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BBC Three adds shows as closure looms

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION FESTIVAL: BBC Three has commissioned a batch of new shows as controller Damian Kavanagh (pictured) once again set out the case for the closure of the brand as a UK linear channel.

New seasons on race and gender toppling the commissions, along with a social experiment testing what British teenagers understand about rape, a horror-themed format and a drama documentary about a murder.

The format, The Fear, is an amateur horror film competition that seeks to unearth then next big horror director. It comes from Studio Lambert and runs to 6x30mins.

The UK’s pubcaster, the BBC, plans to end BBC Three as a linear channel and take it online-only in January 2016, earlier than previously-announced March date, and Kavanagh outlined the vision for the brand in a controller session at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The race season, which begins next month, comprises We Want Our Country Back (WT), about the Britain First far-right group and from Special Edition Films; KKK Town (WT), which goes inside the Ku Klux Plan in North Carolina and is an in-house production; Is Britain Racist? (WT), another in-house special; Sundog Pictures-produced Ferguson: One Year On; Franklyn Addo: PTSD Gangs; and The Worst Things I Have Ever Been Called (WT), which explore racial stereotyping and aggression among UK youths.

The gender season, running in October, comprises Is This Rape? Sex on Trail (WT), an in-house special that is billed as a social experiment into understanding of rape among Britain’s teenagers; Girls Run the World (WT), in which songwriter Charli XCX explores what it means to be a woman in the music industry; Stacey Dooley: No Place to Be a Woman from Twenty Twenty, a 2x60mins series looking at the worst countries in the world to be female; Professor Green: Suicide and Me (WT), which comes from Antidote Productions and Globe Productions; and Fighting Like a Girl (WT).

Also on the slate is Stoked Up in Stoke (WT), which follows three cage fighters; Transgender Love Story (WT), a documentary about transgender teenagers and their dating experiences from Bancroft Media; Transitioning in Selfies (WT), which follows a YouTuber as they transition from a girl to a boy; Britain’s Biggest Sexists (WT), which uses comedy clips and viral videos to highlight examples of sexist behaviour; Footballers’ Sex Secrets (WT), looking at the attitudes to sex of wealthy young football players. Firecracker Films is attached.

On the factual side comes drama-documentary Murder Games (WT), which comes from RareDay and is a 1x90mins effort. It follows a teenage boy targeted by an online predator who become friends through gaming. It is based on the true story of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old schoolboy murdered after being groomed online.

The commissions come amid criticism of the BBC over the plan to close BBC in a bid to save around £50 million (US$79 million) a year. BBC Three boss Kavanagh said the recent hire of Max Gogarty would see the channel become more focused on programming with new young talent attached.

“Max Gogarty has recently joined as content editor from Vice and will work alongside commissioning to make new form content,” said Kavanagh. “He’s in the process of building a team with a particular focus on new attracting new young talent.”

“As we reinvent online we will start to make more content around themes young people are interested in. That will be a key focus for Max. These could be standalone pieces of video, text, animation or picture led. We will also develop strands on topics that matter to young people. These could be around relationships or online life and most likely unrelated to long form.”

“We have much more to talk about over the coming weeks with a range of new British comedy in the pipeline and some exciting developments with our social and online activity to talk about. We will also outline in more detail what we want from our new form strands.”