BBC Three is moving to Birmingham next year, as the corporation looks to place city “at the forefront of innovation”.
The channel, which made the groundbreaking shift from linear TV to being an online channel last year, has made impressive waves in its first 18 months, being crowned Channel of the Year twice, once by the RTS Awards and once by the Broadcast Digital Awards. Three’s new look and format has upended the traditional way channels work in the UK, commissioning short-form content and web series as well as long-form programmes, acquiring short films and US documentaries, and releasing them all across a mix of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the BBC’s own iPlayer platform.
It has continued its commitment to growing talent and ideas, from its Comedy Feed pilots to the BAFTA-nominated Murder in Successville, which blends scripted and non-scripted, fiction and fact in a bizarre, brilliant hybrid. That is set to continue in the future, with the BBC pledging to “look for more opportunities to innovate and try new things on Three” in its new Annual Plan, published this week.
“Online, BBC Three provides essential space to nurture fresh new talent – Fleabag and People Just Do Nothing demonstrate the acclaim that results from taking risks and is applying this opportunity and ethos to other distinctive voices and talents,” it adds.
Part of that disruption to the norm will see BBC Three move its offices entirely to Birmingham. Last year, 300 BBC jobs were moved to the Midlands with another 250 posts to Salford, which means that 53 per cent of its public service staff are now based in London. As part of the Beeb’s effort to spread its resources throughout the country, 2018 will see BBC Three relocate away from the capital, putting Birmingham “at the forefront of BBC innovation for 16-34s nationwide”.
Other changes on the way include a new mid-form version of Comedy Feeds to go alongside its long-form strand, in an effort to provide another avenue for fresh comedy talent.
“Building on BBC Three’s scale on social media, we are collaborating to reach young and diverse audiences with engaging content from entertainment brands across the BBC,” says the Annual Plan.
Indeed, Three’s focus on online short-form comedy has helped to find talent behind such projects as web series Just a Couple and unique sketch show Big Field.
Short-form provides “vital nursery slopes for the freshest of talent and pathways towards longer-form”, says the BBC.
As well as new comedies Man Like Mobeen, Brief History of Tim and Young Offenders, returning series in the coming year will include Witless, People Just Do Nothing, This Country and Josh.
For more on BBC Three, see our guide to what’s coming soon – or see what’s new and worth watching with our fortnightly column.