Drama on BBC Three is being “downgraded” meaning one of the channel’s dramas, such as Lip Service or Being Human, could be axed after its next series.
The BBC announced a raft of new drama commissions for BBC One as well as confirming new seasons for Luther and Death in Paradise. However, the Radio Times reports that the increased focus on drama on BBC One is at the expense of drama on digital channel BBC Three.
The listings magazine writes ‘The focus on BBC1 drama also came with the admission that the commitment to drama on BBC3 would be downgraded, with either Being Human or Lip Service axed after their next series or no recommission for The Fades.’
Supernatural drama Being Human is about to return to BBC Three for its fourth season and is still hugely popular. The departures of key cast members such as Russell Tovey, Sinead Keenan and Aidan Turner may convince the BBC it doesn’t have a future beyond the current series but if ratings remain high it will be hesitant to pull the plug on the critically acclaimed series.
The Fades aired its first series last year and while not a big ratings it the creepy supernatural series was well received by critics. It starred Iain de Caestecker as Paul; a teenage boy who has visions of the end of the world and is caught in the middle of a war between “angelics” and the creepy vampire like Fades. The drama was created by Jack Thorne and as yet the BBC has made no decision over its future – the fact that drama on BBC Three is being “downgraded” makes it very vulnerable.
Lip Service very quickly built up a loyal and devoted fan-base; the Glasgow based drama is one of the few on television aimed at lesbians in particular and the wider LGBT community in general. It starred Laura Fraser, Ruta Gedmintas and Heather Peace and a second season is due soon.
Axing any of the dramas could provoke an angry backlash for the show’s respective fans but also from television experts who will argue that BBC Three has a commitment to provide dramas for its target audience irrespective of what main-stream BBC One is offering.