BBC Three online TV move delayed until Christmas
Plans to make BBC Three an exclusively online channel have been delayed, the broadcasting corporation has announced.
The move was originally scheduled to take place during the autumn, but BBC bosses have confirmed it will now happen after Christmas.
The BBC plans to replace the slot BBC Three occupies with BBC One +1, a timeshifted channel which would allow viewers to watch programming an hour after it was originally broadcast.
The proposal has met with mixed responses, however.
A petition on website Change.org calling for the channel to remain on traditional broadcast television gathered 284,910 signatures, and was handed over to the BBC Trust in February.
The delivery of the petition, which filled three storage boxes, was the culmination of a protest that started outside Broadcasting House in central London.
Celebrities, many with links to the youth-oriented channel, added their voices to the protest. Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter Greg James and comedians Matt Lucas and Jack Whitehall spoke out against the prospect of the channel being moved online.
The current lineup of BBC Three programmes includes I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse, Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands, and US animated series Family Guy and American Dad!
BBC Three was the channel that first screened Little Britain and Gavin & Stacey before they crossed over to become prime time BBC One comedy mainstays.
Since it launched on 9 February 2003, BBC Three has won a number of industry and viewer-voted awards, including seven BAFTAs, five British Comedy awards and 15 Royal Television Society awards.
Speaking to the Guardian, managing director of Hat Trick Productions Jimmy Mulville, which produces Have I Got News For You, claimed that the process of downscaling and moving BBC Three was already underway.
He said: "Already assets are being taken off BBC Three. They are destroying the value of BBC Three as we speak.
"They are actually setting up and putting resources into a BBC online channel which is yet to be ratified by the trust. This speaks to the very heart of how the BBC is governed."
The BBC Trust began a public consultation regarding the plans on 20 January 2015.
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