BBC Three's best shows: A look back over the years

·6-min read
Normal People has been a big hit for BBC Three. (BBC)
Normal People has been a big hit for BBC Three. (BBC)

BBC Three set to be rebooted as a TV channel in 2022 after being online-only on BBC iPlayer for six years. The youth-oriented BBC channel was axed by executives in 2016 in a cost cutting move.

The return to linear broadcasting sparked mixed reviews online, but was largely met with meme-filled, desperate cries for reboots of their favourite BBC Three shows. 

Let’s take a look at some of BBC Three's most notable offerings.

Normal People

Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in 'Normal People'. (Credit: BBC)
Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in 'Normal People'. (Credit: BBC)

Leading the way as BBC iPlayer' most watched show of 2020 with 62.7 million views, the rollercoaster relationship between the main protagonists Marianne and Connell captured the world’s attention during the start of the first lockdown.

Based on the best-selling novel by Sally Rooney, Normal People tells the story of Irish teenagers Marianne, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Connell, played by Paul Mescal, navigating the trials and tribulations of young love, friendship and mental health.

Read more: Why is BBC Three making a U-turn?

It has recently been revealed that Rooney’s first book Conversations With Friends is due to be given the Normal People treatment by BBC Three as it too is set to be made into a 12-part series, directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

Fleabag

Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 'Fleabag'. (Credit: BBC)
Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 'Fleabag'. (Credit: BBC)

A BBC Three round up would not be complete without including this multi-award winning, Phoebe Waller-Bridge masterpiece. Originally adapted from the award-winning play, this comedy series follows Waller-Bridge’s character Fleabag, as she tries to cope with life in London whilst trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy. One of the show’s USP’s is Waller-Bridge’s decision to ‘break the fourth wall’ and talk directly to the viewer, unnoticed by fellow cast members including Olivia Coleman, Sian Clifford and of course Andrew Scott as the priest. Still not over it.

Although BBC Three has announced the 2022 reboot, sadly Fleabag fans will not be seeing a new series, as Waller-Bridge announced that the second series would be its last.

Torchwood

'Torchwood' was conceived as a more mature, adult-orientated spin-off of 'Doctor Who', featuring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. (Credit: BBC)
'Torchwood' was conceived as a more mature, adult-orientated spin-off of 'Doctor Who', featuring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. (Credit: BBC)

Torchwood fans assembled in their masses on Twitter yesterday, campaigning for a long-awaited fifth series of the Doctor Who spin-off show, following the BBC's announcement. 

Read more: Russell T Davies believes only gay actors should play gay characters

The sci-fi show, created by Russell T Davies, which aired on BBC Three from 2006 until 2011, was one of BBC Three's most watched programmes after the 2012 Olympics and Eastenders Live. Torchwood followed Captain Jack Harness (John Barrowman) and his Cardiff-based team of alien hunters as they protected the Earth from extraterrestrial threats.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul's Drag Race UK series 2: Picture Shows:  Graham Norton, RuPaul, Michelle Visage - (World of Wonder/Guy Levy)
RuPaul's Drag Race UK series 2: Picture Shows: Graham Norton, RuPaul, Michelle Visage - (World of Wonder/Guy Levy)

No it’s not just you, UK Hun will probably be stuck in the nation's heads forever too. Following its astronomical success in the U.S., RuPaul’s Drag Race UK first aired online on BBC iPlayer for BBC Three on 3 October 2019. 

RuPaul is joined by judges Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and Alan Carr as well as special guest judges each week, including the likes of Jessie Ware, Maya Jama and Dawn French, ten of the most glamorous and charismatic drag queens battle it out to be crowned queen. 

The show spares no drama, as we see candidates compete in a series of challenges including the Snatch Game, Lip-Sync Battles and of course the infamous Ruruvision. With the third season release date announced for late 2021, it looks likely that BBC iPlayer will still be the destination for our 7pm, Thursday night viewing parties.

People Just Do Nothing

People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan (Credit: BBC Films)
People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan (Credit: BBC Films)

This mockumentary follows West London pirate radio station Kurupt FM and it's eccentric staff, including Allan Mustafa, Asim Chaudhry, and Hugo Chegwin as they show us what it takes to run an illegal business. 

The station is led by self-proclaimed garage legend MC Grindah, (Mustafa) and his right-hand man DJ Beats (Chegwin), who is the 'best DJ in the West London area'. Viewers follow the Kurupt crew trying to chase their dreams, which they quickly realise, unfortunately is a full-time job.

This Country

Kerry (DAISY MAY COOPER), Kurtan (CHARLIE COOPER) - in This Country. (BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes)
Kerry (DAISY MAY COOPER), Kurtan (CHARLIE COOPER) - in This Country. (BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes)

Real-life brother and sister duo Daisy May and Charlie Cooper play cousins, Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe as they narrate their day-to-day lives, in a small village in the Cotswolds. This BAFTA-winning British mockumentary sitcom, written by the Coopers, first aired on BBC Three on 8 February, 2017. 

Read more: Daisy May Cooper's wedding day tribute to This Country star who died of cancer

The third and sadly, final series that aired in March last year, began with a devastating episode, accounting for the real-life death from heart failure at the age of 33 of the Coopers’ friend Michael Sleggs, who played the Mucklowe’s friend Slugs.

The Mighty Boosh

The Mighty Boosh, Comedians Noel Fielding & Julian Barratt photographed in London in 2005 (Photo by Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images)
The Mighty Boosh, Comedians Noel Fielding & Julian Barratt photographed in London in 2005 (Photo by Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images)

Known for being one of BBC Three's earliest successes, The Mighty Boosh saw writers Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt in the roles of zookeepers Vince Noir and Howard Moon.  

Alongside pals Naboo the shaman, played by Fielding's younger brother Michael and Bollo the talking ape, played by Dave Brown, the 'Mighty Boosh' travelled the highways and byways in a van in search of surreal adventures. To devoted fans of the show, it felt like a secret club, a show that could bond you with like-minded people who loved this odd-ball comedy comfort blanket.

Gavin & Stacey

The Gavin and Stacey 2008 special brought Christmas to Billericay. (BBC)
The Gavin and Stacey 2008 special brought Christmas to Billericay. (BBC)

And finally, despite gaining a staggering 11.6 million views on BBC One on Christmas Day in 2019 (almost double The Queens Christmas Broadcast) it was on BBC Three that the nation’s favourite Welsh/Essex family first graced our screens back in 2007. 

Over the 12 years that this show has spanned, we have watched as Gavin and Smithy, played by Mathew Horne and James Corden's friendship has been challenged, with Gavin moving to Barry Island to be with Stacey, played by Joanna Page, as they adapt to married life together, whilst the tumultuous relationship between Smithy and Nessa, played by Ruth Jones, still leaves us asking now, whether Smithy will accept THAT marriage proposal? And will we ever find out what really happened on Bryn and Jason's fishing trip? With constant speculation around whether we will be getting more from writers Jones and Corden, it is unclear whether BBC Three will be home to another long-awaited episode?

One show that will definitely not be featuring as part of the BBC Three reboot, is Little Britain, after it was announced in June 2020, that it was being removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox. 

This came after objections resurfaced to some of the sketch show's characters where writers, David Walliams and Matt Lucas portrayed characters from different minority ethnic backgrounds.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting