15 Shows That Would Never Have Existed Without BBC Three

If the channel disappears for good, what will we lose?

1. Being Human.

 

One of BBC Three’s biggest hits, this supernatural drama - as much about the domestic as the fantastic - made stars many of its cast (BBC Three favourite Russell Tovey most of all) and established creator Toby Whithouse as a writer to be reckoned with.

2. Him & Her.

Big Talk Productions / BBC Three

A mold-breaking sitcom (realistic, mundane, explicit and set almost entirely in single domestic locations) from the talented playwright and comedian Stefan Golazewski, with Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey (him again) portraying one of the most realistic screen couples seen on British TV in recent memory.

3. Torchwood.

BBC Wales youtube.com / BBC

 

Okay, the Doctor Who spin-off started out unforgivably cheesy (exactly how many sex monsters can the planet be invaded by?) and ended up losing its way one it went to America - but in the middle, it developed into something genuinely inventive and entertaining, with the Children Of Earth mini-series especially executing a stunning tonal handbrake turn into bleak, heartbreaking drama. Without BBC Three it would have a lot less of a chance for it to find its feet.

4. The Mighty Boosh.

Mighty Boosh / Production company(s) Baby Cow Productions kittensmiles.tumblr.com

Mighty Boosh / Production company(s) Baby Cow Productions getaidsanddie.tumblr.com

 

No comedy show this weird would ever get on one of the main channels. Ever.

5. Casanova.

Casanova / Red Production /Granada /BBC Wales

Okay, so not only did this three parter give the world the first collaboration between Russell T. Davies and David Tennant (Tennant is basically auditioning for the role of the Doctor in it), but it was also a giddy, delightful burst of rapid-fire dialogue, with Tennant’s great seducer winning over the ladies with his wit rather than his ruggedly handsome features.

6. The Fades.

 

Another bold, inventive and entertaining supernatural drama with a believable young protagonist, crafted by former Skins and This Is England writer Jack Thorne.

Oh by the way, Thorne is now reported to be writing the long awaited Sandman movie for Joseph Gordon-Levitt - one of the most sought-after writing gigs in Hollywood. If you want an example of how BBC Three helped nurture great talent, look no further.

7. In The Flesh.

BBC Three was really good at supernatural dramas, okay? A zombie show like no other, In The Flesh was one of the smartest dramas broadcast by the BBC on any channel in the past few years. Focusing not on the outbreak, but on the aftermath following the discovery of a cure, it showcased a “partially deceased” teenager trying to re-integrate into a bigoted society. It was brilliant.

8. Gavin & Stacey.

BBC Three / Baby Cow Productions

One of BBC Three’s biggest breakout hits, Ruth Jones and James Corden’s warm and touching family comedy may have had its detractors, but there was no denying how strongly large audiences identified with it. Like most of BBC Three’s best output, it looked with affection and honesty at parts of the country normally ignored by the rest of the broadcast establishment. As always, the smaller channel loses its best series - where could you find the Gavin & Stacey finale? Slap bang right in the middle of BBC One’s Christmas Day and New Years’ schedules.

9. Cuckoo.

Cuckoo / Roughcut Television / stupidfuckingquestions.tumblr.com

Cuckoo / Roughcut Television / stupidfuckingquestions.tumblr.com

 

This is a sitcom that would just seem out of place if it debuted on BBC One or BBC Two. Telling the story of a daughter who married a complete odd-ball whilst on her gap year, the sitcom developed into one of the biggest hits of the channel in 2013.

The proposed closure is also weird because it was recently announced that Twilight’s Taylor Lautner will be joining the cast at the start of the next screens. It feels weird that a returning sitcom could possibly not make it on to a TV screen.

10. Russell Howard’s Good News.

bbc.co.uk / BBC / Avalon Television

Many people have said that BBC Three and BBC Two should be merged, but I think it’s fair to say that Russell Howard’s Good News would never have been given airtime on BBC Two if BBC Three never existed. The show is too dirty, too slapstick, too cheeky and way way too silly - BBC Three was perfect for it for it to grow and prosper. If anything, the biggest achievement of Good News is that it makes BBC Two’s Mock The Week look a bit dull and predestrian in comparison.

Its extended repeats are usually good too. They give a ten minute slot to an up-and-coming comedian who would usually not get any airtime otherwise.

11. Little Britain.

Little Britain was WAY BETTER when it was on BBC Three than when it was on BBC One - before it settled into mainstream catchphrase comedy, it was significantly weirder parade of grotesques and misfits, more in the style of The League Of Gentlemen.

That might have had something to do with the fact that the League’s Mark Gatiss script edited the first BBC Three series, before he moved on to small, obscure series like Doctor Who and Sherlock.

12. Glastonbury, T In The Park, Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

BBC / Glastonbury youtube.com

For some reason BBC Two doesn’t want to give up a repeat of a really dull documentary about the development of North Sea Gas or something when Glastonbury is on, so it shoves their coverage on after midnight when everyone has gone off to bed.

On BBC Three? BANG. It’s there, from 7pm. If you’re not happy with what they are showing you, press the red button and you could watch three more stages. It helped you get over that “I’m not going to a music festival how shit” feeling pretty quickly.

13. BBC Three’s Olympic 2012.

Clive Rose / Getty Images

BBC Sport viatvnewsroom.co.uk

 

Remember BBC Three’s Olympic coverage during London 2012? It was class. Whilst BBC One dedicated themselves to the big medals and big Olympic moments, here were hand-selected sports that you would never have watched otherwise. Like the Greco-Roman wrestling. And the swimming. And the horse dancing. THE HORSE DANCING.

Yes, in the future we will probably watch online channels with uninterrupted Olympic sport, as the BBC trialled in 2012 - but when you watch one of the 24 channels you just feel like you’re the only one doing so. It’s a hell of a lot less exciting.

14. So many of BBC Three’s documentaries.

youtube.com / BBC Three

Snog, Marry, Avoid, Anthea Turner: Perfect Housewife, Freaky Eaters - these might not be documentary strands that would be missed much should the channel disappear from screens tomorrow.

But look past these and there are there are some gems: Junior Doctors: Your Life in Your Hands; Our War (the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the soldiers themselves); the channel has recently shown a series of programmes dedicated to the social issues facing South Africa. BBC Three have shown documentaries on drugs, teenage sex, youth unemployment, sweatshop factories abroad, how the political and economic crisis in Greece developed - documentaries are not aimed for adults or general mass audiences like BBC One, they’re for 16-34 year olds. Proper public service televison.

15. And… Don’t Tell The Bride.

C’MON….. you love it. It isn’t highbrow. It isn’t important. You know that the wedding will go exactly to plan (despite most of the programme suggesting that it won’t) and that the couple will live a happily ever after. Yet you’ve watched just about every episode, and you’ve cried. Lord help me you’ve cried.

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