With today’s announcement that licence payer funded channel BBC3 is for the axe, social media is divided about whether the cost cutting move is the right one. Whilst I’m all for brand new up and coming talent being denied opportunities so that Eastenders can have more car crashes, it has to be said that BBC3 has dished up some decent (and admittedly not so decent) material in the past.
Our Man In The North is donning his nostalgia hat and taking a reflective look back at some of the shows born of BBC3. Shows as globally popular as Little Britain, Gavin and Stacey, Torchwood and Anthea Turner’s Perfect Housewife (No? Just me then…) made their humble beginnings on the channel and, whilst Snog Marry Avoid suggests otherwise, BBC3 is undeserved of its reputation as a peddler of trash TV.
For every Don’t Tell The Bride (which incidentally gave me some GREAT ideas for my own wedding. Dressing the sisters in law as goblins was inspired) there was a fantastic documentary such as Tough Young Teachers, Tourettes: I Swear I can Sing, Young Soldiers and Growing Up With Downs. Far from being the inane programming BBC3 was famed for, the documentaries that were hidden amongst the schedules could be deep, moving, thought provoking and groundbreaking and, whilst a scroll down their documentary history presents other titles such as Eastenders Sweethearts: The Story of Sonia and Martin, Britain’s Worst Teeth and Table Dancing Diaries (in which paperback journals give some very erotic lap dances, I assume), there have been some true gems.
Perhaps BBC3’s biggest legacy will be its germination of genuinely decent comedies, some of which went on to reach huge success. Little Britain propelled the overgrown baby from Shooting Stars and his comedy partner to worldwide fame and I know people still years on tell their customers that their computer has said no, and offer diners some dust at dinner parties. And, whilst I was never personally a fan, there is no denying the unexpected juggernaut that was Gavin and Stacey, a sitcom that took Britain by storm and has inflicted James Corden on us ever since, was a major success. The Mighty Boosh spawned a limited phase of obscure comedy, of which only itself was any good and programmes such as the fantastic Uncle, being shown now, are destined for big futures. BBC3 acts as a starting platform for promising new talent and content that other channels have simply not taken the risk on. Take away this platform and we naturally will lose a great deal of potential.
There is little argument that BBC3 is heavily aimed at youngsters, but given that programmes such as Young Voter’s Question Time rated highly, this can only be a good thing. Additionally, dramas such as Being Human, Torchwood and In The Flesh have gathered cult followings and even casual viewers will find themselves flicking over for a re run of Family Guy or American Dad! Put shortly, there is content for everyone and, while much of it is fresh, even the dated repeats, including Top Gear and Doctor Who are welcome to fans who can’t get enough of the little of this material available on the main Beeb outlets.
Those who are fans of television will be hard pressed to deny that they have liked at least something originating from BBC3 given its surprisingly diverse content and history and therefore, I strongly believe it should maintain a place in our schedules.
There are those who disagree with me, however and all comments are welcome below as always.
Any who wish to sign the current petition to save the channel, may do so here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/to-the-bbc-trust-save-bbc3
Written By Our Man In The North