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BBC Three - gripping, relevant and entertaining

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Zai Bennett Zai Bennett | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

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


  • Comment number 1.

    Lee Nelson's Well Good Show - I assure you it's not.

    It is however a prime example of why the license fee should be scrapped.

    The revealing 'Our war' documentaries you ran earlier in the year on the other hand, confirm the value of your channel.

    It's a pity you couldn't dump Mr Nelson, and hotter than my daughter and make space for full repeats of F1 next year. Trust me your viewing figures will be through the roof.

    Come on Zai, think of your controller's bonus!

  • Comment number 2.

    Gripping? ..... not really poor comedy shows and reality trash served up for the BBC,s desperate youth ratings bid.
    Relevant ..... again only to the target audience which seems to be under 25,s with a bias towards the easily pleased female reality show demographic.
    Entertaining ..... mostly not but ill give credit where credits due and say that Family Guy seems to have slipped past the focus groups and post Ross censorship of comedy , as mentioned by the above poster "Our War" is also an example of the BBC at its best , but the problem with BBC3 is that the gap between the best and worst is Huge.
    Ive become very aware of the culture that prevails at the BBC these days since seeing the way F1 fans have been treated with no right of reply , no chance to air their views and no reply to legitamate questions that have been asked about the Sky deal , i sincerely hope that accountability and honesty can be reinstated in the state broadcasters remit and not the current pandering to niche viewer models at the expense of real viewers.

  • Comment number 3.

    lets face it BBC is total waste of money, just another channel to flick through in the attempt to find something worth watching, And at the price of loosing F!. What a waste of my money.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have been willing to pay the TV license fee, for a channel that has no Ad breaks, exceptional educational programmes, quality childrens shows and decent drama. However I am disappointed at how comedy shows such as HIGNFY, Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, Would I lie to you, get endlessly repeated. I seems as if you only commission ten shows of each, then repeat them for the whole year or more! I also believe you cater more to the families of the license payer, to the detriment of the mature, educated section of your audience. I want more than David Attenborough and a load of grumpy old celebs, for my money. I also think you've fallen short of the mark with 'Lee Nelsons well good show'. It, is really for an ITV audience.


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