BBC Three returns as a TV channel on Tuesday, with a RuPaul’s Drag Race spin-off and hit shows like Fleabag.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus The World will see Drag Race alumni compete to be the Drag Race Superstar.
New shows coming soon include The Fast and the Farmer-ish featuring farmers from Northern Ireland racing tractors.
BBC Three moved online in 2016. BBC research found in 2020 that there was a “strong case” for it to return as a TV channel, focusing on younger audiences.
The returning TV channel’s opening night will also include a new series of Eating with My Ex.
Other new shows set to arrive further down the line include Peacock, a new gym-based comedy series about toxic masculinity from People Just Do Nothing’s Allan ‘Seapa’ Mustafa.
Another is The Drop, a streetwear competition filmed in Manchester with Clara Amfo and singer Miguel.
BBC Three controller Fiona Campbell described the new channel’s style as “unfiltered, unapologetic and extraordinary”.
“Our channel is all about a concentrated experience of how tough it is to be super young in the UK today and that show epitomises and embodies that tough emotion and feeling.”
Ahead of the relaunch, she said that BBC Three would provide “regional creative opportunities and a pipeline of experience for the future”.
She added that they also hoped to develop a new BBC Three soap opera set in a city such as Belfast, Aberdeen or Newcastle, to help emerging local actors and writers to establish themselves.
“That’s where I’m trying to take this channel, because then you’re relevant to people and important to them and you mean something to them,” Campbell explained.
“In terms of the UK, you can’t be relevant to your audience unless you’re making content that’s very close to your audience,” Campbell said.
“I think people’s mobility, in terms of geographic mobility, has obviously gone down in recent years [due to the pandemic] so the relevance of where they come from has gone up.”
Campbell stressed that in an age of on-demand streaming services, linear TV was still an important medium for creating “a moment” among viewers.
MP Julian Knight said the move online showed the BBC had “failed” those viewers, after the plan was first announced in March last year.
“I question whether putting the clock back five years is the right way to win over 18-35s,” said Mr Knight, who chairs the select committee for the department for digital, culture, media and sport.
But BBC Three’s return to TV was given the green light by the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom in November, which said it would help the BBC reach younger viewers, particularly those outside of London.
It stipulated that “75% of hours broadcast each year must be original programmes”, commissioned by the BBC.
It will air each night from 19:00 GMT on Freeview, Sky, Virgin and Freesat and will also still be available on the iPlayer.
BBC Three originally launched on TV in 2003 but was moved online to save money in 2016. Alongside the likes of Drag Race UK and Fleabag, its hits include Normal People and Gavin and Stacey.