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BBC Cuts hit Dr Who on it's 50th Birthday.


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Old 02-02-2013, 13:30
rwebster
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Surely eight episodes in the spring, one in November, and one at Christmas will be plenty for one calendar year?

Just because we had 14 episodes in 2005, it doesn't mean WE. MUST. HAVE. 14. EPISODES. EVERY. YEAR. OR. WE. WILL. SULK. LIKE. TODDLERS.

Does it?
No, but then nobody's said that. I think the reason people are peeved is because if we were going to have less than fourteen episodes a year they could at least have mentioned it. Which I basically get.

When the gap year hit in 2009, we were ready for it, we understood the behind-the-scenes reasons for it, we knew about the full year that was following, and while not everyone liked it, the future of the show was secure and it was basically accepted. This time, though, we've had a while where all we've been told was something along the lines of, "You're not getting a reduced number of episodes - in fact, the opposite will happen."

It's 2013, and the tories are in power. People don't expect the BBC to leave the taps running all the time. Things come up, doors close, and making money appear is far easier said than done. It's fine if the intense production cycle's making things difficult. What's harder to swallow is all the spin and contradictions - no official word, no sources. The vibe isn't, "Where's my Doctor Who, I deserve it on a platter." It's more along the lines of, "I'm clever, and I'm listening. Now don't patronise me, 'cause people have died and I'm not happy," to quote Sally Sparrow!

Nobody's died, although series seven admittedly looks increasingly like it might be series eight in a wig, but the gist's there. I think it's an understandable thing to get antsy about, and it comes from a loving place. If we're not getting the usual two series in 2012 and 2013, it'd be nice to know why, and it'd be nice to know where "More Doctor Who than ever before" came from, too.

That said, Steven Moffat has sort of gone on the record about the production delays. We know exactly why S7P1 didn't broadcast 'til September, and that's because he needed a break. Burnt out! Said as much in Doctor Who Magazine - so it's possible that, in the fullness of time, we'll see that this is our recommended yearly allowance of Who, just on a bit of a time-delay so the showrunner doesn't die. That this has kind of been lost in the sea of "More Doctor Who than ever before" isn't exactly a PR triumph, but it does raise the question of when exactly they realised they weren't going to do two series in two years. For all we know, an increased run might've been the plan when they said it, and things that have happened since have painted them into a PR corner.

See how complicated this is?! I've got sympathy for the production team, but I've got sympathy for any disgruntled fans as well. Whatever's going on with series seven, it seems more complicated than anyone wanted it to be.
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Old 02-02-2013, 13:48
Corwin
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Totally. Which is why we had the 2009 Year of Specials because of various Tennant/RTD desires. Not my favourite thing in the world (I love more Who!) but there we go
The 2009 Gap year wasn't down to any desires from Tennant it was a compromise between RTD (who wanted to leave after Series 4) and the BBC (who didn't want him to leave after series 4).


Tennant just took advantage of it to do Theatre work.
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:03
nebogipfel
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It does start to look as though a few things have happened resulting in the shifting / reduction etc. (if Private Eye to be believed then budget overspends and production mismanagement initially followed by - for series six and seven - Moffat burnout and/or writers block. )

If the future is one of six or eight episodes a year, or fourteen every 18 months or some other permutations of "fewer than fourteen every twelve months" then it is. If the reason (or result) is the quality of what we do get then that's fine. Better to have that over a US style production line of lots of bland episodes, if that's the choice.

The main thing that has made people CRY. LIKE. TODDLERS in upper case and lots of full stops is the difference between what BBC representatives have said about last year and this, and what appears to be actually happening.

But Moffat appears to be making it clear now. Sit back, forget about the anniversary and enjoy 7b (if its as good as 7a that'll be easy), then wait for the fun of anniversary doodads in the latter half of the year. Probably Novembercentric.
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:29
StargateNerd_24
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Have BBC specifically cut the DW budget or just the entertainment budget as whole so DW has taken a hit like other shows?
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Old 02-02-2013, 14:56
nebogipfel
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I don't think the drama budget was cut. I'm not sure I've heard anything about the budget for Doctor Who being cut. What I heard was that overspending in 2010 has caused them to recover that overspending by making fewer episodes across 2012 and 2013. There also appear to be suggestions that Moffat has been delivering scripts very late in the day and that generally the 14 a year thing is proving hard to maintain.

Whether the one-off historical things such as the 2010 situation will continue to have an effect on the number per year in 2014 and beyond remains to be seen.

Please note that everything I have said has been from reports in the press or by readng between the lines of things we know or BBC people have said. I don't know the full truth of any of it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 15:24
DiscoP
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I don't think the drama budget was cut. I'm not sure I've heard anything about the budget for Doctor Who being cut. What I heard was that overspending in 2010 has caused them to recover that overspending by making fewer episodes across 2012 and 2013. There also appear to be suggestions that Moffat has been delivering scripts very late in the day and that generally the 14 a year thing is proving hard to maintain.

Whether the one-off historical things such as the 2010 situation will continue to have an effect on the number per year in 2014 and beyond remains to be seen.

Please note that everything I have said has been from reports in the press or by readng between the lines of things we know or BBC people have said. I don't know the full truth of any of it.
Were there ever any reasons given for the overspend? The more recent episodes certainly don't look any cheaper than those from previous seasons. Maybe it is that they were still trying to make a HD series on a budget for a non HD series?
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Old 02-02-2013, 16:12
Sara_Peplow
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Hope we find out soon what is going on. They need to announce what is happening after the 50th. Best case would be a christmas special and a full 13 episode series for 2014.
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Old 02-02-2013, 17:16
nebogipfel
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Were there ever any reasons given for the overspend? The more recent episodes certainly don't look any cheaper than those from previous seasons. Maybe it is that they were still trying to make a HD series on a budget for a non HD series?
As I recall Private Eye didn't say anything specific, but their source blamed Piers Wenger for generally not controlling things. Wenger has since left the BBC. Their source may have been wrong or biased. A forum member, who doesn't post these days, said they worked for the BBC and said these things about poor management were all open secrets. That person may have been wrong.
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Old 02-02-2013, 23:38
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Ah but the BBC is about a breadth of television not just high rating and profit making.

I think there's more than enough Dr Who stuff around with spin offs, games etc.

We are talking about one single show, a cult one but still not that important
Are not the spin-offs dead? (Torchwood is not in production and, most unfortunately, Sarah Jane was called home.)
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Old 03-02-2013, 00:07
tvmad-alan
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As the OP that started this thread, I would like to put that I did not know of the Private Eye writing about the Dr Who cut backs in 50 th year.

And the press about him staying until 2014, what a easy years contact one show wow I would love that wage....I would say it brings back the act where DT wanted more wages per show and BBC came up with four show season to please him and hope to keep him....


As for my talk about US TV seasons of 24 for some shows, is point out that long runs do not cost any more then a short season, as the contacts for crews and actors would be cheaper as they have work for longer in a year and would not have to look for other work, that must hold and does hold up UK seasons which for hits shows must add costs to our BBC all the time.

Look at the Dr Who spin off show " Tourchwood" which was given a fair run in the 1st season and was great hit for BBC Three as it could be more adult and BBC allowed it.. but as the BBC did not act fast in booking more shows quickly and BBC also having fight with BBC One wishing to have a hit show on it's screens, writing was messed around as he was also writing Dr Who, and CBBC Dr Who spin off too and it ended with a mess with short season runs and change to show times and channels.... and actors and crews not able to work on the show when needed... and then came the big spending of BBC World Wide that wish to add it to BBC America and pushed for it to be made in the US, Like Dr Who was made to do also.....This all added cost to both shows and killed off the spin off .....SAD....

Cost at the BBC could so easy be done , by cutting the management that you never know what they do for 1/2 Million wages and no one can ever change my mind to such high wages, when shows are cut and repeats goes up, even when Lord Patten say they need to pay world prices for such a job..... I and millions would do a much better job at 75% the price easy...LOL

The price of any show must come from the contacting and how long people are working in a year, so longer runs must be cheaper for any TV companycutting for cuttting that inside Tory Patten and outside Tories that have never liked the Idea of the BBC being allowed such public freedom.

I would cut back costs by cutting soap costs by axing number shows per week and cut BBC One show " The One Show" whrepeatsull of reapeats parts and is only there as advert for someones DVD, Book, Show etc....

I feel that the people the book making of shows do not understand that people like shows to be longer in season to get a better feeling of a shows actors and writings and have it same time each week and to see new shows given two seasons to see if the public like the show and would save money doing that too.

Look at a show like BBC Two/ BBC HD "Stargazing" which had Internet pages for the show pushing the public to have events held by groups for week of the three live shows, the show did manger to get millions to watch and it had 100's of thousands of photos on message broads and chatting filled sites, yet show was just booked for three nights even with it being hit last year and yet no plains to do other shows this year or next ... WHY?

Look at shows like " Not going out" that was acted well and the writing was great, yet the BBC axed it and now under pressure brings it back, yet the BBC has mess with number shows and when it has been shown ....


NOW back to Dr Who I feel that BBC is not acting as public broadcaster at all in giving shows that public like and public should have at the cost that BBC gets each year and to try and say to the public that shows filmed in 2012 season is 2013 season is just showing what the bosses really feel about the public....

One off show does not make a season and I bet it will not be a 2 hour show as it should be for 50th years of such good show....

SAD MAD BBC you are not filling the public need.....
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:05
mossy2103
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Look at the Dr Who spin off show " Tourchwood" which was given a fair run in the 1st season and was great hit for BBC Three as it could be more adult and BBC allowed it.. but as the BBC did not act fast in booking more shows quickly and BBC also having fight with BBC One wishing to have a hit show on it's screens, writing was messed around as he was also writing Dr Who, and CBBC Dr Who spin off too and it ended with a mess with short season runs and change to show times and channels.... and actors and crews not able to work on the show when needed... and then came the big spending of BBC World Wide that wish to add it to BBC America and pushed for it to be made in the US, Like Dr Who was made to do also.....This all added cost to both shows and killed off the spin off .....SAD....
That is just rubbish.

TW series 1 was a bit of a mess, patchy writing and some bad reviews. S2, moved to BBC Two, improved and received better viewing figures and reviews.

But it really took off when it moved to BBC one and a prime slot of 9pm stripped across the week (showing the BBC's faith in it), with Children of Earth.

Not only were the scripts far far better, and without the ridiculous and out of place "look, we can use adult swear words and sex scenes", the ratings were far higher and the programme received overall critical acclaim. Most TW fans would place CoE as the best TW ever.

For TW series 4, RTD wanted a bigger budget and bigger stunts and effects for a more cinematic feel, the sort of budget that only a US co-production could provide. hence the link with Starz (the budget was three times the size of the UK-produced series).

Cost at the BBC could so easy be done , by cutting the management
In case you had not realised, that is indeed what is happening.

I would cut back costs by cutting soap costs by axing number shows per week and cut BBC One show " The One Show" whrepeatsull of reapeats parts and is only there as advert for someones DVD, Book, Show etc....
So you cut back a relatively cheap soap that brings in 7 - 8 million viewers and replace it with what?

And you axe The One Show, a cheap programme that regularly brings in 4 million viewers or more, and replace it with what?
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Old 03-02-2013, 15:07
nebogipfel
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The One Show is actually good quality and is the sort of show they should be doing. I know it has some celebrity tosh on it, but it also has genuinely useful consumer issues and news reporting and opera, classical music, history and science etc. All lighthearted but not pap. Not what everyone wants, but I would say money well spent.

As I've said before, whatever they are able to do for November is likely to be a lot of fun. It's not likely to amount to the quantity some had been led to expect but hopefully the announcements will be more precise soon.

And, of course, I'm going to be happy to eat humble pie if it turns out I've been believing the wrong things all this time.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:37
smiddlehurst
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As the OP that started this thread, I would like to put that I did not know of the Private Eye writing about the Dr Who cut backs in 50 th year.

And the press about him staying until 2014, what a easy years contact one show wow I would love that wage....I would say it brings back the act where DT wanted more wages per show and BBC came up with four show season to please him and hope to keep him....

As for my talk about US TV seasons of 24 for some shows, is point out that long runs do not cost any more then a short season, as the contacts for crews and actors would be cheaper as they have work for longer in a year and would not have to look for other work, that must hold and does hold up UK seasons which for hits shows must add costs to our BBC all the time.
*sigh*

The specials were, effectively, a way of passing the torch from one production team to the next and Tennant was actually offered (and at one point accepted during the week of "The Great Wobble") Series 5! As for US TV, it's a totally different world for a genre show like, say, Star Trek where they can do 24 episodes by running multiple crews and shooting... I want to say it worked out at an episode a week with a week either side to shoot second unit stuff but that's from material I read over a decade ago. And of COURSE longer runs work out more expensive, you have double the effects work, double the guest cast, double the scoring work and editing and... well you get the idea. Actually it's worse than that as Who does so much of its shooting these days on location and that really does do a number on the ol' budget.

Let's face it there's really only one standing set for Who and that's the TARDIS control room which is used for... what, a maximum of 5 minutes a show? Usually much less than that? Who as it is today is more akin to a feature film than a TV show in terms of the prep time it takes and the scope of production. As for the actors, yes actors in American TV series work long hours but they also get episodes off. Watch ST:TNG and look at how often major characters are away at Starfleet, on a different mission or trapped in a transporter for the bulk of the episode. Who, by and large, doesn't have that luxury and actively has to work around it with the Doctor and Companion 'lite' episodes not necessarily to give time off but to let them shoot other episodes.

As for Who being cut... good lord I'm getting tired of this nonsense. It's a huge earner for the BBC both in the UK and internationally, a ratings success and usually takes up at least one nomination slot at most major award shows. For gods sake, they have a full time attraction down in Cardiff scheduled to run until at least 2017 (well, they're committed to the building at least) and the official Cardiff web site has "The home of Doctor Who" at the very top of its list of attractions. The show is in rude health yet some seem determined to shove it into a coffin and bury it!

Oh yes, and this stuff about not getting as much Who... let's do some checking on that. Series 7 started broadcast on the 1st of September 2012. By the time the anniversary rolls around on November 23rd 2013, and based on current info, we'll have seen 13 regular episodes, 1 Christmas special, 1 anniversary special, 1 documentary and Pond Life. Where's the drop off?
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Old 03-02-2013, 23:02
nebogipfel
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....
Oh yes, and this stuff about not getting as much Who... let's do some checking on that. Series 7 started broadcast on the 1st of September 2012. By the time the anniversary rolls around on November 23rd 2013, and based on current info, we'll have seen 13 regular episodes, 1 Christmas special, 1 anniversary special, 1 documentary and Pond Life. Where's the drop off?
2012 and 2013 currently appears to be fifteen episodes spread across those two calendar years. That would appear to be fewer than the twenty eight shown across 2010 and 2011.

Or, in the words of the controller of BBC One in 2011 "there won't be a full run next year".

Why Danny Cohen could be so clear, open, honest and direct about there being a drop off in quantity of episodes all that time ago and yet still we get posts full of the most peculiar maths, I don't know.

I agreed with the rest of your post. We've no right to expect fourteen a year. But it does seem a bit daft to pretend that we have got at least fourteen a year when even the bloke in charge of the channel has told us we haven't.
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Old 03-02-2013, 23:48
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I've just been thinking. It may be almost 50 years since the very first Doctor Who story 'An Unearthly Child' back in 1963, but in reality Doctor Who isn't 50 years old as we haven't had new series and stories every year up to now.

As you all know, the programme was shown for 26 years between 1963-1989, then in 1996, which makes it 27. Then for 8 years between 2005 and 2012 with three specials in 2009. That makes 35. So it has only been shown on/off for 35 years so far. I don't count the many new stories that have been done for Paul McGann's Dr either. They are classed as audio, and not transmitted on BBC1.

It would be great if Paul came back as the Dr for the special planned for November, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. He has done so many audios as the Dr that going back to his TV role would be confusing for a lot of fans. His Dr would have to explain about what he's done in his time, and about what companions he's had.

I wouldn't mind in the slightest if Tom, Peter, Colin, Sylvester and David appeared though. Chris has still got some reservations about reprising the role, unfortunately, as he began to realise halfway through filming the 2005 series, that he didn't think the role was right for his personality and acting abillities. Also he didn't want to be typecast.

So to please Russell T. Davies, as he is a fan of the Writer's TV work, he decided to stay until the last episode of 2005. I did read in the book 'Back to the Vortex: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2005' by J Shaun Lyon that they didn't know at first when to have the regeneration. Either at the end of the 2005 series or at the beginning of the Christmas special. Obviously, it was decided to have it in 'The Parting of the Ways' and not 'Christmas Invasion'.

If Chris did come back, to make it work, his Dr would have to explain more about the Time War, possibly having a flashback scene, and how Paul's Dr became him with possible newly filmed footage of a regeneration. It would be confusing for fans otherwise.

It was a bit confusing, and dissapointing for fans when Doctor Who came back in 2005, as we didn't get a regeneration between Paul and Chris. Chris's Doctor never explained fully about how his incarnation appeared. He only said that there had been a war between the Daleks and his own people, and that the Time Lords and Gallifrey were gone, taking the Daleks with them. Nothing more.
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Old 04-02-2013, 00:28
tiggerpooh
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I remember David's Dr mentioning to Martha about Gallifrey and the Time War at the end of 'Gridlock', but not a lot more was mentioned that Chris's Dr has said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz_1HQY32LA

If you go to 1m:36secs, you will see him explaining to Martha.
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Old 04-02-2013, 00:55
saladfingers81
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I've just been thinking. It may be almost 50 years since the very first Doctor Who story 'An Unearthly Child' back in 1963, but in reality Doctor Who isn't 50 years old as we haven't had new series and stories every year up to now.

As you all know, the programme was shown for 26 years between 1963-1989, then in 1996, which makes it 27. Then for 8 years between 2005 and 2012 with three specials in 2009. That makes 35. So it has only been shown on/off for 35 years so far
eh? What are you talking about? It is still the fiftieth anniversary. It doesn't matter if DW was on every year in between. It is still fifty years old as a show.

I am afraid you don't understand the word anniversary.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:25
Dave-H
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eh? What are you talking about? It is still the fiftieth anniversary. It doesn't matter if DW was on every year in between. It is still fifty years old as a show.
I am afraid you don't understand the word anniversary.
More to the point, Doctor Who didn't cease to exist during the years that no new material appeared on TV.
It was kept very much alive in other mediums.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:48
Vabosity
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More to the point, Doctor Who didn't cease to exist during the years that no new material appeared on TV.
It was kept very much alive in other mediums.
This ^^

Many of the novels that were published during the nineties were imho as good as and often better than the TV series. It did annoy me a little, well more than a little, that RTD never acknowledged (and sometimes contradicted) the continuity established in the spin-off media, but then as the readers of and listeners to those spin-off stories numbered in the their thousands and RTD was reviving a TV show to be watched by millions, why should he?
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Old 04-02-2013, 14:24
DICKENS99
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eh? What are you talking about? It is still the fiftieth anniversary. It doesn't matter if DW was on every year in between. It is still fifty years old as a show.

I am afraid you don't understand the word anniversary.
Indeed, after all it's only last year that we were celebrating Charles Dickens 200th Anniversay and he's been dead for the last 142 of those years, and with little to no chance of a comeback (I always like to include some wriggle room, stranger things have happened).
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:01
The Gatherer
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Indeed, after all it's only last year that we were celebrating Charles Dickens 200th Anniversay and he's been dead for the last 142 of those years, and with little to no chance of a comeback (I always like to include some wriggle room, stranger things have happened).
What are you talking about? He has been in The Unquiet Dead and The Wedding of River Song in the past 10 years so he's still very much alive.
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Old 04-02-2013, 16:06
DICKENS99
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What are you talking about? He has been in The Unquiet Dead and The Wedding of River Song in the past 10 years so he's still very much alive.
Well there's that wriggle room for you then
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Old 04-02-2013, 20:31
kyllerbuzcut
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That's 2 episodes in the previous decade up until 2011 for Dickens, yet none since.
I think we're now getting conned into getting less Dickens on TV
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Old 04-02-2013, 21:45
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Here's my take on it.

Let's be clear - I have NO problem with Steven Moffat as a showrunner. I love a lot of his episodes and he's reinvented and restylised the show to a much braver and much more successful extent than I ever thought, and I've never been prouder to be a DW fan than after The Eleventh Hour finished, when it became apparent just how clear and workable a vision he had for Doctor Who.

Then Sherlock kicked off, and (IMO) it is just as excellent and just as expertly written. If there's one thing that we know for sure, it's that Sherlock has started to diminish the prominence of DW in Moffat's mind. He admitted in 2011's Christmas Radio Times that he'd been so consumed by Sherlock that he'd found it very, very hard to think of anything for Doctor Who's 2011 Christmas Special, which wound up as The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe and was poorly received by fans.

Following that, we've now - let's be completely honest about it - had one series instead of two throughout 2012/13. In terms of actual production, that's what it comes down to. No matter whether you think they're two small series, whether it's just a shift in scheduling, the simple fact is that we have 14 episodes instead of 28 which has been officially marketed as one series. This is in no small part due to SM's commitments to Sherlock and other projects, and SM has admitted recently that it's hell running both shows. We've also heard rumours that SM's delivering scripts within a squeak of the deadline due to overwork, and so that's why we had to wait until last September for these 14 episodes to get going.

Now, this has got quite a lot of us (understandably) concerned for the future of the show, as it isn't coming across as the flagship show it did back in the RTD years, or even in the early Moffat days. The gap between The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe and Asylum of the Daleks was just far too long, inexcusably so, and it seems to have done permanent damage to overnight ratings and overall exposure of DW.

So I suggest, with a heavy heart, that SM needs to choose one or the other - I haven't even mentioned the fact that on the other side of this, Sherlock is currently undergoing an almost 2-year break partly due to the same problems. And Doctor Who is now taking so many extended breaks from the airwaves that the brand is fading somewhat and has to stabilise fairly soon to avoid terminal decline. There are two ways this stabilisation of the show will happen:

1) Steven Moffat concentrates almost entirely on Doctor Who and lets Sherlock go
2) Doctor Who gets a new showrunner, as Steven Moffat leaves to concentrate on Sherlock and others

That's what has to happen, and I'm not sure which one, if I'm honest. But in my heart of hearts I think this is the real issue - there's obviously a lot of problems at the BBC, but what we need more than anything else is someone who can devote all of their energy to keeping Doctor Who going through a sticky period, not just half of it.

And for god's sake, USE the 50th anniversary - it's an open goal to get the show back on track!
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Old 04-02-2013, 22:20
kyllerbuzcut
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That's very well put Linus.
And your conclusion is probably right too, but is it likely to happen?
I've been liking the last couple of series, but I think you are right, that it would be better to have someone who does that job and no other jobs, Maybe Moffat will pass Sherlock on to someone else. I think I;d rather that option.
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