The day that some of us never believed would come has finally arrived; it has sneaked up on us, leaving those who opposed the change, like myself, feeling powerless.
If you weren’t aware that BBC3 was set to move online, let me fill you in. It’s a little over two years ago now that the Director-General of the BBC announced that there were to be £100 million’s worth of cuts. This was followed a month later with the declaration that BBC3 was to leave our television screens to be replaced by an online-only service. The money saved from this format shift would be used to introduce a BBC1+1 service and extend the hours CBBC broadcasts for each evening. And now it has happened. Tuesday 16th February 2016 was the final day of television broadcasting for BBC3.
Although the move of BBC3 to an online platform is said to be a way of catering to an increasingly young audience, I continue having difficulty believing that. I am a young person and, believe it or not, I know quite a few other young people, and many of us share the same view. It will be harder to access the comedy we love and the comedy we are yet to discover if we have to access it online, regardless of what the media seem to be telling us. Tuesday night’s episode of The One Show may have told you in no uncertain terms that people simply prefer to watch television on their phones, tablets or computers these days, but is this really the case? The ignorant and blatant one-sidedness of this segment made me laugh (perhaps The One Show can replace the comedy I’ll be missing out on from this week onwards).
Is online content really easier to access than television? I have my doubts but I’m also beginning to think that maybe I am secretly afraid of a not-so-distant almost-Orwellian society where our lives are dictated by the internet. Yes, I’m burying my head in the sand. The fact is, it’s already happening. What I am wholly justified in objecting to, however, has got to be fact that the biggest source of comedy was first to go. What a disrespect to this aspect of the entertainment industry, to the countless creatives who dedicate their lives to producing innovative content.
But, complain all we like, the truth is at its most painfully clear today; BBC3’s fate is sealed. It seems that the only thing left to do is ensure that we do not let the channel die, through doing what we can to use the new online service provided by the BBC and spreading the word about new comedy projects as and when they come. I’d like to commend the work of Jono Read and all those who worked on the Save BBC3 campaign. It was a valiant effort to change a decision that was clearly set in stone a long time ago. I am interested to see the coverage of comedy on a new platform as the time has come to embrace the decision and continue to support Britain’s finest creative minds.