End Of BBC3: Ruth Jones Slams 'Extreme' Move
Gavin And Stacey creator and star Ruth Jones has said the decision to make digital channel BBC3 an online-only service is "extreme".
The channel made the sitcom an award-winning hit but it has now been confirmed by BBC director-general Tony Hall that it will be replaced with a new BBC One +1 service from next year.
Jones, who stars in Sky 1 HD's Stella, told Sky News: "It's been the TV birthplace of so many great comedies and bizarre documentaries which are now going to be left homeless. There's no other channel like it. Very sad."
The channel's programmes will move to iPlayer, with many of its shows also being shown on BBC1 and BBC2.
In an email to staff, Mr Hall said: "I believe it's the right thing to do: young audiences - the BBC 3 audience - are the most mobile and ready to move to an online world.
"Twenty-five percent of viewing by 16 to 24 year-olds is to catch-up or other screens and over the next few years we expect that to reach 40%."
Mr Hall said he could not "rule out" further changes to "programmes or services".
The plans, which are subject to approval by the BBC Trust, would save more than £50m a year, with £30m of that earmarked to go towards drama on BBC1.
The decision has been widely criticised with many other high profile stars calling for the channel to be saved.
Little Britain star Matt Lucas tweeted on Wednesday that closing the channel would be "really bad" for new comedy.
Jack Whitehall wrote: "I really hope reports that the BBC may kill BBC3 are just rumours. There (sic) support of new comedy in particular is vital! #saveBBC3."
The comedian encouraged people to sign a petition on change.org, which now has more than 61,000 supporters.
Family Guy fans have also expressed concern that they will miss out when the channel moves online.
The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen, a former controller of BBC3, said the move was "the biggest strategic decision the BBC has made in over a decade".
Mr Cohen said that "in an ideal world we would not be making this move for a few more years".
A spokeswoman for the trust said its "priority" would be to "listen to the views of audiences" and a public consultation would be held.
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