BBC Three looking for serious drama


BBC Three is looking to commission a serious and issue based drama Ben Stephenson, the corporation’s controller of drama, has told Broadcast.


Ben Stephenson has told Broadcast he and BBC Three controller Danny Cohen are seeking a serious single drama for the digital channel. The serious and tough one-off drama would complement BBC Three’s factual output and would not be a regular/returning drama. Stephenson told Broadcast he was looking for a very serious authored drama, about a subject that isn’t returnable or serialised, that goes to the heart of what a young audience is interested in”. He added that BBC Three could produce such a drama every 18 months.


If a drama were to be commissioned it could be on similar lines to the BBC’s The Wednesday’s Plays which produced hard-hitting one-off films such as Cathy Come Home which tackled homelessness and resulted in the foundation of the charity Shelter. The Wednesday Play later became Play for Today on the BBC.


“We are happy with the direction, but I think what Danny and I are looking at is finding a BBC3 equivalent of some of the ‘state of the nation’ pieces we do on BBC1, like Five Daughters and Asylum… We want something that is important and serious, similar to what Danny has done with docs on the channel.” – Ben Stephenson on Broadcast


The BBC have worked hard in recent years to turn around the image of its digital channel which had become a target by the tabloids. The reputation of BBC Three has improved significantly recently with more factual output and newer dramas including Lip Service.