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BBC Three reveals new shows ahead of online reinvention

MUMBAI: On 16 February, BBC Three will switch from a linear broadcast channel to an online first destination. The new service will feature comedy, contemporary British drama, entertainment, documentaries and current affairs programming all made for BBC Three’s 16-34 target audience.

At an event in London, BBC Three unveiled two new platforms. ‘The Best Of’ will bring together original long-form programmes and a range of new content, including short form films. On the contrary, ‘The Daily Drop’ will be home to BBC Three’s new stream of daily content including short-form videos, blogs, social media, image galleries, trending stories and daily updates from news and sport.

‘The Daily Drop’ will roll out in beta over the next few days while ‘The Best Of’ will launch in February.

Switchover night on 16 February will see episode one of the new season of ‘Cuckoo’, the first film from the new series of ‘Life And Death Row’, and ‘Live From The BBC’, featuring new comedians, made available exclusively through BBC Three’s new online platform and BBC Three on iPlayer.

BBC Three also announced a range of comedy, drama and documentary commissions and formats featuring new talent, new writers and new directors. These include:

  • A collaboration between BBC Drama and Idris Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures, to deliver a series of short films from new writers featuring new on-screen talent working alongside established on-screen talent.
  • ‘Love Triangle’, a standalone serial of films from ‘Life And Death Row’. The films will follow a standalone story and be published at regular intervals alongside supporting documents, including witness statements, secret police recordings and crime scene photographs.
  • Drama ‘Clique’ from writer Jess Brittain centred around two friends whose lives becoming increasingly complicated after starting university in Edinburgh.
  • New short-form series Life Hacks with Ben Hart, where he brings his magic to unsuspecting members of the public.
  • New format ‘Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared’. Alys Harte and Bronagh Munro investigate the real-life disappearance of a teenager 20 years ago. Unrestricted by linear schedules, the story will be told using a variety of formats, including video.
  • ‘Black Power’. Dan Murdoch’s follow up to ‘KKK: The Fight For White Supremacy’. This new documentary will see Dan revisit the US and meet the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panther movements.
  • New Stacey Dooley documentaries on attitudes to sex and prostitution in Turkey, Brazil and Russia and a new short film about the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne.

BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said, “BBC Three is a badge of quality and shorthand for content that will stimulate emotions and provoke reactions. It’s the same award-winning programmes freed from the constraints of linear TV, and because we’re freed from the schedule we can use whatever format and platform is most appropriate. The majority of what we will make is TV, like People Just Do Nothing, but we’ll make short-form video, blogs and picture-led stories as well. We’ll be on YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and our new site The Daily Drop.

“The shackles are off when it comes to creativity. In February, our new drama ‘Thirteen’ will include companion story ‘Find The Girl’ that interweaves a character that exists wholly online. ‘Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared’ and Emelia’s Story are exciting because we can now use different formats as well as TV to tell the story. Life Hacks shows how we can innovate with entertainment for new platforms. We’re blazing a trail with content made exclusively for young people.

“Also in February, we have ‘Murdered By My Father’… an incredibly powerful film about an honour killing. Professor Green’s documentary on suicide kicked off the debate about mental health in men. The British Army want to use Is This Rape? in a training programme. That’s what we should be doing at BBC Three, starting debate and provoking reactions. I want ‘Murdered By My Father’ to do what ‘Murdered By My Boyfriend’ did. It’s also a good example of the creative freedom we have. ‘Murdered By My Boyfriend’ had to deliver at 60 minutes. In the edit this was running at 75. That’s fine now; we’re not constrained by timeslots. Whatever works for the story.

“New talent is at the core of BBC Three. We’re working with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures on a series of London-set drama shorts featuring chance encounters between two people. A co-development with BBC Drama in-house, these will focus on developing new and up-and-coming writing talent as well as giving opportunities for new actors to work with established talent.

“When we were developing BBC Three, we kept everything focused on what our audience told us they wanted. Different types of content they could dip into during the day that kept them informed and entertained, and comedy and documentaries they could binge watch at their convenience. That’s basically the idea behind ‘The Daily Drop’ and ‘The Best Of’. Snackable daily updates for when you’re on the bus and longer programmes and other content for when you’re in front of the TV. For those big moments when you want a collective viewing experience we’re using the BBC’s live platform so we can create moments like director Q&As, and encourage audience interaction.”

The writer of ‘Thirteen’ Marnie Dickens said, “Working on BBC Three meant one thing. Freedom. To tell the story the way we wanted to tell it. Launching as an online drama allowed us to create a parallel interactive story that takes the audience deeper into the world of Thirteen.”

Writer of ‘Clique’ Jess Brittain said, “BBC Three has always been a home for newer voices and fostering emerging writers, actors and directors. I am so excited to be a part of their new chapter, and the chance to reach a diverse audience online.“

Idris Elba of Green Door Pictures said, “I’m looking forward to working with BBC Three and giving new writers and actors a chance to show what they can do.”

The BBC head of current affairs Fiona Campbell said, “We know young people want content that makes them think, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to give them. Last year, our programme on the Ku Klux Klan was the most watched documentary on BBC Three, and this year we’ll revisit race relations in the US when we follow the Black Liberation Movement. With brave and ambitious access, and the likes of Stacey and Reggie exploring the issues that matter to young people, we’ll keep thought-provoking, modern journalism and documentaries at the heart of BBC Three.”

‘Black Power’ producer, director Dan Murdoch said, “I spent last summer with a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, but I also met counter protesters from the African American community, many of them chanting ‘Black Power’. When I discovered that some of these groups are arming themselves with shotguns and rifles, saying they have to patrol neighbourhoods to defend against white supremacist attacks and police brutality, and openly calling for armed revolution – I knew I needed to find out more.”