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Hat Trick and Avalon bosses detail BBC3 bid plan

Hat Trick and Avalon bosses detail BBC3 bid plan
Staff Reporter
26 January 2015

Jon Thoday and Jimmy Mulville have insisted their proposal to buy BBC3 for £100m is no “PR stunt”.

The bosses of indie producers Avalon and Hat Trick had an audacious £100m offer to buy BBC3 rejected by BBC management last week.

The channel is set to go online only later this year in a BBC bid to save money.

In an interview in The Guardian
, Thoday and Mulville detailed their plans for the first time.  Mulville said: “Our bid is not an antagonistic move – it’s really not. It’s us trying to say to the BBC: ‘There is another way.’”

They argue that the channel has been crucial in launching new talent such as Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Ruth Jones and James Corden. And they argue that BBC3 must continue to exist as a TV channel – not just a website – if that pioneering history is to continue.

“There’s a reason why Netflix hired Kevin Spacey,” Thoday told The Guardian. “To make online work, you have to have massive stars. That is not a way to launch programmes with people you haven’t heard of.

The pair have hired a consultancy to value BBC3 on the basis of it being run as an ad-funded channel.

They argue that a £100m windfall for the BBC would be good value for the public, and that they have potential investors “queuing around the block” to get involved in the project.

The pair says BBC director of Television Danny Cohen has raised three key objections to the proposal: BBC3’s slot on the electronic programme guide, which the BBC wants for its new BBC1+1 channel; the risk of conflicting with BBC3’s new online offer; and third, complex contracts with programme suppliers.

They acknowledged the privatised channel could not use the BBC brand.

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