BBC Three - gripping, relevant and entertaining
The Media Guardian Television Festival has kicked off and it's one of the few times in the year when the TV community takes time to discuss the challenges facing the industry. For me, it's the first time I've been to the festival as Controller of BBC Three. In a session earlier today I was interviewed about my vision for the Channel and what kinds of programming I'm looking for.
For me, BBC Three should have a creative or social purpose in everything that we do. Creatively we are a channel that should take risks. These risks can give new faces their break both on and off screen, help break new formats and investigate areas the more mainstream channels shy away from. On screen, I want to work with new talent in comedy, entertainment and drama and give them a chance to work in TV, often for the first time, but also to help develop people into household names. BBC Three has helped bring some outstanding comedy talents to the publics attention like Ruth Jones and James Corden in Gavin and Stacey, Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Little Britain and the amazing Mighty Boosh. I also want to give established artists a chance to try something new - and that's why I'm announcing today that Billie Piper is starting in a new comedy for us for next year called Tom and Jenny. We have already announced two other new comedies for early next year, Pramface and Life Story with Sharon Horgan. The video includes previews of these programmes along with our new drama for this autumn from Jack Thorne - The Fades.
Off-screen, I want to work with new writers and directors, especially in factual where we run a scheme called Fresh (more information on the BBC Commissioning web site) which gives new directors a chance to make their first full TV films. Here are a few more details on the scheme and some information on other shows we are making for the channel:
In terms of social purpose, BBC Three is dedicated to the highest quality factual programming specifically made for our youthful audience. Our factual programming should inform and educate, but in gripping, relevant and sometimes entertaining ways. We want to encourage debate and really look at the issues facing young people. Today I am announcing that through the autumn and winter our documentaries and factual programming will be scheduled every Monday night at 9pm so our audience knows every week where they can see high quality, intelligent, issue-led programming.
Its been a busy five months running a channel which is now the most watched digital channel for the hours it's on as well as being the most popular for young audiences. It's a huge responsibility looking after any channel, but particularly a BBC one, I hope it will also continue to be a very fun experience.
Zai Bennett is Controller of BBC Three
- The Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival starts today and goes on all weekend. Details on the official web site. Follow @edinburghtvfest on Twitter.
- The Guardian has a special page for news from the festival.
- There's also a special page on the BBC Press Office web site for announcements from the Festival.