BBC licence fee: Mike Graham hits out at ‘ridiculous’ policy
BBC Three is set to return as a broadcast TV channel in 2022, the corporation confirmed yesterday. The BBC 2020/21 annual plan, published last year, indicated there remains an available audience on broadcast television for BBC Three. But commentator Darren Grimes deemed it unfair the channel, which is targeted at audiences aged 16 to 34, should be funded after the corporation chased older people to pay the licence fee.
Those aged over-75 are now required to fork out the annual £157.50 unless they received pension credit.
Mr Grimes wrote on Twitter: “I don’t see why the BBC, at a time when it’s chasing pensioners to pay the licence fee, is launching BBC Three as a television channel again.
“It’s once again a sign that the ‘lessons-on-how-to-drink-water’ BBC is profligate with the money we’re coerced into handing over to it.
“BBC Three appears to be performing adequately with its younger target audience that primarily consumes content via online, on-demand services and not via a television set.”
BBC Three is set to return after being on iPlayer since 2016
Those who did not apply were sent a letter by the BBC with the threat they would face a fine of up to £1,000 and potential prosecution if they continued to watch live television without paying up – although this will now be stopped.
This resulted in Lord Ian Botham writing to BBC Director General Tim Davie to urge people not to be prosecuted for failing to pay the licence fee.
The retired cricketer said in his letter: “In my view, this is institutional bullying on a massive scale and there seems to be some kind of blame game between the BBC and government.
“I’m no politician but this feels like a real scandal affecting the very frail that needs sorting out.”
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The new channel will broadcast from 7pm to 4am each day
BBC Three was best known for shows such as Gavin And Stacey, Being Human and the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.
The TV channel was switched off in 2016 and replaced by an online-only version available on the iPlayer.
The new channel will broadcast from 7pm to 4am each day, which is the same hours as when it closed in 2016.
Charlotte Moore, chief content officer of the BBC, said: “BBC Three is a BBC success story, backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country.
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The BBC is reportedly said to be saving around £30million through the move
“The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK.
“So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again.
“It has exciting, ground breaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”
The BBC is reportedly said to be saving around £30million through the move.
People aged over-75 are now required to fork out the annual £157.50
Responding to the announcement, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Julian Knight said: “The BBC’s decision to bring back BBC Three to our TVs is an acknowledgement by the broadcaster that it is failing to reach young audiences.
“I question whether putting the clock back five years is the right way to win over 18-35s.
“The extra investment found to pay for this is also happening at the same time that those over 75 are being chased to pay up for their TV licences.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment.