BBC Three Winter/Spring 2008
Danny Cohen unveils BBC Three's new look, new programmes and a brave leap into the multi-platform world for 2008
Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC Three, today unveiled an exciting range of programmes for the 2008 Winter/Spring season on BBC Three – alongside a brand new look for the channel and a huge step forward in multi-platform.
Danny Cohen says: "I'm delighted to announce BBC Three's fantastic line-up of new programmes, along with our innovative and exciting approach to television for young audiences. BBC Three is aiming to become Britain's most ambitious multi-platform network – combining television and the web into a single, integrated offering.
"At BBC Three we should be known for pioneering risk, and be obsessed with all things new – new talent, new programmes, and a new relationship between television and the internet."
Key changes, which will kick off in February, include plans to simulcast all programmes on the web, regular slots for user-generated content in prime-time, and the placing of interactive ideas at the heart of programmes.
This multi-platform rebirth brings with it a colourful range of fresh new programmes – with a focus on emerging talent, great ideas and a dedication to the lives of younger viewers.
There is a real focus this season on building drama on BBC Three – creating a raft of imaginative shows. This begins with six outstanding original single dramas in spring, featuring a wide range of on- and off-screen talent.
Phoo Action, written by Jamie Hewlett of Gorillaz and Tank Girl fame and starring Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood) and Eddie Shin (ER), is a futuristic, kung fu, live action drama.
Nathalie Lunghi (Layer Cake) stars in The Things I Haven't Told You, a dark thriller by young writer Lisa McGee set in the sixth form of a school where every student has a secret and twisted life.
Russell Tovey (The History Boys) stars in Being Human, the tale of a vampire, werewolf and ghost who share a house.
Shameless writer Paul Abbott has co-created with Caleb Ranson (The Outsiders) Mrs In-Betweeny. Starring Amelia Bullmore, Mrs In-Betweeny is a dark comic look at modern British family life – what happens to the Winslow children when their long lost uncle turns up to look after them, except he's no longer an uncle – he's now their pre-op transsexual aunt Emma.
From these single dramas, one will be chosen to become a series for the following year.
Danny says: "With the pilots incorporating everything from the crime-fighting heroes of Phoo Action to the werewolf/ghost/vampire house share of Being Human it's going to be a very difficult choice."
Greek, the ABC/Family drama series which garnered much critical acclaim in the US, will debut on the channel this year. BBC Three audiences will also have a first chance to view episodes of Heroes 2.
In the coming months, BBC Three will also be making a much bigger commitment to Entertainment. Lily Allen is coming to the channel to host her very own show, Lily Allen And Friends, which is based around social networking – another fully joined-up TV and web offering from the channel.
Later in the year sees the launch of the live and interactive comedy-entertainment show The Wall, a new space for emerging talent to hone their craft and develop a reputation.
Danny says: "Since the days of Saturday Night Live and The 11 O'Clock Show, it feels like this kind of nursery slope has been missing from Britain's broadcasting landscape. We hope this show will fill that gap and help to create some of tomorrow's biggest stars."
This season also sees the launch of Upstaged, a major new entertainment format that will live and develop primarily on the web. Upstaged is an eight-week live online event that is a mixture of talent show, stamina and social networking.
Danny says: "Upstaged is a risky endeavour that we hope sends out the message that BBC Three wants to kick-start the next generation of new media projects."
Comedy is always at the heart of BBC Three's offering and this season has a similar focus on new talent, youthful imaginations and the streamlining of TV and online for young audiences.
The multi award-winning Gavin And Stacey, written by James Corden and Ruth Jones, returns for a second series.
Alongside it is The Wrong Door, an innovative mix of sketch show and CGI technology, and Coming Of Age, a new sitcom written by 19-year-old Tim Dawson who is trying to balance writing the series with the demands of freshers' year at university.
There is also new sketch comedy in the shape of Scallywagga, and Trexx And Flipside, a fresh, multi-platform sitcom.
News, Current Affairs and Factual
Spring 2008 sees a total revamp of 60seconds, BBC Three's news updates which deliver the news in the way the BBC Three audience wants it – in short, sharp hits.
Whilst continuing to deliver instant bites of information throughout the night, 60seconds will launch a nightly World News bulletin, with global events seen through the eyes of news stations from around the world.
And in line with young audiences' interest in the world around them, there will also be a weekly commitment to environmental news and special bulletins on everything from technology to entertainment and weekend sport.
The channel is building a name for itself as the home of hard-hitting and thought-provoking Factual and Current Affairs – and this season is no exception.
There are plenty of bold, new projects on offer including Pramface Mansion which looks at the demands of being a single parent; Making The Clothes I Wear in which six High Street fashion fans gain first hand experience of working in the clothing industry in the developing world; and Jack's Story, an intimate look at the lives of brave young men fighting in Afghanistan.
Through a season of one-off documentaries entitled Lost Innocence, the channel is probing the obsessions of some of today's youth, including choosing a career in modelling, teen pregnancy, and how far young people will go to pay their way through university.
Find Me The Face sees two of the UK's top model scouts competing to find a brand-new face in just one month. Ditching the size-zero stereotype and going for a different look every week, the scouts want to find real people who can succeed in the ferociously competitive world of modelling.
Filthy Gorgeous, the world's first "make-under" show, scrubs down over-the-top boys and girls to reveal their natural beauty.
Danny adds: "Alongside major live events including Glastonbury and the Africa Cup Of Nations, this season is a fantastic testament to the channel's commitment to high quality, home-grown programmes for younger adults – and I'm proud of all the shows being unveiled today."
This season also sees a welcome return to some of the channel's most established favourites from The Real Hustle to hit comedy Pulling, from Family Guy to Ideal.
The BBC Three world
Alongside this range of new programmes, BBC Three is set to become the first non-news BBC channel to transform from a linear service to a fully joined-up, multi-platform venture – a space in which all forms of content can live seamlessly across TV and online:
- Programmes simulcast across television and the web
- Commitment to placing innovative, interactive ideas at the heart of key programmes
- Online content produced with the passion and production values normally associated with TV at bbc.co.uk/bbcthree
- User-generated content integrated into the heart of the peak-time schedule
- Allowing the audience to have a sense of ownership over BBC Three through unique cross-platform presentation techniques. Viewers will be able to upload clips of themselves introducing their favourite BBC Three programmes, the best of which will feature within the heart of the peak-time schedule
Danny says: "The thinking behind this re-brand of the channel is that we have, in effect, created a BBC Three world in which our content can move seamlessly between TV, online and mobile. We have a fantastic line-up of programmes and we are going to make them available wherever young people want them."
Notes to Editors
2008 – The story so far
- Week one was the channel's highest reach ever – 15.7 million watched BBC Three
- The channel also had the highest week one share of any non-terrestrial channel in the hours that BBC Three transmits – 2.7%
- This is even stronger amongst target 16-34s – BBC Three share 4.3%
- It follows a great Christmas for BBC Three – the highest rating channel amongst non-terrestrials on key days, including Christmas Day and New Year's Day
2007 was another fantastic year of continued growth for BBC Three. Share among 16-34s rose to 3.3%, a 26% rise on the previous year (2006 2.6%, 2005 2.4%)
BBC Three's reach was 12.3 million for all individuals and reached almost a third of all 16-34s in digital homes, at 31.2% – up 13% on previous year (2006 27.6%, 2005 27.6%)
2007 titles which were particularly strong amongst 16-34s included Baby Borrowers (38% of the audience 16-34s), Last Man Standing (45% of the audience 16-34s), The Mighty Boosh (53% of the audience 16-34s) and triple British Comedy Award winner Gavin And Stacey – watched on average by 527,000.