than My Daughter, now has its future in doubt, with plans to transform the youth channel into an online-only offering or axe it all together.
The channel, which was the birthplace of the much-lauded Gavin and Stacey and Little Britain, was also oft-criticised for programmes which could generously be described as vacuous, including F--- Off, I’m a Hairy Woman, My Man Boobs and Me, Snog, Marry, Avoid.
The BBC's Tony Hall is expected to announce later this month that he is axing the channel as part of a £100m a year savings plan. Its sister channel, BBC4, dedicated to arts and culture, is likely to be given a reprieve from the chop.
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Stars whose careers began on BBC3 have taken to Twitter to defend the channel, including Matt Lucas, Jack Whitehall, Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and presenter Richard Bacon.
BBC3 makes lots of great, clever, distinct programmes. If the rumours of it being cut are true, we might need to retool that 6Music campaign— richard bacon (@richardpbacon) March 4, 2014
Hearing horrible rumours about the possible closure of BBC3. This would be really bad for new comedy. Like, REALLY bad. #SaveBBC3— Matty Birthday (@RealMattLucas) March 4, 2014
I really hope reports that the BBC may kill BBC3 are just rumours. There support of new comedy in particular is vital! #saveBBC3— Jack Whitehall (@jackwhitehall) March 4, 2014
The Guardian reported that BBC3 could well survive as an online-only channel, but could also be axed altogether.
A Change.org petition, begun by fan Jono Read, and a Twitter account @SaveBBC3 have been set up. The petition received more than 1,270 signatures by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
"I believe the organisation needs to be investing more in content for teenagers and young adults, not less," Read wrote.
"Scrapping the channel, or even relegating content to the internet at a time when not all have decent broadband connection, would be a mistake. The BBC needs to cater for all ages, and this petition is designed to give young people a voice about these cut backs."
The BBC told HuffPost UK on Tuesday: "Tony Hall set out some of the very real challenges the BBC faces at his speech in Oxford. He made clear that we will face tough choices about our budgets, and while nothing is off the table, no decisions have been made."
THE BBC BUDGETS
BBC One £1.05bn
BBC Two £415m
BBC Three £85m
BBC Four £49m
BBC News Channel £53m
BBC Parliament £2m
The possible closure of BBC3 echoes the situation in 2010 when the BBC proposed pulling the plug on two of its digital radio services, 6 Music and Asian Network, prompting a backlash from listeners, celebrities and even MPs.
The outlined cuts were as a result of a strategy review which had the aim of shaving millions of pounds from the BBC budget. Figures such as David Bowie, Coldplay and record industry executives gave their support to 6 Music, which at the time cost around £9 million a year to run.
But the publicity surrounding the possible demise had the effect of driving up listening and awareness of the station which at the time was something of a niche concern.
The BBC Trust eventually rejected the closure of 6 Music which has gone on to see its audience treble, with just 600,000 listening before the report, but 1.96 million tuning in according to latest figures. Plans to close the Asian Network were also dropped in the end.Suggest a correction