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What happened to BBC3's most iconic shows from Snog Marry Avoid to The Baby Borrowers

Thankfully, BBC Three is back after the channel went MIA in its six years of being online. The channel relaunched to linear television on 1 February 2022 and Ever since OG fans have been reminiscing on the classic weekday evening line-up. Which often featured shows such as People Just Do Nothing, Family Guy, and The Baby Borrowers. 

BBC Three certainly had its classics, but there were also the ones that were memorable for other reasons. Let’s look at the impressive resume of programming it has generated over its 13-year existence.

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Snog Marry Avoid

Snog Marry Avoid had a successful six-season run, and was certainly one of the first ‘make-under’ shows to hit screens. Encouraging people to embrace their ‘natural beauty’ it would often have makeup gurus, fake tan lovers, goths or piercing addicts transformed into a blank canvas. POD was where they came to achieve their new look, and the POD voiceover became iconic for some of her catty jokes. However, it’s now been eight years since Snog Marry Avoid finished, with POD and the team ending the show for good in 2013 after going on tour.

Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents,

Possibly one of the most entertaining BBC Three shows out there as it followed teenagers on holiday abroad for the first time alone. Blissfully unaware that their parents were secretly watching their every move and had flown out to spy on them.

The first series aired in January 2011 and ran for a total of ten seasons until 2015. The main problem was that people became a lot more aware of the programme, making it harder for the teenagers to remain completely naive to the ordeal. This is partly due to the programme rising in popularity, by2012, the series was BBC Three’s most-watched unscripted show and most requested on BBC iPlayer. 

However, the show fixed this problem by moving on to spin-offs, including Snow, Sex and Suspicious Parents and Festivals,Sex & Suspicious Parents.

Baby Borrowers

The Baby Borrowers was a reality television series which followed five couples aged 16 and 19 who thought they were ready for parenthood. They are given a baby for three days, before swapping them for toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers. The most hilarious part is watching a 16-year-old put up a pram or changing a nappy. Reminiscent of the baby challenge on Love Island…just that this show involved a real-life baby.

There were also two spin-off shows; The Baby Borrowers: Compilation which showed the best moments from the previous week, and The Baby Borrowers: Friends and Family; asking what the teenage couple’s family and friends thought of them as parents and carers.

The series premiered on 8th January 2007 and was eventually cancelled. Along with the American version which was cancelled due to the local authority officials being concerned about the risk of physical and psychological damage to the children.

The same happened for the British reality series: “We were so worried about it that we asked the BBC to cancel the series, but they refused,” said council spokesman Mark Langlands.

However, the BBC reassured them that professional nannies were present throughout the making of the programme. Officials from the Teens and Toddlers charity were also onboard the production as consultants.

Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum

Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum is a reality series which follows a group of young adults who haven’t lifted a finger their whole lives. The series sees them living together in a house and fast-tracking to adult life. The participants compete against each other in work challenges set by their parents in hopes of making them more independent. Their parents then watched the footage back and decide who should be eliminated from the competition. At the end of the series, the winner receives a round-the-world trip for two people. The show ran from 19 July 2009 to 18 September 2011.

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Coming Of Age 

BBC Three sitcom Coming Of Age followed a group of sixth form students living in Abingdon as fans watched them experience all that comes with being a teen.

The cancellation of the show was a shock as Series 3 averaged a viewership of around 480,000, with repeats all amounting to more than 1 million along with high iPlayer ratings. However, the series did not return for season 4 because the new controller of BBC Three, Zai Bennett, felt that the series ‘did not fit in with his vision for the future of the channel’.

The Call Centre

This fly on the wall documentary followed Nev Wilshire, the CEO of the third-largest call centre in Swansea, and its employees. the most hilarious thing about the show was Nev firing people for not doing his pre-shift karaoke and his co-workers pulling faces behind his back. Not to forget the constant replays of The Killers’ Mr Brightside and his office arm-wrestling matches. Sadly Nev passed away in December 2021, in his early sixties. The show ran for 12 episodes, beginning in 2013 and concluding in 2014. In 2013, the call centre received a fine of £225,000 for breaching regulations on cold calling as they didn’t run their database past the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This allows phone users to stop marketing calls, to combat this, Wilshire set up an Indian call centre and created a 2016 spin-off show called Nev’s Indian Call Centre.

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.