Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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Save BBC3: Axing BBC3 would be a big mistake

5 March 2014

It’s a perfect example of what BBC3 does in introducing new comedy, quality comedy. Exactly why people like Jack Whitehall and Russell Kane are behind the celebrity campaign to save the channel.

Their shows are on it, comedy broadly is the channel’s masthead, as Russell said; ‘This place is THE crucible of upcoming comedic artists’.

Beside the comedy what about Don’t Tell the Bride? Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents? The Call Centre? Just a few examples of the 70 per cent original programming shown on the channel. Then there is the music festival coverage and the sports coverage, making E4′s incessant repeats of Friends/Glee/How I Met Your Mother look like tot’s TV.

Hall has hinted BBC3 could become an online-only channel, and I’m all for things online; viral puppy videos, Twitter, obscure eighties music. But not a reduced television service.

We want everything and we want it now when it comes to as many cat gifs as our eyes can consume, but we also still want to sit down on the sofa of an evening and stuff ourselves while we watch Sexy Beasts.

The internet doesn’t mean we should turn away from original platforms, like throwing all your books away because you’ve got a Kindle (shame on you for buying one). For god’s sake somebody save us!

The BBC might get more than they bargained for if they’re not careful. New channels emerging elsewhere, particularly at ITV, who alongside the already established ITV2 – home of TOWIE – with a channel dedicated to the same 15 to 34-year-old audience; ITVBe that will specialise in reality and living shows from the UK and US.

Or perhaps this is what the big boys want, someone else to burden the budgets and poach all their viewers. Very well then, we’re nothing if not begrudging and we will take our remote controls elsewhere.

If budgets must be met, may I suggest slashing Jeremy Paxman’s paypacket, he can take it. Or stop paying radio dj’s inordinate sums to chat to their ‘slebby friends on air for three hours.

When a similar threat was issued to 6music, people and presenters alike came together to save it, we pay the bill, we do have a say, we want TV and we want BBC3!


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