When it arrived on our screens in 2002, Spooks was truly revolutionary. British telly had mastered the cerebral spy thriller – most notably with the BBC’s revered adaptation of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Alec Guinness as master spy George Smiley – but Spooks was different.
Not everyone was happy with the Royal Television Society crowning BBC Three Channel of the Year. As one young viewer tweeted: “@bbcthree how can you win channel of the year, if you don’t actually exist on a channel?”
The success of online-only, schedule-free BBC Three shows that our idea of what constitutes a channel is evolving.
This year has been BBC iPlayer's best year so far according to stats from the BBC, recording the amounts of requests shows have had on the online platform.
October and November saw the highest average number of daily requests BBC iPlayer has ever had, at 11.7 million in each month.
BBC Three had a good year on BBC iPlayer, with drama Thirteen’s first episode requested more than 3.2 million times, the second most popular episode of any series across the year so far. These are promising figures, considering BBC Three made the transition to online in February.
Comedian Hugh Dennis aired the thoughts of many trying to navigate the new television landscape when he introduced this session. In a video diary shown to conference delegates, he was seen stuck inside a room for a month. His task was to watch all the content available to modern audiences.
“Watching telly used to be so easy,” he complained. “Four channels, maybe five – everyone watched the same thing in the same place at the same time, unless your family was at the cutting edge of technology and had a VCR.”
In the UK we have the TV licence which pays for the creation of the content of the BBC. It is this licence that means that you can watch ad-free programming on the BBC.
Jumping on the binge-watching trend, the broadcaster will make the costume drama available as a box set on Friday, two weeks before its premiere on linear television.
The BBC previously released the smash hit comedy Peter Kay's Car Share on iPlayer ahead of its terrestrial transmission, but this is the first time it has done this with a drama.
Carol Thompson, 26, spends her day battling to get the attention of a classroom of small children. She gets up at 6:15am, runs to work, starts preparing for meetings and adds her finishing touches to lesson plans. At 9:00pm she relaxes on the sofa. Watching the news is the last thing on her mind.
“I generally watch television that I have recorded, rather than watching anything live or simply watching things because they happen to be on,” explains Thompson, whose viewing choices tend towards All 4, iPlayer, ITV Hub and Sky Go.
The popular comedy is written by and stars Sian Gibson and Peter Kay as supermarket employees John and Kayleigh who found themselves thrown together as part of the company car share scheme.
Originally launching on BBC iPlayer in 2015, the series was a huge success, becoming the most watched new sitcom since 2011. It also won Best Scripted Comedy at the BAFTA Television Awards, while Peter Kay took home an award for Best Male Performance in a Comedy.
Catch these gems before they disappear.
Grace and Frankie
The slick, silver-haired comedy from Friends creator Martha Kauffman is back for a second season.
Straight-laced Grace and free spirit Frankie are both happily married women when their husbands, Robert and Sol, announce that they are leaving them – for each other.
Reid is part of the main Top Gear line up, and is the only presenter to have been found through the show's open auditions.
Filmed at the Top Gear hangar, Extra Gear will deliver behind-the-scenes access, exclusive footage, interviews and specially recorded films to fans of the show.
The show will be available on BBC Three’s live page and on iPlayer immediately after Top Gear finishes on BBC Two.