Entertainment & Arts

BBC Three appoints new channel boss Sam Bickley

Sam Bickley
Image caption Sam Bickley commissioned BBC Three shows such as Barely Legal Drivers

BBC Three has announced TV commissioner Sam Bickley will become the channel's acting editor when Zai Bennett leaves to join Sky Atlantic next month.

She is currently in charge of commissioning documentaries for the channel including Extreme OCD Camp and Unsafe Sex and the City.

BBC Three will be relaunching as an online only channel in Autumn 2015.

However the BBC says Bickley will be charge of running it the TV channel "as normal" in the coming months.

"Zai and the team have built a vibrant, exciting and diverse BBC Three with amazing reach and I feel privileged to be asked to follow in his footsteps," said Bickley in a statement.

"I will continue to navigate Three through the year ahead with some amazing new shows to come."

Bennett announced in April that he was leaving the BBC to become director of Sky Atlantic, just weeks after director general Tony Hall revealed that from next autumn BBC Three will only be housed on the iPlayer.

The BBC plans to save millions by cutting the channel's programme budget from £85m to £25m, with £30m of that going to BBC Drama.

Bickley is also joint head of BBC One documentaries and will continue in that role.

The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen, said she has "a deep understanding of the BBC Three audience and a passion for reaching young viewers" and that her skills and experience could be put to "powerful use".

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