BBC Three's £80m relaunch branded 'waste of money' over dire audience figures

THE £80million relaunch of BBC Three has been branded a flop and “complete waste of money” over dire audience figures.

 Many shows have attracted fewer than 50,000 viewers — and only one in a week got more than 100,000.

The Fast and the Farmer-ish, where young farmers go head-to-head testing their favourite tractors, was watched by just 42,890.

Mood, about a singer trying to make a career, got 46,200.

The channel, which had been online-only for six years, was relaunched in ­February following the ­success of shows including Normal People and Fleabag. 

BBC bosses hoped to lure younger viewers away from Netflix and YouTube. But that is yet to happen.

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Conservative MP Nigel Mills said: “This is typical BBC — throwing public money around on projects with little planning or worry about the consequences. 

“It needs to urgently rethink this. It’s a complete waste of money.”

The BBC doubled the budget of the channel at a time when others are being cut — and BBC Four has been turned into an “archive” channel. It also comes after the free licence fee for over-75s has been axed. 

Early figures for BBC Three were boosted by screening the Winter Olympics and Africa Cup of Nations football.

Since then, apart from RuPaul’s Drag Race, no show has managed to capture viewers in large numbers.

Figures from audience researchers BARB record only the top 15 shows — meaning most are not even published.

A BBC spokesman said: “We don’t judge a show on a single overnight rating as it doesn’t reflect real programme viewing as there is often more than one opportunity to watch on both broadcast and online.”

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