Zai Bennett is set to leave his position as Boss Level Baddie on BBC Three for a new job as head of Sky Atlantic.
Bennett put his stamp on TV when he was appointed the chief of the digital channel in 2011 – and one of his first acts, cancelling the hugely successful show, Doctor Who Confidential, caused massive waves. Namely, Points of View forced him in front of a bright lamp and interrogated him about his appointment, and naturally, he had to defend his decision to cancel BBC3’s most popular programme.
There wasn’t really an excuse. Except this, at the Edinburgh International Television Festival:
“Doctor Who Confidential had run for six series… It was a show about a show. There wasn’t much more to say about how they make Doctor Who. We are pulling back from pre-watershed TV because of BBC cuts – I’ve got to make every pound count. I don’t want to make loads of extension shows, a la ITV2.”
I think this is entirely missing the point. Quite aside from the fact that Doctor Who does something new every week, the magnificent crew always found something interesting to show us. Each episode was special.
It was recently announced that BBC Three will go solely online from next year, naturally coupled with budget cuts. This’ll probably mean we won’t get endless Family Guy episodes. Some have speculated that it won’t be around at all for much longer. So what will this mean for Sky Atlantic, the UK’s version of HBO? Hmmm… I’ll leave you Kasterborites to mull that one over.
Many have also said that it’s a bad sign of how the BBC treats youngsters – and I have to disagree with that too. I’m generally considered a youngster, and the worst sign of how the BBC treated youngsters… was BBC Three. I found it patronising and tarred us all with the same brush. Confidential was one of the only intelligent shows on the channel (I did also enjoy The Revolution Will Be Televised). And furthermore, if the Beeb want to attract young’uns, this fangled Internet is a perfect place for BBC3 to lie its weary head.
This might sound harsh on Mr. Bennett. But, as someone who wants to work in the TV industry, Confidential taught me so much. And I feel very bitter that it was taken away from us.
Bennett, who previously worked for ITV, moves from BBC Three to Sky Atlantic this summer.