When the news broke that BBC Three is to move online we pondered what this meant for some of its key programmes. Whilst the future of most is still far from certain the BBC’s decision to move Russell Howard’s Good News to BBC2 does give us a glimmer of hope that some staples of BBC Three may just escape the move.
The comedy news programme should feel relatively at home on Two assuming they put in the ‘Mock the Week’ slot or cut down on the hours and hours of QI repeats that BBC2 viewers have been forced to endure for years. Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two, said to today: “It is brilliant news that the wonderfully funny Russell Howard is coming to BBC Two and I very much look forward to welcoming his lively take on modern life to the channel.”
Mark Linsey, Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, says: “Five years ago, BBC Three spotted Russell’s great talent, commissioned this brilliantly funny show, nurtured and cherished it and is now passing it on to BBC Two as a fully fledged hit.”
Russell says: “I’m really looking forward to the new series on BBC Two. I can’t wait to get started.”
Whilst the move is good news (see what I did there?) for fans of the series which will begin its run on Two in the Autumn, there are still other popular BBC Three staples that have yet to find their home. In The Flesh, which ended on exciting cliffhanger last night, is one we’re hoping will find a place within the Two schedules. I can’t see it working in prime time on BBC One. And laugh if you wish but I’d hope someone somewhere will notice what a strong format Don’t Tell the Bride is.
When the move to the online platform was first floated by those who are convinced that a BBC Three audience will flock online to watch their favourite programmes, It was said that popular imports like Family Guy and American Dad wouldn’t move online. So where will these go? Another concern about the looming online move, is that we’ll lose the hours of thought provoking and genuinely important documentaries that BBC Three has been known for for a while. To be fair BBC One have repeated a few like the inspirational Kris: Dying to Live but I worry we’ll lose those sort of documentaries that give young people a voice on television.
In my view BBC Two needs an overhaul. It needs to shed it’s ‘middle aged’ image and return to its anarchic roots. The programmes showcasing the channel’s 50th anniversary that we’ve been bombarded have shown that BBC Two at its best when it takes a risk. Whilst I don’t think all BBC Three programmes to deserve the immediate promotion to the mainstream I hope the Russell Howard is the first in a long run of programmes that will eventually find their place away from the online community.