Words by Susan Ford
BBC3 is set to be dropped from TV schedules, as it moves online to the BBC iPlayer in a bid to save the BBC in its £100m cost-cutting plan. The theory is, that because BBC3’s main audience has been singled out as an ‘online generation’ aged 16-34, the switch will not affect the way we watch the channel. But as a platform for new performers and series as well as a provider of the staples in comedy, how will the decision really impact BBC3?
Lots of comedians have already spoken out about the plans to remove BBC3 from our televisions, including star of Little Britain (born on BBC3) Matt Lucas who proclaimed the channel to be “the home of new comedy and drama”. At Punchline, we are particularly concerned what it might mean for 3 previous acts, now known as ‘Punchliners’, who have all made big debuts on TV thanks to BBC3.
The first series of Pappy‘s’ sitcom ‘Badults’ aired last year on BBC3, and the second series is on it’s way. Badults is a hilarious adaptation of Pappy’s’ live show (Punchline headliners) showcasing their outrageously funny sketches on the big screen. One of Punchline’s most prestigious headliners Nick Helm also saw his TV debut in the funny and sentimental sitcom ‘Uncle’ thanks to BBC3.
Currently airing on BBC3 is one of my favourite ever TV shows ‘Impractical Jokers’ starring Marek Larwood, Paul McCaffrey, Joel Dommett and previous Punchline performer Roisin Conaty. Each episode is a hidden camera show where one comedian is set up by the other three with risky but funny dares. The show is another example of “out-there” comedy programmes shown on BBC3 that we really don’t want to lose when the channel is gone from our screens.
So, is BBC3 really set for extinction? How will the move online affect its ratings and accessibility to the loyal audiences? And more importantly, what will it mean for Badults and Pappy’s? Will Uncle get its well deserved second series? Will Roisin Conaty win Impractical Jokers? Join the debate! @punchlineuk #saveBBC3