BBC Three will return as a broadcast channel, the corporation has announced.

The TV channel ceased operations in 2016 and was replaced by an online-only version available via the iPlayer.

But BBC Three, which targets audiences aged 16-34, will be returning to TV screens in January next year.

Along with the return of the channel, the BBC will aim for at least two-thirds of the expanded programme spend to be outside of London and across the UK.

The channel will broadcast from 7pm to 4am each day – the same hours as when it closed in 2016, as a result, CBBC’s broadcast hours will revert to closing at 7pm.

Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer says: “BBC Three is a BBC success story, backing creativity, new talent and brave ideas has resulted in hit after hit, from Fleabag and Man Like Mobeen, Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and Jesy Nelson’s Odd One Out, to Normal People and This Country.

"The BBC needs to back success and make sure its programmes reach as many young people as possible wherever they live in the UK. So regardless of the debates about the past, we want to give BBC Three its own broadcast channel again.

“It has exciting, groundbreaking content that deserves the widest possible audience and using BBC iPlayer alongside a broadcast channel will deliver the most value.”

The BBC has said the return of BBC Three will deliver greater public value by further increasing the diversity and creativity of our output and build on the strengths of BBC Three’s online performance.

The BBC added: “BBC Three has a strong heritage in breaking and supporting new British talent and this will create a bigger platform to launch and celebrate them.

“It will provide us with a new shop window to reach a younger audience currently underserved by the BBC, bringing them the best BBC young programming and talent across all genres.”