Campaigners delivered the petition in person yesterday to the BBC’s governing body on the final day of the public consultation into the plans to move the linear channel online.
A small rally was held outside Broadcasting House, joined by Labour MP John McDonnell, who tabled a motion in parliament last year opposing the closure of the broadcast channel.
Campaigner Jono Read, who set up the online petition to save BBC Three, said “we presented three boxes full of signatures. The Trust say they are listening and will report back in the coming months on their findings.”
He added: “It’s been a fantastic day and I want to thank everyone who supported us. You’re all ace!”
The BBC announced plans to “reinvent” BBC Three as an online-only channel last year. In detailed proposals published in December, the corporation said the move would generate savings of £50 million and allow the corporation to experiment with new content.
At the time BBC Director-General Tony Hall described the plans as the “most exciting and ambitious proposals” since he has been at the BBC, though he admitted that “with the licence fee frozen, we’ve had to make difficult decisions.”
Last month, UK production companies Avalon and Hat Trick announced that they were attempting to take over BBC Three. However, BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh stressed that the network was “not for sale”, claiming that the new BBC Three will continue to make comedy, drama and documentary programmes and will also make digital content and short form video for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.
In a statement, Avalon said: “We believe that the closure of BBC3 as a linear channel and its migration to a much reduced version online is a huge mistake both for the BBC and for the licence payer. There is an alternative way.
“Avalon and Hat Trick wish to offer to pay the BBC fair value for BBC3. ‘BBC3’ in this context means the ongoing right to broadcast original and acquired programming currently offered under the brand name BBC3. If necessary we would operate the channel under a new brand name.”