Speech by Fiona Campbell to Launch BBC Three

Thank you for joining us this afternoon for the virtual launch of BBC Three.

Today, I want to talk to you more about our vision for the new BBC Three broadcast channel.

Then there will be the chance to hear from some of the people involved in shows that you will see on TV in the coming months.

When I became Controller three years ago, my vision was to make BBC Three a channel more representative of the whole of the UK, that tells stories that are unfiltered, unapologetic and extraordinary.

Youth is not one homogenous group.

There are 16 million 16-34s in the UK with a huge range of different life experiences.

They live in the countryside, by the sea, in cities and small towns – they are at the beginning of their life journeys, some live with family where they were born, others have moved away to find their paths in life.

BBC Three is going to be a noisy channel – hyper-focused on this varied experience of being young in the UK today.

We want audiences to see people on screen like them – people who have triumphed over adversity, who inspire, challenge and are having fun.

Three years into my job and we’re on the right path.

I truly believe that I have one of the most creative jobs in the whole of the UK Television industry and it is an absolute privilege to be at the helm of a team so focussed on generating British hits of the future.

We have had some amazing success stories.

Identity-shaping dramas such as Normal People, which has now been streamed over 74 million times, or RuPaul’s Drag Race UK which has done so much for celebrating and accelerating conversations about LGBTQ+ culture in the UK.

We’ve had huge comedy hits like This Country.

Regional aspirational stories like Angels of the North,

Fresh takes on factual like BAFTA-winning Doc Defending Digga D,

We continue supporting new talent.

And we are more representative of the UK.

BBC Three is a place for those who want to write their own stories.

Now we are about to supercharge our vision.

The opportunity

In 2021, BBC Three titles have been streamed over 294 million times on iPlayer.

Public service broadcasting is about providing universal accessibility and there is huge value in a broadcast channel alongside an on-demand service.

Make no mistake, when it comes to content discovery, a BBC broadcast channel still has a massive role to play.

It’s a signal that showcases talent, extraordinary moments, builds creative IP and can drive mass conversation in the world.

We know the landscape has changed but live broadcast TV delivers the most overall viewing for UK audiences.

It still matters.

Last week, over 80% of the UK watched broadcast TV. And, crucially, two thirds of 16-34s watched broadcast TV.

Of course, they do this as well as stream.

Having a broadcast channel alongside iPlayer is an opportunity to maximise our reach.

This isn’t linear or On Demand, it is both.

The content

Investment in BBC Three has more than doubled and we are showcasing a mixture of drama, comedy, documentary, film, sport and news.

We are launching two new competition formats that have been so successful for Three.

Hungry For It with Big Zuu, Stacey Dooley and Kayla Greer, is a food format with a truly life-changing prize.

The Drop is a streetwear competition filmed in Manchester with today’s host, Clara Amfo and music megastar Miguel and feels incredibly fresh.

They celebrate passion and entrepreneurial spirit and we put a big emphasis on regional casting.

We have more drama than ever before.

As a huge driver of audiences, it’s an opportunity to showcase identity-shaping stories and an important place to introduce and launch new talent.

Mood is a ground-breaking drama with a phenomenal soundtrack from actor, writer and singer-songwriter Nicôle Lecky.

Sally Rooney’s highly-anticipated adaptation of Conversations with Friends follows the hit that was Normal People and offers another sensitive portrait of the coming-of-age experience.

Also coming we have Bolton-set horror series Red Rose and the black comedy drama Wrecked, filmed in Northern Ireland and written by emerging talent.

Comedy is in the BBC Three DNA and one of the most popular genres for under 35 audiences.

We are announcing today a new project from Kurupt FM collaborators Steve Stamp and Ben Murray, Peacock.

It reunites People Just Do Nothing’s Allan ‘Seapa’ Mustafa with BBC Three as he stars in this gym-based comedy series about toxic masculinity.

Our track record when it comes to identifying a range of new British comedic voices and providing a platform for them to shine is second to none.

Coming from a current affairs background I really believe in the importance of modern day factual storytelling for this audience.

The documentary boxset High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule was one of our most popular and most quickly consumed series last year and we will be delving into a new story that explores similar themes.

Zara McDermott has emerged as a fantastic new voice in the documentary space, presenting two films for BBC Three which continue to drive conversation online.

We will be making more films with Zara in the future that focus on other teen issues.

Life and Death in the Warehouse is a new title from the BAFTA-winning team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered by My Father.

This factual-based drama from new screenwriter Helen Black is an exploration of working conditions in a fictional distribution centre and will no doubt raise some questions.

We know that this is what the best factual programmes do, they help people understand the world they are living in and drive conversation about stories relevant right now.

And a weeknight bulletin produced by BBC News called The Catch Up meets the need for young people to engage with impartial news.

Tonally, it will be smart and accessible and will be presented by new young journalistic talent.

We are also showcasing Sport and Film.

Young audiences love sport – we are investing more in it so watch this space for more.

At launch we will be showing the climax to the Africa Cup of Nations on free to air TV and we will also have Winter Olympic highlights.

Finally, we will be curating a home for youth-focused films on BBC Three. Film titles airing in the channel around launch include the BBC Film backed Blue Story.


To conclude, a final note about representation

I grew up in Northern Ireland, in Belfast. I only set foot in London at the age of 19.

It’s why strongly reflecting regional lives is really important to me.

I want BBC Three to look and sound different to anywhere else and I want to shout the loudest in every way we can that the BBC is there for you no matter where you are from and who you are.

Alongside our genre commissions, the partnerships with Nations commissioners and screen agencies from across the UK have a big part to play in that.

We’ve worked with 29 regionally based indies and commissioned over 12 titles as a result of our schemes in partnership with Screen Agencies.

Some of the indies selected have never had a BBC commission before.

And stories like these have never been seen on screen before.

Series like The Fast and The Farmer-ish, a tractor driving competition made by a Northern Irish indie and featuring teams from across the whole of the UK.

We are committed to growing this pipeline further because these are the shows and the talent of the future.


What do we expect then from this new channel, then?

Success for us is bringing new people to the BBC and building a relationship so they stick around.

Creating partnerships with other areas of the BBC such as Radio 1, 1Xtra and Children’s to help audiences find our content across platforms.

It’s growing the stars of the future in front and behind the camera and contributing to the creative economy in the UK.

It’s making young people feel that they belong and that BBC Three is a place where they are heard.

Thank you for listening today, now please take a look at some of the things we have in store for you.

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