BBC Three

This Christmas, BBC religious programming goes behind the scenes of one of Britain’s most treasured places of worship – Westminster Abbey; actor David Suchet embarks on a personal journey following in the footsteps of St Paul; writer and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore explores Rome, the Eternal City; and, as he prepares to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams intimately reveals the beauty and heritage of Canterbury Cathedral.

Live worship on BBC One comes from St Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds and St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. And BBC Radio 4 will herald the start of Christmas Day with a live broadcast from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics, says: “As we prepare for Christmas, it is befitting that Westminster Abbey is at the heart of our celebrations given it’s unique stature at the centre of national worship in this country. Continue reading »

With a reputation for breaking and developing new comedy since its inception, BBC Three is once again on the lookout for new talent.

Earlier this month, as part of BBC Three’s Feed My Funny Exclusives, seven new long-form comedies were launched via the BBC iPlayer. The pilots are all different in tone and approach, testing out fresh ideas and talent and proving that BBC Three is never afraid of trying new things. After the success of these exclusives, the channel is now on the look-out for the next raft of innovative, stand-out ideas to populate Feed My Funny.

BBC Three Controller Zai Bennet says: “BBC Three takes its role as a comedy innovator rather seriously. We want writers, directors and performers to feel they have the space to really develop characters and shows, so we’re rolling out our hugely successful online pilot initiative for another year. This year we commissioned seven pilots and we are taking one to series. We’re hoping to at least match that again this year.” Continue reading »

Zai Bennett, Controller BBC Three, revealed at the Media Guardian Edinburgh Television Festival a range of new programmes for the channel. BBC Three is the current holder of the festival’s digital channel of the year and is nominated again for this year’s title.

Zai said: “It’s been a busy five months since I started with the channel but my thoughts for BBC Three are starting to take shape. These programmes reaffirm my commitment to continue investing in new British comedy and quality documentaries for a young audience.”



Billie Piper stars in Tom And Jenny, a high-octane comedy pilot about a feuding couple who, despite splitting up, refuse to leave the house they’ve bought together. Written by Lee Hupfield, co-writer/producer of Star Stories and The Kevin Bishop Show, and directed by Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners Movie). Made by Objective Productions.

Zai has already announced a new comedy series with Sharon Horgan called Life Story; a comedy about two teenagers on the rocky road from childhood to adulthood called Pramface and a new series of White Van Man with Will Mellor. Also, that he is looking for a live comedy/entertainment show. More information is available on the press release: Zai Bennett announces raft of original programmes for BBC Three



In factual, BBC Three through autumn and winter will commit to scheduling documentaries every Monday night at 9pm.

Zai added: “BBC Three remains the only channel consistently making documentaries for a young audience. I want to give our audience a destination time and place in the schedule – so on Monday’s at 9pm they know they will get high quality factual programming from us.”


Documentaries to be included in this strand include:


Britain’s Youngest Undertaker

In the city of Newport in Wales, a 15-year-old schoolgirl is about to pass from a world of classrooms to one of caskets and coffins – dealing with death on a daily basis. This revealing documentary follows Rachael Ryan as she turns 16, leaves school and becomes Britain’s youngest female undertaker – a title previously held by her 22-year-old sister Louise. We’ll see if Rachael’s cut out to be an undertaker and whether she’ll be up to pursuing one particular skill – embalming. For father Mike his daughters represent his main hope in life of passing the business on within the family. But Mike can’t quite let go – and so the father/daughters relationship will be tested to the limit. Aside from the extraordinary day job, Rachael will be growing up like all 16-year-old girls – shopping and partying. Can Rachael be sure that a life of death is her destiny?

Made by Oblong Films.


9/11 – Conspiracy Road Trip

The events of 9/11 have led to a number of conspiracy theories. Comedian Andrew Maxwell thinks the conspiracies are unsubstantiated and a dangerous cocktail of disinformation. So in this satirical, sceptical, character driven 90-minutes he’s going to tackle the “truth” movement head on by taking five Brits, who all subscribe to the conspiracy theories, on a coach trip to find out what really happened on 9/11.

Made by Renegade.


Truth About Child Brides

Nel Hedayat (presenter of Women Weddings War And Me) is on a journey through India and Bangladesh into the hidden world of child marriages. She’s about to discover close up just how child marriages work and what effect they have on the lives of the children involved.

Whilst Nel is no stranger to child marriages: her aunties and grandparents were happily married as children and in the last six months three of her cousins in Afghanistan got married at 14. Nel, a 23-year-old Londoner, feels too young to think about marriage.

In India she attends the wedding of two sisters – both under the age of 12, and meets a couple married off as children who regret missing out on their education and childhood. In Bangladesh, Nel discovers a darker story. Here 66 per cent of girls are married under 18.

In the film we meet a 14-year-old who is expecting her first child and other young women struggling with being married so young. Nel also meets a group of girls who are striving for independence by working in the garment industry rather than being married at 14.

Made by Blast Films.


Finding My Family On Facebook

Jono Lancaster ( Love Me Love My Face ) was given up for adoption at birth and 25 years later attempted to get in touch with his birth parents using his local after-adoption service, only to be told his parents still did not want any contact with him. But, like many other children given up for adoption, Jono has traced members of his birth family through Facebook and meets regularly with the cousins he’s found online.

In this film Jono will look at this very modern phenomenon and examine the issues facing families searching for their relatives on social networking sites. As well as following his own story we will see Jono meet staff from after-adoption agencies overwhelmed by the explosion of cases, speak to other people who have been reunited – for better and worse – with their birth families through social networking sites and meet some of the many teenagers on the viral hunt for their families.

Made by Special Edition Films.


My Forced Unwanted Wedding

Two years in the making, this documentary tells the story of two British girls (identities have been changed for protection purposes) trying to escape from forced marriage.

Alia, aged 18, has already returned to the UK after been forced into marriage but now she’s under pressure to go back to her husband in Pakistan. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh 17 year old Jessie has been promised in marriage to a cousin more than twice her age. She faces being cast out by her family if she refuses.

My Forced Unwanted Wedding follows both Alia and Jessie as they seek the help of the British authorities. In Bangladesh, a team from the British Consulate travel under police guard to reach Jessie. They must act quickly as the situation could become volatile.

In Britain the police have now set up a network of specialist units to help the increasing numbers of forced marriage victims. The film follows officers from a unit in Lancashire as they try and help Alia.


Specialist Factual


Young, Single And…

Looking for love is tough at the best of times: it’s even harder when your pool of potential partners is small. That’s the dilemma faced by many young, religious singletons.

In Young, Single And… we get a window into a dating world we rarely get to glimpse at. This irreverent, off-beat, humorous series will look at dating in a Jewish, Muslim, Evangelical Christian and Hindu world.

The series will capture every moment on the young people’s journeys – from the awkwardness of a first date to the pressure of a meeting arranged by eager parents. Some of the dates will take place in familiar locations, but other meetings will unfold behind what are normally cultural closed doors, like a social event at the local mosque. By the end of it all, will any of them have formed lasting relationships?

Made by Raw TV.


Born Survivors Season

BBC Three’s Born Survivors season returns with hard-hitting, inspirational documentaries in which young people who live with serious issues reveal their strategies for survival. The films tell stories of young people surviving whatever life throws at them.


Gareth Gates’ Stammer House

Pop Idol finalist Gareth Gates was a star by the time he was 17. He had to face the pressures of overnight stardom with a crippling stammer that threatened to undermine his new found success and confidence. He enrolled on the radical McGuire programme and it totally changed his life. Ten years on, he’s a qualified speech coach and wants to help other young stammerers too.

In Gareth Gates’ Stammer House he will take six young men and women who’ve stammered since childhood and in four intense days aim to transform their lives. Over the four days the group will live and work together in a retreat designed to help them confront their stuttering demons. Gareth, along with a team of coaches will guide the group through a tough regime of exercises, tasks and challenges designed to help our stammerers control their stubborn stutters.

Gareth said: “I’m really looking forward to letting the cameras in, to see not just the everyday struggle people like me go through, but also the positive outcome that can be gained if you put the effort in. Hopefully this documentary will give people an insight into something that most take for granted – speaking!”

The film will follow all six on their journey right through to the ultimate test of seeing if they can put what they’ve learnt into practice in the real world in a bid to change their lives forever.

Made by IWC Media.


The Growing Pains Of A Teenage Genius

Cameron Thompson is a 13-year-old maths genius. Having passed with the highest grades in his maths GCSE and an A-level already under his belt, he’s now taking an Open University degree in applied maths. In a lot of ways Cameron is a normal teenage boy: obsessed with computer games, growing a moustache and a new interest in girls but it is his maths ability that has singled him out. In his hometown of Wrexham this gift has led to him being ostracized and bullied by those his own age.

Misunderstood and confused by the world around him, his parents and experts try to work out why Cameron is the way he is and how to help him fit in. However, when the family moves house, and require Cameron to change school can he continue to balance the need to stay the genius he’s always been (and therefore different) with the classic teenage longing to be accepted?

Made by Princess Productions


Sam And Evan – From Girls To Men

18-year-old Sam and 20-year-old Evan are facing the normal teenage issues of trying to get a job and find their way in the world. On top of all this they have to adapt to living together. But their relationship is a totally modern love story as they are both in differing stages of changing their gender from girls to men. This is the story of how they met, fell in love, and embarked on a remarkable transgender journey together to transform their bodies from female to male. The film follows the trials and tribulations they both face along the way, from inner turmoil, to out-and-out prejudice on their doorstep.

Made by NineLives Media.


Kirstie Mills – At The Edge Of Life (w/t)

Kirstie Mills, 21, was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition which means that one day her lungs will fail. Her only hope of extending her life is a lung transplant.

We follow Kirstie as her condition worsens to the extent that she is declared terminal and told that she has only months to live. While she waits to see if she will receive a new set of lungs, she is determined to marry her fiancé, Stuart Tancock, 26, but three days before her wedding she is rushed to hospital as her health becomes critical and it looks like her days are numbered.

Kirstie’s story takes her to the very edge of life. Will she be able to fulfil her dream of marrying Stuart? And can she find the strength to survive long enough for a new set of lungs that will give the couple a chance of life together.

Made by Special Edition films


Storm Chaser: The Butterfly And The Tornado sees first-time director Danny Beck on a road trip across the Amercian Midwest with Sam Hall, stormchaser extraordinaire and Epidermolysis Bullosa sufferer. Sam was born with this debilitating condition – her skin is fragile like a butterfly’s wings. Despite her condition, every year Sam heads out to Tornado Alley and throws herself into these hives of chaos and destruction.

Deaf Teen, Hearing World sees director Claire Braden take an insightful look into a hitherto closed-off world, challenging preconceived ideas about deaf people and what it means to have a disability. It follows some deaf teens as they come of age and go off to university and dance school – fully immersing themselves in the hearing world for the first time.

Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour follows Ashley, who has ADHD. He can’t hold down a job and struggles to contain his behaviour. But there’s one thing he is exceptionally good at – he is training to compete at the London 2012 Olympics in judo. Now the Olympics are on the horizon, his behaviour has never been so critical. Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour follows him as he moves in with his new coach, a tough, no-nonsense ex-Olympian, and there is no escape from the intense daily grind of training.

Previously announced, the above three films are part of BBC Three’s Fresh scheme, the channel’s established scheme for first-time directors looking to break into prime-time film-making which has been running since 2008.


BBC Three controller Zai Bennett has today announced three new commissions from the Fresh strand, the channel’s established scheme for first-time directors looking to break into prime-time film-making.

BBC Three’s Fresh strand has been running since 2008 and has produced successes such as My Brother The Islamist and Autistic Me.

The new films are: The Butterfly And The Tornado (w/t), following Sam Hall, a young stormchaser with a rare skin condition; Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour (w/t), which charts the journey of a young ADHD sufferer and Olympic hopeful; and Deaf Teen, Hearing World (w/t), which ventures into the little-known world of deaf people.

Zai Bennett says: “The Fresh strand is vital to BBC Three’s factual offering, providing new film-makers with a voice to tell compelling and often inspiring stories about young people in extraordinary circumstances. I’m incredibly impressed by the quality of recent Fresh films like My Brother The Islamist and Autistic Me, and I am keen to build on these successes.”

The Butterfly And The Tornado (w/t) sees first-time director Danny Beck on a road trip across the American Midwest with Sam Hall, stormchaser extraordinaire and Epidermolysis Bullosa sufferer. Sam was born with this debilitating condition – her skin is fragile like a butterfly’s wings. Despite her condition, every year Sam heads out to Tornado Alley and throws herself into these hives of chaos and destruction.

Ashley has ADHD. He can’t hold down a job and struggles to contain his behaviour. But there’s one thing he is exceptionally good at – he is training to compete at the London 2012 Olympics in judo. Now the Olympics are on the horizon, his behaviour has never been so critical. Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour (w/t) follows him as he moves in with his new coach, a tough, no-nonsense ex-Olympian, and there is no escape from the intense daily grind of training.

Deaf Teen, Hearing World (w/t) sees director Claire Braden take an insightful look into a hitherto closed-off world, challenging preconceived ideas about deaf people and what it means to have a disability. It follows some extraordinary deaf teens as they come of age and go off to university and dance school – fully immersing themselves in the hearing world for the first time. Taking a surprising and counter-intuitive tone the programme shows that not all deaf teens want to be able to hear, as they take viewers into their lives to show how proud they are of their own culture.

Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries says: “It can be difficult for new directors to get their first prime-time commission, which is why BBC Three’s Fresh strand is so important to new talent within the documentary community. We have had some wonderful Fresh documentaries in the past, with many directors going on to enjoy further success, like Danni Davis who went on to make Laura Hall: My Battle With Booze.”

Other recent Fresh commissions include Jamie – Drag Queen At 16, Josie And The Cancer Curse and Genocide, Mum And Me.

The Butterfly And The Tornado and Ashley – Impulsive Behaviour will transmit on BBC Three in the autumn, and Deaf Teen, Hearing World early in 2012.    


Comedy North, part of Vision Productions Comedy, and Baby Cow Manchester announce today a year-long collaboration to develop comedy scripts for production out of MediaCityUK in Salford.

This ambitious new deal comes as BBC Three’s long-running, hit comedy Ideal, a co-production between BBC In House and Baby Cow, celebrates its 50th episode (9 June, 10.30pm, BBC Three).

Head of BBC In House Comedy, Mark Freeland, says: “As our commitment to comedy being produced from the North increases, I can think of no one better with whom to partner than the creative comedy minds of Baby Cow. Together, if we can develop some more comedies that last for 50 episodes and beyond, and like Ideal, are so damn good, then we will be able to say it has worked fabulously well.”

Baby Cow’s Managing Director, Henry Normal, adds: “It’s exciting to be developing comedy with BBC Comedy North. The new MediaCityUK media centre is a new adventure for all of us.”

Steve Coogan says: “Having co-produced seven series of Ideal together we are reasonably confident the  BBC Comedy North/Baby Cow combination can work well.”

The joint venture will see BBC In House Comedy and Baby Cow join forces in order to develop a number of narrative scripts that will seek to bring through the next generation of on and off screen comedy talent from the North of England.

Zai Bennett, Controller BBC Three, today unveils his first commissions – shows in every area that are new, original and aimed squarely at 16-34-year-olds watching BBC Three, which is now the most watched digital channel for the hours it broadcasts.

Zai said: “BBC Three is an innovative, young and distinctly British channel. I hope this raft of new original shows will add to its rich history of brand new programming in all genres.”



Up For Hire Live

In 2011, a record 20% of young people are unemployed. Up For Hire is a live event stripped across a week and will follow four talented but unemployed young people (18-24) as they get their careers put on fast track. In just four weeks, they will progress from ‘tea boy’ to making executive decisions. It’s 40 years’ service in just one month at a range of companies.

This documentary follows four young people. Every evening, we will also hold a live, studio debate where any themes or issues that arise from the documentary will be discussed as well as their progress. At the end of the week, the ambition is that one of the employers offers our young people a job.

Zai added: “Jobs and work are a vital issue for our audience right now. Up For Hire will condense the experiences of a 40-year career into one TV week in an innovative and engaging programme, which we hope will not only have a real effect on the participants, but our entire audience.”

Made by Love Productions.


Current Affairs

“BBC Three stands out amongst its competitors for its commitment to current affairs and documentaries. These two new films will tackle hugely important and sensitive issues in a relevant and engaging way for our audience,” says Zai.


Mixed Up In The Middle East

Reya’s half Arab, half Jewish. Her parents fell in love across the Middle East divide, but she’s grown up in Britain. So what happens when she goes to Israel and the Palestinian territories for the first time?

This is a journey of understanding for the BBC Three audience as Reya gets to meet people from both sides of the divide – whose shattered lives are the fallout from the conflict. Spending time with her own cousins, she’ll reveal how everyday life for them has been made shockingly different – often very dangerous – by the long-running hostilities they were born into. It’s a world away from the life she knows but one all too familiar for her ancestors. She’ll explore what the two sides have in common, as well as what divides them; and explore the prospects for peace as the Arab world undergoes its most radical change for generations.

Mixed Up In The Middle East is a Current Affairs production.


Britain You’re Welcome to It (working title)

Every month, thousands of Eastern Europeans start a new life in the UK. Since 2004, 1.5 million have arrived, and there are now more foreign workers in the country than ever before. But is their new home quite what they expected?

BBC Three joins a unique bus tour, accompanying newly arrived immigrants on sightseeing trips organised to help them learn about Britain – and their place in it.

We’ll follow a group of Eastern Europeans as they arrive in the UK, from the moment they step off the plane to their experiences on the day trips – candidly revealing their first impressions of Britain and its people.

We’ll see the country through their eyes, exposing the difficulties and challenges they face in their first month, and the realities of life as a newcomer to Britain.

A Current Affairs Production.




Zai says: “Making our audience laugh is one of our key aims at BBC Three. We have been the home of some of the most brilliant and innovative new comedy in recent times and we hope Life Story with Sharon Horgan will add to that and that Will Mellor in White Van Man will go from strength to strength.”

Life Story – brand new comedy series written and starring Sharon Horgan (Pulling, The Increasingly Poor Decision Of Todd Margaret) and comedian Holly Walsh (co-host of The TNT Show and All Over the Place).

Helen Stephens (Sharon Horgan) has never done anything wrong in her life. Apart from that time she was stopped for drink driving… So when she is falsely imprisoned for the murder of her boss, she knows it’s only a matter of time before this horrible mistake is sorted and she is back to her old life. The only problem is her fiancé and alibi, Justin, prefers her being in prison because he just can’t face dumping her. Plus her younger sister Laura is quite happy she’s inside as she’s moved into her flat and taken her place in the pub quiz team. And Henry, the weirdo from work, is beginning to realise his weekly prison visits are the only guaranteed way to spend time with her. If that’s not bad enough, her lawyer, Tony, is a specialist in “injury at work” claims and thinks shouting “You can’t handle the truth” amounts to a convincing defence.

Despite all this Helen is determined stay optimistic, and to get out with her dignity intact. All she has to cope with now is a prison governor who believes that appeals are bad for morale, and an arsonist cellmate who just wants a hug.

Against a backdrop of life in Broadmarsh Prison, Life Story is a sitcom with a little “murder mystery” thrown in, as Helen fights to prove her innocence by finding her boss’s real killer. Whoever it is he or she is still on the loose and could kill again. Helen documents her time in prison in her letters to Maurice, her pen-pal on Death Row in Kansas. She happily distracts him from his impending demise with tales of the South Wing’s production of The Pirates Of Penzance.

A BBC Comedy Production.



Wilfred is a half-hour, live-action comedy about Ryan, a young man struggling unsuccessfully to make his way in the world until he forms a unique friendship with Wilfred, his neighbour’s canine pet. Elijah Wood (The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Happy Feet) stars as Ryan and Jason Gann, who co-created and starred in the Australian series, plays the title character, Wilfred.

Everyone else sees Wilfred as just a dog, but Ryan sees a rude, somewhat surly, yet irrepressibly brave and honest Australian bloke in a cheap dog suit. While leading him through a series of comedic and existential adventures, Wilfred the dog shows Ryan the man how to overcome his fears and embrace the world around him.

Wilfred is based on the critically acclaimed Australian series of the same title and was adapted by David Zuckerman (Family Guy, American Dad!, King Of The Hill).

Wilfred is produced by FX Productions.


White Van Man

Hit comedy series White Van Man returns for another 6×30 mins. Back in Maplebury Ollie (Will Mellor) the proverbial man with a van, is struggling to do the right thing when all around him Darren (Joel Fry) is doing wrong. The series will once again be penned by acclaimed comedian, Adrian Poynton, and see the welcome return of its fantastic ensemble cast. The cheeky, knockabout comedy with a warm heart, full of all the little peculiarities we love about everyday life receive the highest launch of any narrative comedy on BBC Three, with each episode being watched by more than two million.

Filming is due to start later this year.


Two new Comedy pilots

Eggbox is a half-hour comedy drama about life on a teenage cancer ward, written by Tom Bidwell and Mark Catley. Tom wrote the Oscar-nominated short film Wish 143 (about a teenager with cancer who asks to lose his virginity before he dies) and Tom himself survived cancer when he was 15. Mark Catley is consultant producer on Casualty and has written for Holby City, Casualty and EastEnders.

A Hat Trick Production


IED is a single-camera comedy about a British bomb disposal detachment. It’s a show about something the public easily forget; soldiers really enjoy being soldiers. This sitcom shows us why, as it takes the audience from moments of intense action to the fractious camaraderie as the unit waits around for their next tasking.

IED is written by James Cary and Richard Hurst who, between them, have co-written 12 episodes of the award-winning BBC Two hit, Miranda. Executive produced by Stephen McCrum, producer of the BAFTA-nominated BBC One smash Mrs Brown’s Boys and of BBC Three’s multi-award-winning adult puppet comedy Mongrels.

Following the continued success of factual programming on the channel, Harry Lansdown, acting controller of BBC Three, today unveiled a new season of programmes exploring what life is like for young parents in the UK: Bringing Up Britain.

On air this spring, the season features a collection of enlightening documentaries from the frontline of parenthood that will provide audiences with a window into the complex and varied lives of young parents, and the many issues they are faced with in today’s society.

There is a strong appetite for factual programming on BBC Three from its audience, and success stories like The Adult Season (2009/2010) have helped the channel continue to be the most-watched digital channel for the hours it broadcasts.

Harry Lansdown said: “Factual on BBC Three continues to go from strength to strength and I’m delighted to announce this new range of programmes that, in their different ways, paint an intimate picture of childhood and the numerous pressures on parenting in contemporary Britain.”

Leading the season is Cherry Healey Investigates – Is Breast Best? With her usual refreshing honesty, BBC Three presenter, Cherry Healey (Cherry Goes Dating, Cherry Gets Married) presents a revealing and compelling documentary that explores breastfeeding – for some a taboo subject that often provokes controversy.

The World Health Organisation advises that all mothers breast feed their children for at least the first six months after birth, but it’s not for everyone. Cherry herself found the experience painful and traumatic and eventually gave up. Even now, over a year later, she is still plagued by feelings of guilt for not trying harder and is now on a mission to find out how other Mums feel.

Babies and toddlers up and down the country are eating a diet of cheap, sugary and fattening junk food. An arresting documentary, Fast Food Baby, follows parents who are feeding a future of bad teeth and medical problems to their offspring, but are determined to wean their children off their junk food addictions.

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be a stressful experience for first-time parents, but what happens when you’re told you are expecting more than one child? Meet The Multiples captures what life is really like for couples in this situation – from the physical toll of being pregnant to insights into how it feels to reach young adulthood having grown up with so many same-aged siblings.

Deciding to become a parent can in itself be a huge decision for any young person, but if you also have a genetic condition that you could pass down to your children it becomes an agonising dilemma with potentially serious consequences.

What If My Baby Is Born Like Me? follows Jono Lancaster (Love me, Love My Face) and his girlfriend Laura as they try to decide if, and how, they will ever have children together. Jono was born with Treacher Collins syndrome – a rare genetic condition that has affected every aspect of his life – and any child he fathers will have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the condition. Jono and Laura explore the science, ethics and very human stories behind the decisions faced by other people with genetic conditions.

The Gatwick Baby – Abandoned At Birth follows Steven Hyde’s life-defining search to find out his true identity. Stephen was abandoned in the ladies toilet at Gatwick Airport when he was just 10 days old. With no birth certificate or clue to even his country of origin, Steven has spent his whole life not knowing where he came from. Now, 24 years later, and with the help of DNA testing, Steven is hoping to find the answers he’s been so desperately searching for.

Accompanying the one-off documentaries is How Not To Be Pregnant (w/t), a warm and uplifting six-part series that follows a team of midwives as they take pregnant women who binge drink, chain smoke and over eat and help them get back into shape before they give birth. Using their extensive experience and cutting-edge technology, the midwives help these women transform their bad habits and reverse the dangers currently posed to their babies’ lives.

Building on the success of previous BBC Three collaborations, BBC Learning will support the season with a series of online videos featuring young parents sharing their stories from the frontline of parenthood and offering practical peer-to-peer tips and advice. The season website also provides links to organisations that can continue to help young parents manage the wide range of issues they face.

BBC Learning Campaigns offer opportunities for learning in the broadest sense, building on the interest generated by broadcast programmes. Previous collaborations with BBC Three include, The Baby Borrowers (2009) and Underage And Pregnant (2010).

Jana Bennett, Director BBC Vision, today (16.12.10) named Zai Bennett as the new Controller of BBC Three. Bennett joins from ITV, where he is currently Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions, and his start date will be confirmed shortly.

In his current role, Zai is the creative leader responsible for all editorial content on ITV’s digital channels (ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 and the CITV channel). He is responsible for commissioning, acquiring and scheduling across the channels.

Between 2006 and 2009, Zai was Controller of ITV2, one of the most successful multichannels in the UK.

Jana Bennett said: “Zai is one of the most energetic and creative leaders working in television today. He brings with him a real connection with the audience, a deep understanding of the digital landscape and first-hand experience of running channels.

“His experience in developing original scripted drama and comedy, along with his fantastic relationship with presenters and performers, makes Zai perfect for this role.”

Zai added: “I have had a simply amazing time at ITV with some of the most talented people in television today, but I am delighted to be joining the BBC and especially BBC Three. The channel is on fire at the moment and I hope to be able to continue to support everyone’s great work on quality programmes.

“The BBC is the most creative broadcaster in the world and BBC Three is an essential gateway for younger audiences to its phenomenal work.”

Under Zai’s stewardship, ITV2 has had successes with original shows including Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, with Billie Piper; Katy Brand’s first comedy show; Celebrity Juice, with Keith Lemon; and The Only Way Is Essex.

ITV3 has aired hit original drama Ladies Of Letters as well as the Crime Thriller Awards. For ITV4, Zai secured highlights to the Ashes between England and Australia and gave Freddie Flintoff his first major TV series, Freddie Flintoff Versus The World.

Zai has worked at ITV since 1998 in a number of different roles including Head of Programme Strategy, ITV Digital Channels and ITV2 Programming and Acquisitions Manager. Prior to that, he worked on the launch of Channel 5 and started his career at Carlton Television.

BBC Three has established itself as the most watched digital channel by both young viewers and viewers overall in its hours broadcast and, for the second time in three years, was named Non Terrestrial Channel of the Year at the Media Guardian Edinburgh TV Festival.

The channel’s share for 16 to-34-year-olds has grown by 58 per cent during the past three years, reaching more than a third of young audiences.

BBC Television is set to deliver the best year of any major UK broadcaster, following strong performances across its channels throughout 2010*.

Analysis has revealed that the AI (audience appreciation index) figures have gone up and the portfolio has grown its share to 33.1% – 0.5** points up on last year – and now reaches 85.5% of the UK population each week, up from 84.7% last year.

Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, says: “It’s been a strong year for BBC Television, with distinctive and uniquely BBC initiatives like the year of science, opera and poetry seasons and the launch of BBC One HD. We’ve seen truly ambitious and challenging moments like Five Daughters and Turn Back Time – The High Street, resulting in a portfolio performance that has bucked the trend and grown its AIs and audience share, whilst keeping public service broadcasting values at its heart.”

Bennett also announced today that the BBC will be introducing a new way of measuring its audiences, alongside traditional “overnight” methods. The system, called Live Plus 7, will incorporate the total audience consuming content across all platforms, including live, recordings, narrative repeats, BBC iPlayer and HD for seven days after transmission. Next year we plan to start revealing this information by publishing some of this Live Plus 7 information each month in a similar fashion to the way we announce BBC iPlayer stats now.

Bennett adds: “We know viewing habits are changing and we’re changing with them. As our content becomes available in more ways than ever before, traditional methods of overnight measurement are now just one part of the picture. The new Live Plus 7 system will allow us to look at the total impact of a show and use this insight to continue creating the programmes our audiences want to see.”


The figures** show that:


BBC One is still the UK’s most-watched channel:

BBC One has continued to grow in 2010, reaching 44.6 million people each week, up from 44m last year

Share has remained broadly stable at 20.7% for all hours and BBC One is the only terrestrial channel to have gone up in peak (to 22.9%). It has consequently increased its lead ahead of other terrestrial channels in both peak and all hours

Highlights this year include The Young Ones, a broad range of ambitious and challenging drama like Sherlock and the live EastEnders episode, which was watched by over 20 million people


BBC Two share remains ahead of its main competitors in peak hours:

The channel reaches 31.3 million people each week. A dip in peak share to 7.8% keeps BBC Two comfortably ahead of its competitors, and all hours share totals 6.9%

As part of Putting Quality First, the channel has taken creative risk with distinctive programmes at 9pm including Secret Iraq, BP: $30 Billion Blowout and The Song Of Lunch and has experienced its highest ever AIs.

The high quality of BBC Two’s output, recognised by audiences and the Trust, is clear in the numerous successes this year, including Wonders Of The Solar System and a resurgence of mainstream comedy on the channel, with Miranda, Rev and The Trip.


BBC Three is now the most-watched digital channel in the hours it broadcasts:

The MGEITF Non-Terrestrial Channel of the Year, BBC Three, saw both its share and reach grow in 2010, with the channel now reaching 5.2m, (36.4%) 16-34s each week, up from 4.8m in 2009 and has a share of 5%, up from 4.4% in 2009

Highlights this year include EastEnders: The Aftermath, which was watched by 4.5m – the best audience on a digital channel ever. Him And Her saw the highest ever audience for a sitcom launch on the channel, Russell Howard’s Good News remains popular, topping a million viewers, and there was a successful second series of Being Human

Women, Weddings, War And Me saw the highest audience appreciation figure of any factual programme on any British channel whilst the successful Adult Season reached almost half of 16-34s with programming hits that included Small Teen, Big World, which saw the channel’s best ever documentary audience with 1.2m


BBC Four has increased its reach and share considerably in the hours it broadcasts:

It’s been an excellent year for BBC Four, which has increased from 1% to 1.1% in the hours it broadcasts, and now reaches 8.5 million people each week, up from 7.2m in 2009

Reflecting the Trust’s findings that audiences appreciate its high quality and distinctive content, 2010 has seen a wide variety of successful programmes and seasons on the channel

Highlights include the Fatherhood and Sea seasons, a series of programmes on opera and original pieces that offer something that no other channel would, like Indian Hill Railways, Pavarotti – A Life In Seven Arias, Britain Goes Camping, Treasures Of The Anglo Saxons and The Road To Coronation Street.

For one night only, in March 2011, the city of Leeds will play host to a spectacular live TV event – the marriage of scientist Victor Frankenstein and his bride-to-be, Elizabeth. Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live In Leeds is a bold and ambitious music and drama event. It will explore the iconic story through contemporary performance and cutting-edge musical content. A collaboration between BBC Wales, BBC North and local organisations in Leeds, the spectacular live event will be broadcast on BBC Three.

Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live In Leeds is a bold reimagining of Mary Shelley’s much-loved masterpiece, Frankenstein. Set against the gothic magnificence of Kirkstall Abbey in the city, this one-of-a kind performance will bring the passion, emotion and horror from the classic tale to a live audience.

With spectacular light projections and audience participation throughout, viewers at Kirkstall Abbey and at home will experience the content as it happens.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, says: “Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live In Leeds promises to be a truly unique event both for the live audience in Kirkstall Abbey and for viewers across the UK. Not only will the audience be able to get involved on the night itself, but in the weeks leading up to the event they will be encouraged to rediscover this classic novel.”

Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One and BBC Three, adds: “Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live In Leeds is the kind of Arts television for young viewers that only the BBC would provide. It’s a very creatively ambitious project, and BBC Three is delighted to be working so closely with the city of Leeds to bring this iconic story to vibrant life.”

Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor, Music and Events, says: “We are delighted to be working with local organisations in Leeds to bring this great story to life through music and drama and to involve the people of Leeds in the heart of the story.”

The pan-BBC project is being supported by key organisations within the city, including Leeds City Council, Welcome to Yorkshire, Marketing Leeds and Phoenix Dance Theatre.

Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure, says: “We are delighted that the BBC have chosen the city of Leeds and the magnificent Kirkstall Abbey as the backdrop for this exciting project. Kirkstall Abbey is the perfect setting for this event and we look forward to helping bring the story of Frankenstein to life for millions of people to enjoy.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire, says: “We have worked hard to bring this exciting project into Yorkshire. It will be a spectacular production in a special location which will showcase Kirkstall Abbey’s imposing splendour to millions around the country and introduce more people to the wealth of historic buildings which Yorkshire has to offer.”

Deborah Green, Chief Executive, Marketing Leeds, comments: “We are proud to be working with the BBC. The retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a first for both Leeds and the BBC and the project can only serve to further enhance the city’s current offering of culture, arts, music and dance.”

Following on from the successes of Manchester Passion (2006) and Liverpool Nativity (2008) which were both broadcast on BBC Three, Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live In Leeds plays into the audience’s desire to feel at the centre of the action.

It will stay true to the ethical and scientific themes but will burst open the classic text, fusing live drama with contemporary dance to bring a unique viewing experience for both the TV viewers and the audience in the Abbey itself.

The event will focus on the lavish wedding of Victor Frankenstein and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth Lavenza. While Elizabeth fusses over seating plans, Victor broods on a dark secret – the murderous monster he has created.

In a unique take on audience participation, an audience of thousands will be invited to attend the event in their best wedding outfits and play a real role as wedding guests.

Phoenix Dance Theatre, a dance company based in Leeds, will also be involved with the project. They will lead on the choreography and dancers from the company will also perform as part of the final event.

BBC Learning is planning to run a series of dance workshops with Phoenix Dance Theatre, enabling the audience to learn routines that will be part of the performance, and will also highlight the themes of the Frankenstein text through social media platforms.

Full ticket details and cast will be announced early next year, alongside further information about the event and how people can be part of it.

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