BBC Three moves online after final night as TV channel

Don't Tell The Bride
Image caption,
Programmes such as Little Britain, Gavin & Stacey and Don't Tell The Bride (pictured) were first broadcast on BBC Three

BBC Three has broadcast its final night as a television channel as the youth strand goes online only.

Programmes and other content such as animations and short films will now be available via the channel's website and the BBC iPlayer.

The network has already posted a video from its YouTube account welcoming viewers to the new platforms.

The move to online was first proposed in 2014 and was approved by the BBC Trust in November.

The Trust said there was "clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence shows younger audiences are watching more online and watching less linear TV".

BBC Director General Tony Hall has said the move will save the corporation £30m.

But the plans caused controversy, prompting the Save BBC Three campaign which saw more than 300,000 people sign a petition to keep the channel broadcasting on television.

Monday evening was its last night as a linear TV channel, and saw BBC Three broadcasting episodes of some of its most popular programmes, including The Mighty Boosh, Family Guy, American Dad and Bad Education.

The final programme broadcast on the television channel last night was a repeat of the first ever episode of Gavin And Stacey, the sitcom created and written by Ruth Jones and James Corden - who has since found international success as a talk show host in the US.

The target audience of the strand will remain 16-24 year-olds as it goes online.

The move means that entire series of original programmes previously broadcast on the network including Little Britain and Him & Her will be available to watch on demand.

It aligns the service more closely with services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime - where whole "box sets" of programmes are available to watch.

However, unlike those services, the new programmes that have so far been announced for the new BBC Three will be made available one episode at a time.

Media caption,
The last ever 60seconds news bulletin on BBC Three

Among the new content going live on Tuesday is the first episode of the new series of the sitcom Cuckoo and the stand-up comedy programme Live From The BBC.

In addition to full-length programmes, the network will offer a daily stream of content including short films, blogs and news and sport updates - delivered through a new online platform called the Daily Drop, combining original content with material produced by other BBC services including Trending and Radio 1's Newsbeat.

Content will also be delivered via BBC Three's YouTube channel and social media accounts including Snapchat and Facebook.

The BBC confirmed in a statement that all original programmes being broadcast on the new online channel will be repeated at a later date on BBC One or BBC Two.

Last month, the network revealed its new logo, prompting ridicule on social media because of its apparent resemblance to a logo unveiled in the satirical sitcom W1A.


By David Sillito, BBC Media and Arts Correspondent

This is quite clearly an experiment. Most people still largely watch traditional TV programmes on traditional TV channels.

The new BBC Three will offer up new programmes (around four hours a week of new content) on a website, the iPlayer and YouTube and then hope the audience will discover it amongst the deluge of video material that appears every day across the internet.

Up to this point, online video has been a side dish to the main channels - a chance to catch up or see something extra. Removing the promotional impact of a linear channel risks turning BBC Three into just another website.

However, it does release part of the BBC from the strait jacket of the traditional forms. Programmes can be whatever length the producers want.

Programmes can be turned around much more quickly. Programmes don't have to look or feel like programmes at all. Also, all the traditional programmes made by BBC Three will end up at some point on BBC One or BBC Two.

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