From January next year, BBC Three will be returning to its original home on the small screen, six years after it was moved online.
The decision was reportedly inspired by a string of recent successes—namely flagship series like Man Like Mobeen, Fleabag and Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK—which boosted opinion of the channel according to a poll conducted by the BBC last year.
However, Tory MP Julian Knight, who chairs the select committee for the department of digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS), criticised the decision, saying: “I question whether putting the clock back five years is the right way to win over 18-35s.”
Last year, the BBC announced in its Annual Plan that BBC Three’s budget would be doubled over the next two years in a bid to repeat its recent wins. Naturally, Knight also criticised that move as well as the decision to stop issuing free TV licences to people over 75 (a decision made after the government said it would no longer pay for this benefit). “The extra investment found to pay for this is also happening at the same time that those over 75 are being chased to pay up for their TV licences,” said Knight.
Charlotte Moore, CCO of the BBC, said: “BBC Three is a BBC success story. Backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country. The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK. So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again. It has exciting, ground-breaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”
You can read the full report from BBC media editor Amol Rajan here.