British stars Russell Tovey, Matt Lucas and Jack Whitehall have all backed an online campaign against the planned closure of one of the Bbc's digital channels.

The broadcaster's General Director Tony Hall has confirmed Bbc Three, which focuses on youth and comedy content, will be taken off air and moved to the Bbc's online platform, saving as much as $88 million (£55 million).

The announcement has infuriated fans and performers alike, and now stars who have links to the channel have called on followers to sign a petition urging Bbc bosses to rethink the decision.

Lucas, whose hit comedy Little Britain first aired on Bbc Three, has tweeted, "Hearing horrible rumours about the possible closure of Bbc3. This would be really bad for new comedy. Like, really bad. Save Bbc3."

Tovey, whose shows Being Human and Him & Her also began on the network, writes, "Dear @bbcthree I have your back #Bbc3 #SaveBbc3."

Comedian Whitehall posted a link to the petition, which had amassed almost 60,000 signatures by Thursday (06Mar14), adding, "Here's a link to a petition you can sign if you don't want Bbc3 to be axed."