BBC3 will be axed: BBC4 to be saved

Little Britain Comic Relief Stage Show - London

BBC Director General Tony Hall sparked speculation last week, when he told a convention that he wasn't going to try to achieve cuts through 'salami slicing' but that he was willing to make the 'difficult decisions'. This led commentators to conclude that he meant either the demise of BBC3 or the death of BBC4.

Now reports are claiming that it's BBC3 that's set to face the axe.
The Guardian claimed that this was now the channel most likely to be axed, and that Hall would make the announcement later this month.

Broadcast magazine, the industry trade journal, added that there was a possibility that the BBC3 brand would be retained online - through the BBC iPlayer - where many of the channel's programmes already regularly debut.

No great loss?

There will be those who will not lament the death of the channel that brought such delights as 'Snog, Marry, Avoid and 'Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents".

There were those who greeted news of the channel's demise with less than a passionate response. @KulganofCrydee tweeted: "I have to admit I have never watched anything on ‪#BBC3‬." ChrisSkinner2 added: "I once read a book, so have never seen ‪#BBC3‬" and @MrMeldon tweeted: "‪@BBC3‬ was never any good, endless repeats of the same old comedy that people are already getting for themselves online."

Terrible loss?

However, there are others who argue that the channel nurtures up-and-coming stars, and experiments with less mainstream comedy - which might not otherwise see the light of day. Gavin and Stacey, for example, started life on the channel, and Bad Education is currently part of the line-up.

The Metro reported that Matt Lucas, Jack Whitehall and Russel Kane have all been campaigning to save the channel since the threat emerged. Lucas tweeted: "This would be really bad for new comedy. Like, REALLY bad. #SaveBBC3", while Whitehall added: "Their support of new comedy in particular is vital! #saveBBC3" and Kane pleaded: 'This place is THE crucible of upcoming comedic artists. #SaveBBC3."

The BBC has not officially made any announcements beyond a statement at the beginning of the week that Hall had "made clear that we will face tough choices about our budgets, and while nothing is off the table, no decisions have been made."

Presenter Richard Bacon also highlighted that Hall does not have the final say in the matter, because any closures have to be approved by the BBC Trust, which will take viewer feedback into account. When BBC 6Music was under threat, a sustained campaign convinced the Trust to save the station. Bacon tweeted: "If the rumours of it being cut are true, we might need to retool that 6Music campaign."
Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS