Question of the week: what would you do with BBC3 and BBC4?

So, the BBC has announced within the last week what it wants to do with BBC3 and BBC4. BBC4 is going to cut drama, keep comedy and become more a feeder channel for BBC2, which is now just going to show repeats during the day. BBC3 is going to transfer a third of its drama budget to BBC1. Everyone’s going to have a reduced acquisitions budget.

Good thing? Bad thing? Will you watch BBC3 or BBC4 at all any more? Maybe, maybe not.

So let’s play fantasy TV controller and ask:

If you were in charge of the BBC and could move budgets around as you like, what would you do with BBC3 and BBC4? What would you have more of? What would you have less of? Would even get rid of them in favour of giving more money to BBC1 and BBC2




  • Hazel

    I would amalgamate BBC One and Two.
    There is little on BBC Two that wouldn’t work on One; think how often programmes are transferred (Miranda, The Apprentice) to great success. Imagine Top Gear on One. And just how are Lorraine Pascale or The Hairy Bakers any different from Nigel Slater or Simon Hopkinson? Any recent drama on Two would have been worked fine on One.
    BBC Four would then be the new Two and then I wouldn’t need to change channel after University Challenge to watch Only Connect 🙂
    BBC Three needs to drop the obviously awful (and often sexist) programmes and their even worse titles (Snog, Marry, Avoid?, Misbehaving Mums To Be) and concentrate on the challenging drama and comedy they already do as well as decent documentaries like Secrets of the Superbrands and Young Soldiers.

  • Repeats on BBC2 in the daytime doesn’t really affect me – frankly the programming has become so repetitive I’m amazed people can tell the difference. My concern though would be WHAT they repeat on there – classic serials and films or just repeats of the crud they have gathered as produced programming in recent years?
    Evening is more tricky. And this is where BBC 4 becomes an issue: basically, BBC4 is what BBC2 USED to be before everyone went digital crazy. Much already turns back up on BBC2 anyway… The problem as well is that now neither BBC2 *NOR* BBC4 do many of those things that were brilliantly suited to a (notionally) higher-brow channel. [yes: I am that intellectually snobbish].
    Where are the films – classic and arthouse contemporary? Certainly where are the contextualising programmes…? (Moviedrome, I still miss you). If drama is moving OFF BBC4 then it definitely needs a BBC2 to go to as no way would most stuff work on BBC1.
    And comedy – I don’t get why BBC4 keeps comedy (over BBC2????) For me I’d just have ONE artsy BBC channel that focused on quality from 6pm onwards and possibly all weekend.
    BBC3 is more problematic because those bits of it that really work, really work for their audience and probably would NOT fit anywhere else. Where would The Fades go? (Sorry: its my new TV love) I can’t quite see it fitting on BBC2 /BBC4…
    In an ideal world therefore , I’d probably have the two channels – BBC1 and BBC2 – but just run much better and focusing on the very best of what they do (that is BBC2 includes the best of BBC4), PLUS a version of BBC3. Designed to cater to a younger audience but still capable of challenging material (despite the awful titles, some of their documentaries and factual material are really good).

  • MediumRob

    Ooh, I like it!

  • Mark Carroll

    I’m not sure it ever used to matter to me what channel things were on. Before DVRs I used to go through all the listings, mark what I wanted, and watch/record it appropriately, whatever channel it was on, and these days I mostly don’t even know when or what channel things are on, my TiVo notices them for me and records appropriately. I would be aware of BBC/non-BBC because of ads, but intra-BBC I really never thought about it. So, it’s been interesting to me to see comments here about which shows would fit which channels: I hadn’t much noticed before, except for that I wouldn’t expect a ten-minute show on how to cook a fish in the woods to be on BBC 1, and I have a vague memory of maybe Torchwood being a BBC 4 thing at at least some point. Maybe the BBC TV channels really are as individual as the radio ones.

  • Mark – Torchwood was BBC3. Then it had a repeat on BBC2 – sortof, they faffed the series about a fair bit in S2 with premiered episodes on BBC3 and BBC2 in a really random way – and THEN it went to BBC1 for CoE and then the much less enthralling Miracle Day.

  • Mark Carroll

    Thanks! Maybe I don’t have much of a mental image of each channel’s character because I never much noticed which show is on which channel anyway. (-:
    Individual character was more striking with some of the cable channels, of course. But my more recent UK TV experience has just been Freeview, not even Sky or anything.