When BBC Three will go online – and what to expect from the new channel
James R | On 26, Jan 2016
BBC Three will switch from linear TV to an online channel on Tuesday 16th February. Now, the BBC has unveiled a first glimpse of what’s in store for its innovative new platform.
The reinvented channel will feature brand new original British comedy, contemporary British drama, innovative entertainment, thought-provoking documentaries and distinctive current affairs programming all made for BBC Three’s 16-34 target audience. In other words, “the same award-winning programmes” as the old BBC Three, but “freed from the schedule”, says Damian Kavanagh, Controller of the channel.
“We can use whatever format and platform is most appropriate.”
Indeed, for the first time, BBC Three will focus equally on both long-form and short-form content, with the overall channel divided into two sections: The Best Of, which will bring together new long-form shows and short films, and The Daily Drop, which will be home to a new stream of daily content, such as blogs, social media posts, image galleries and daily updates from news and sport. The Daily Drop will roll out in Beta mode over the next few days, with The Best Of launching in February.
“The majority of what we will make is TV, like People Just Do Nothing, but we’ll make short-form video, blogs and picture-led stories as well. We’ll be on YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and our new site The Daily Drop,” explains Kavanagh.
All BBC Three originals will be available to watch via bbc.co.uk/bbcthree and through BBC iPlayer, while all BBC Three originals are legally required to be repeated on BBC One or BBC Two at a later date. Additional BBC Three content will also be available on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Tumblr.
The switchover itself will take place on 16th February, when Episode 1 of the new series of Cuckoo, the first film from the new series of BAFTA-winning Life And Death Row, and Live From The BBC (featuring some of Britain’s best new comedians) will be made available exclusively through BBC Three’s new online platform and BBC Three on iPlayer.
From then on, a new range of comedy, drama and documentaries will premiere through the online-first channel, with an emphasis placed on new talent, new writers and new directors.
These include a collaboration between BBC Drama and Idris Elba’s production company, Green Door Pictures, to deliver a series of short films from new writers featuring new on-screen talent working alongside established on-screen talent, Love Triangle, a standalone serial of short films from Life And Death Row, and Dan Murdoch’s follow up to KKK: The Fight For White Supremacy, in which he revisits the USA and meets the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panther movements. New Stacey Dooley documentaries on attitudes to sex and prostitution in Turkey, Brazil and Russia and a new short film about the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne will also be released.
Last year, the Ku Klux Klan programme was the most watched documentary on BBC Three, reveals Fiona Campbell, Head of Current Affairs at the BBC.
“We know young people want content that makes them think, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to give them,” she comments.
BBC Three will also see the Beeb take a leaf out of Making a Murderer’s book by launching a new real-crime series that will unfold over a range of media. Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared, will see Alys Harte and Bronagh Munro investigate the real-life disappearance of a teenager 20 years ago. Unrestricted by linear schedules, the story will be told using a variety of formats, including video.
“Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared [is] exciting because we can now use different formats as well as TV to tell the story,” adds Kavanagh. “We’re blazing a trail with content made exclusively for young people.”
For more information on what shows are coming soon to BBC Three, see our guide here.