It’s BBC-bashing season. In they pile to tell Aunty what it should and shouldn’t be doing.
It’s 18 months from a General Election and not much more than three years until the renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter (which secures its funding and position as a public service broadcaster).
So the right-leaning press, senior Conservative Party figures and general BBC sceptics are lining up to call for the TV Licence Fee to be more equally distributed to other broadcasters.
One of the BBC’s former top editorial chiefs, Roger Mosey, argued last week the BBC should share the licence fee and do less stuff.
That could mean the end for smaller, niche stations and channels such as…
Of course, what conservative critics really don’t like is BBC Three. But they forget the good things it’s given the world.
1. It’s the only mainstream youth channel. It launched in 2003 as an entertainment channel aimed at 16-34-year-olds.
2. It backs new talent, especially comedy writers. Little Britain got its first airing on Three. Back when it was still funny.
3. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps was its longest-running series and it was a lot funnier than most sitcoms.
It launched the career of Sheridan Smith. Who is a big deal these days.
5. Many BBC Three shows over the years sound like suggestions from Alan Partridge.
7. Or that it’s the only place you can (legally) watch Family Guy and American Dad in the UK.
8. And there’s great drama too. Gavin and Stacey was a BBC Three debut.
9. The excellent Being Human.
11. BBC3 proves you can do the news in 60 seconds. As long as you keep it light.
12. It occasionally shows sport too, such as the Africa Cup of Nations and under-represented women’s team sports.
13. It takes risks.
Many shows that later graduated to BBC One and Two first found an audience on Three. It’s a relatively low risk environment to give new writers, directors and actors a chance. Many of our most-loved sitcoms over the years, for example, would have been axed after one series if they weren’t given a chance to develop.
Plus, the youth-focused documentaries reflect the kind of youth issues that MPs, newspaper journalists and BBC execs wouldn’t understand anyway.
And if that’s not what the BBC’s public service mission is about, then what is?
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