BBC Three will return to screens from Tuesday, February 1, it has been announced. 

The channel will be available to watch on Freeview, Sky, Virgin, Freesat and iPlayer from 7pm every night. 

The channel was taken off air in 2016 and moved online, sparking protests outside the BBC's Broadcasting House

More than 300,000 people signed a petition to save it on, but it ceased operations in 2016 and was replaced by an online-only version available on iPlayer.

The BBC confirmed the return of the popular TV channel in 2021.

Ofcom said the relaunch would help the BBC to reach younger audiences particularly those from lower-income homes and those living outside London and the South East.

It also stipulated that the BBC must ensure that at least “75% of hours broadcast each year must be original programmes”, as commissioned by the BBC for a UK viewing audience.

Controller of BBC Three Fiona Campbell said: "We know how popular sport is with younger audiences and it’s going to have a big part to play on BBC Three."

On launch night, the channel will air the the first-ever RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus ande host live football, with both semi-finals and the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) being shown for free.

"AFCON is set to be an incredibly exciting tournament with some of the best players in the World on show and its brilliant news that we will be showing the climax of the competition on free to air television," Campbell said.

The BBC is yet to announce what other programmes will be shown on the channel, but has said viewers "can expect a rich content mix of drama, comedy, entertainment, documentaries, news and sport".