BBC Three gets green light to return as full UK TV channel

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(Pocket-lint) - Ofcom has approved BBC plans to bring BBC Three back as a full-fledged channel.

The communications regulator has given the relaunch the green light, as long as three-quarters of its content is original and made in the UK.

"We carefully assessed the BBC’s plans, alongside evidence and feedback gathered during our consultation. We concluded that the channel’s relaunch will help the BBC to increase its reach among younger underserved viewers - particularly those from lower-income homes, and audiences who live outside London and the South East," it said in a statement.

The BBC announced in March 2021 that it wanted to reverse its decision to make BBC Three an iPlayer-only service. However, it needed full approval before progressing.

The corporation closed the BBC Three terrestrial TV channel in 2016, moving content and commissions to BBC iPlayer primarily and hosting some of its shows on BBC One. However, it took into account fresh research highlighting a "strong case" for the channel to come back.

BBC Three, as before, will focus on younger audiences. The Beeb will hope to bring back some viewers who left to seek out content on other platforms instead.

"The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK," said the BBC's chief content officer, Charlotte Moore earlier this year.

"So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again."

The channel, which is home to such classics as RuPaul's Drag Race UK and where the likes of Killing Eve, Fleabag and Gavin & Stacey started out, is to return in January 2022. It was originally cut as part of a money saving drive.

It will appear on the same channel slot as CBBC, with the kids channel reverting to an end time of 7pm each day. BBC Three will then air from 7pm to 4am.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 2 March 2021.

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