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Do you trust the BBC to tell the truth about Doctor Who?


View Poll Results: Do you trust BBC statements on the production of Doctor Who?
I think the BBC always tells the truth about Doctor Who 5 5.88%
Most of the time, I think the BBC tells the truth about Doctor Who 30 35.29%
I am not sure whether the BBC tells the truth or not 19 22.35%
Most of the time, I don't believe BBC statements on Doctor Who 10 11.76%
I don't believe anything the BBC says about Doctor Who 21 24.71%
Voters: 85. You can't vote on this poll right now - are you signed in?

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Old 31-07-2013, 09:43
Mulett
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So, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. And this year rather than the standard 14 new episodes of Doctor Who, the BBC is only making two. Despite many public announcements of Who 'taking over TV', the BBC has (in my opinion) axed production of the 2013 season by the back door and replaced it with a single episode (the 50th anniversary special).

In June 2011, Private Eye carried a story which blamed the split in the 2011 season (Season 6) on 'poor budget control and scheduling'. The story went on to state that BBC chiefs were "horrified to learn recently that BBC Wales is proposing not to make a full series of Doctor Who in 2012, but instead to put the programme on hiatus and merely bash out four “specials” as it did in 2009."

The day that story broke, the BBC quickly moved to deny it. Sam Hodges (Head of Comms at the BBC) tweeted the following: #DoctorWho is returning. Fourteen new episodes have been commissioned with Matt Smith as The Doctor #bbc1

Sadly, of course, as we now know the Private Eye story was much closer to the truth than the statement from Hodges. All we got in 2012 were the first five episodes of season 7 (plus the annual Christmas episode).

I recently complained to the BBC about its misleading stories about Who and received the following reply: “Series 7 comprises 14 episodes including a Christmas special which aired from September 2012 to May 2013. We regret if it wasn’t clear that these episodes would be spread over two years. This year marks the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ and a 50th anniversary special is planned. There has been no announcement about broadcast dates for series 8 but ‘Doctor Who’ is still going strong in its 50th year.”

A futher response stated: “We previously announced that series 7 had been commissioned and that it would consist of 14 episodes (13 plus a Christmas special); however, we didn't say it would run within the same calendar year.”

So, what do you think? Do you trust the statements from the BBC and think they’re being honest – or do you think the BBC is using smoke and mirrors to cover up a massive reduction in the production of Doctor Who?
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:01
kyllerbuzcut
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I can't trust them at all at the moment. I think they have deliberately put out misleading information in the past couple of years to 'calm down the fans'. It's hard not to feel a bit short changed by them at the moment, after giving us less than we've been used to in previous years. And that was after telling us that we'd have loads of stuff coming up for this special year.
I also think that they've been misleading the production team too ( or at least telling them what to tell the fans) about their budget and how much they can do etc.

It's hard to trust them for a lot of people that remember what happened in the 80's. So even if they were being completely honest there would still be a little doubt about some things.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:10
Mulett
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It may well be that the BBC didn't specifically say that season 7 "would run within the same calendar year.”

But when you look at Sam Hodges' statement (and all those that followed from the BBC) within the context of being a direct denial of the Private Eye exposé, it can only be seen as dishonest.

Everything that has come from the BBC since (about the amount of Doctor Who we're getting this year) just doesn't add up. We've entirely lost the 2013 season and have to wait until August/September 2014 for season 8.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:23
andy1231
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Not only don't I believe a word the BBC says about Dr Who, I don't believe a word that anyone involved in making the programme and that includes the main cast and production team, say anymore. I don't blaim them (the cast) as they are only going along with what they are told to say. I just don't understand why a level of honesty can't be maintained.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:35
cricketman
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If the BBC were to announce that " " was the new Doctor then I would believe them. It's not a case of telling lies but merely not telling the whole truth
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:35
MikeySaint859
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If they are taking a break it should be for one reason only: to give the writers a break. Whatever the costs of the show, the revenue they generate ought to guarantee vast profits so I wouldn't think budget considerations ought to apply. So, if they were to have a year's hiatus and return with a stunning series, rather than churning out a predictable/silly/rushed/badly written series I'd be all for it. Maybe they are even dissatisfied with their current writers. Whether the BBC would disclose such reasons I'm not so sure as it might suggest shortfalls in certain (rather feeble) episodes already broadcast.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:53
Mulett
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It is such a contrast to how the BBC behaved back in 2008 when it clearly announced the 2009 specials and that season 5 would start in spring 2010.

No silliness, no half-truths or misleading denials. Just straight forward, commonsensical honesty.

It seems at the moment as though production is in such chaos that the BBC can't commit to anything in case it all goes pear shaped.
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:14
johnnysaucepn
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It is such a contrast to how the BBC behaved back in 2008 when it clearly announced the 2009 specials and that season 5 would start in spring 2010.

No silliness, no half-truths or misleading denials. Just straight forward, commonsensical honesty.
Bull. You don't have a clue what they didn't tell you.

Do you not remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth that we were only getting a few specials? What were they doing to our beloved programme? This must be them winding down the series before cancelling it? That they were only doing it because of budgeting problems?

People had the same feeling that they were entitled to a full series then that they do now. Nothing has changed.

They tell you what they're able to tell you. There's no lies or dishonesty involved.
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:23
Mulett
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Bull. You don't have a clue what they didn't tell you. Do you not remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth that we were only getting a few specials? What were they doing to our beloved programme? This must be them winding down the series before cancelling it? That they were only doing it because of budgeting problems?
It was disappointing at the time, Johnny, and I'm not denying that. But the information the BBC provided fans and viewers in 2008 was accurate; they announced four specials in 2009 and a new season in spring 2010, and that is what they delivered. In fact, this is what was being reported in May 2008: "Davies will remain in charge of four specials to be shown in 2009. The fifth series, with Moffat at the helm, is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One in spring 2010."

More recently, the BBC has sought to deny stories published in Private Eye about the production schedule for season 7 and season 8. This resulted in BBC statements that are (at the very least) misleading.
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Old 31-07-2013, 12:16
johnnysaucepn
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More recently, the BBC has sought to deny stories published in Private Eye about the production schedule for season 7 and season 8. This resulted in BBC statements that are (at the very least) misleading.
So? The only difference here is the 'alleged' information provided by the Private Eye, not the statements made by the BBC. Taken in context, there's no difference.

You paint it as if the Specials were some kind of noble effort, and not some kind of budget-saving, persuade-David-Tennant-to-stay-a-bit-longer measure, which is what it really was. Are you surprised that the BBC didn't advertise it as such?

Timeframe is also important - asking someone a question after a decision is made will get you a more specific answer than asking it while the decision is still being discussed.

In short, the BBC's reaction hasn't changed, all that's changed is the rumour mill undermining them, and individuals thinking the worst of them for some reason.
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Old 31-07-2013, 12:24
kyllerbuzcut
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Yeah- it was much preferable when they just came out and said "Here's what you are going to get. Sorry it's not a full series, but that's how it goes. There will be a full series the year after."

At the moment I don't think anyone is sure when we will see the next series start, and how long it will be. will it be split in 2 again? Or a full run? There's some evidence that it wont be until the second half of 2014, but because of all the goings on over series 7 announcements and 50th year announcements it is hard to tell what is true now. They've sort of cried wolf with denying that we'd be getting one series between 2 years.

They need to really come out with an official statement to say what they are at least expecting to happen in the next year or 2. ( Or have I missed when they did that?) You'd think they would know if they plan to make one series or 2 ( or 3?) or if they are planning to make one more and then see what the popularity is like they should just say this.

There is indeed a rumour mill aspect going on, making some suspicious of the BBC, and wondering if they want to cancel the show at some point. When the reality is probably nothing like that. It is a popular show that brings in money. The BBC could help though. They are not doing themselves any favours. They just need a simple statement to say what their general plan is.
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Old 31-07-2013, 12:28
Mulett
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You paint it as if the Specials were some kind of noble effort, and not some kind of budget-saving, persuade-David-Tennant-to-stay-a-bit-longer measure, which is what it really was. Are you surprised that the BBC didn't advertise it as such?

Timeframe is also important - asking someone a question after a decision is made will get you a more specific answer than asking it while the decision is still being discussed.
Johnny, I think you are missing the point. The reasons for the 2009 specials/2012-13 scheduling aren't the issue. Its simply about the honesty of the BBC statements about what is actually going on.

Timeframe is important without a doubt - the fact is, however, that on both occasions (in May 2008 and in June 2011) the BBC knew what its production schedule/broadcast schedule was going to be for Doctor Who. But in 2008 the information was given clearly and honestly. In 2011 it wasn't.

Season 8 is going to be shown in autumn 2014. But is it all of season 8 or just a few episodes, like last time? That's the issue fans have with BBC statements nowadays. Its as much about the information that is not in BBC statement as what is.

The BBC's reply to me ("We regret if it wasn’t clear that these episodes would be spread over two years") sums up the problem perfectly!
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Old 31-07-2013, 12:48
bp2
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And they did give a honest reply. We did get 14 episodes with Matt Smith and they were on BBC 1. What you are essentially complaining about is not about honesty but the BBC refusing to talk about production which are completely different things.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:05
johnnysaucepn
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Johnny, I think you are missing the point. The reasons for the 2009 specials/2012-13 scheduling aren't the issue. Its simply about the honesty of the BBC statements about what is actually going on.
They are the issue - or at least, the behind-the-scenes rumblings about the reasons. You've heard one set of reports on the reasons behind a decision (which weren't even accurate in themselves), and you've decided that means the official announcement is somehow suspect or dishonest.

What were you expecting? A BBC press announcement saying, "we're trying to figure out how we can afford this, and the best way to fit this into our schedules?" Never gonna happen. They've never given out that kind of information.

Perhaps they should have had a firmer decision made earlier in the year. Fair enough. But that's not dishonesty.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:15
Mulett
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They are the issue - or at least, the behind-the-scenes rumblings about the reasons. You've heard one set of reports on the reasons behind a decision (which weren't even accurate in themselves), and you've decided that means the official announcement is somehow suspect or dishonest.

What were you expecting? A BBC press announcement saying, "we're trying to figure out how we can afford this, and the best way to fit this into our schedules?" Never gonna happen. They've never given out that kind of information.

Perhaps they should have had a firmer decision made earlier in the year. Fair enough. But that's not dishonesty.
It is dishonesty when the BBC knows what the plan is but fails to accurately reflect that in their statements. It is particularly galling when their statements are a rebuttal of a Private Eye story that (as it turns out) was closer to the truth than anything the BBC said at the time.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:25
Philip_Murray
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I'm not entirely sure what the point is of this thread - virtually every TV production team in history has worked to keep secrets from the audience. It's perfectly normal practice. There's always, ALWAYS someone who doesn't get on with someone else, or there's issues with budget or scheduling etc - it's human nature. There's no way any production team would willingly choose to air its dirty laundry in public. If you did you'd forever wind up with furore and public scrutiny akin to Charlie Sheen's meltdown and firing from Two-and-a-Half Men. What production team on the planet would willingly put itself through that?

Also, it's not like there's anything new in a Who production team keeping things close to their chests. Look at all the information that has come out in the years following each 'era' of the show, and compare that with the official line at the time. The difference is startling.

And even years down the line fresh information will emerge. Despite all of RTD's frankness in his written accounts looking back at being the showrunner etc, it's only relatively recently that we've learned that Grade asked if the show's imminent return could be stopped when he came back to the corporation. Would you rather that information had come out at the time, just as the show was about to return to the air? The general public would've been far less inclined to tune in and give it a go if they thought there was a real likelihood it'd be axed after a few episodes. I'm glad everyone involved kept that little tidbit to themselves for a few years. It could've undermined the successful return of Who to our screens.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:28
johnnysaucepn
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It is dishonesty when the BBC knows what the plan is but fails to accurately reflect that in their statements. It is particularly galling when their statements are a rebuttal of a Private Eye story that (as it turns out) was closer to the truth than anything the BBC said at the time.
And if the Private Eye article didn't exist would you even think twice about it? That's my point.

Furthermore, given that (as we've established) the Private Eye article wasn't accurate either, why are you not complaining about their dishonesty? The rumours were incorrect. Regardless of what you think the BBC didn't say and should have, their statement were not incorrect or misleading.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:32
Mulett
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And if the Private Eye article didn't exist would you even think twice about it? That's my point.

Furthermore, given that (as we've established) the Private Eye article wasn't accurate either, why are you not complaining about their dishonesty? The rumours were incorrect. Regardless of what you think the BBC didn't say and should have, their statement were not incorrect or misleading.
If the Private Eye story had never happened, what makes you think the BBC would have suddenly told the truth about what was going on with season 7 and season 8? At no point has the BBC published a statement to confirm no season would be made in 2013. In fact, they've told us countless times Who will 'take over TV' and we'll have wall-to-wall Who. Again, a shame they didn't explain this meant programmes about Doctor Who rather than actual Doctor Who episodes.

In terms of Private Eye - as I've said (twice in this thread alone) it didn't get the story 100% right but it did publish information far closer to the truth than anything the BBC said at the time.
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Old 31-07-2013, 13:38
Granny McSmith
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Why do people care what other people think of the BBC? To the point of posting to defend them? I had an argument once on the Broadcasting Forum about this, and I was baffled then and I'm baffled now.

I don't trust the BBC at all in regard to DW, but I blame incompetence and lack of communication rather than downright evil. I do think they have twisted the truth, though.

I still have to pay my licence fee, though, so I'm sure they don't care what I think. They're not going to curl up with anguish.
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Old 31-07-2013, 14:17
kyllerbuzcut
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I agree it is probably more incompetence and lack of communication from the BBC.

In response to some other comments, I would reckon that people are not wanting a big brother style camera that is looking into every aspect of production. I'm sure most people don't care that Matt Smith was seen picking his nose at 13:42pm while waiting for the cameras to roll. Meanwhile in the diary room Steven Moffat is complaining about Caroline Skinner always running off tattling to her boss about every action that's going on.(these are totally made up events incase anyone decides to jump on me). The point is I don't think most people even care about any of that.

What I think people DO care about is just a general 'when to expect the next series' and ' 'is it going to be a lot of episodes in a row, or with a split in the middle', and perhaps even 'is the BBC still committed in the long term to making more episodes'. That kind of thing. Those are the kind of questions I see people asking- and I wouldn't mind knowing that stuff too. It would be very easy for the BBC to reassure people by just saying they are planning another series and things like that.

I think because they are funded with money that we all pay in the form of the licence fee -that makes us think they owe us a little bit more information than for instance the sci-fi channel. I would agree with that notion. I like to see what's going on with the money that I'm giving them. There's only so many things they do that I watch, so I want to know that the things I do watch are in good health.
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Old 31-07-2013, 14:21
Mulett
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What I think people DO care about is just a general 'when to expect the next series' and ' 'is it going to be a lot of episodes in a row, or with a split in the middle', and perhaps even 'is the BBC still committed in the long term to making more episodes'. That kind of thing. Those are the kind of questions I see people asking- and I wouldn't mind knowing that stuff too. It would be very easy for the BBC to reassure people by just saying they are planning another series and things like that.
Couldn't have said it better myself!
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Old 31-07-2013, 15:01
johnnysaucepn
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Why do people care what other people think of the BBC? To the point of posting to defend them? I had an argument once on the Broadcasting Forum about this, and I was baffled then and I'm baffled now.
I couldn't really give a monkey's about the BBC per se, but to see perfectly reasonable statements being portrayed as some kind of attempt to hide 'the truth' from 'the fans' (to what possible end?) is just absurd.

What I think people DO care about is just a general 'when to expect the next series' and ' 'is it going to be a lot of episodes in a row, or with a split in the middle', and perhaps even 'is the BBC still committed in the long term to making more episodes'. That kind of thing. Those are the kind of questions I see people asking- and I wouldn't mind knowing that stuff too. It would be very easy for the BBC to reassure people by just saying they are planning another series and things like that.
No, it would be very difficult for the BBC to answer those questions. It's a long and complicated process, and yes, plans are subject to change along the way.

The moment you commit to announcing something, you'd better be 100% sure it's going to pan out exactly like that, or all hell breaks loose. They knew they had committed to producing a full series, and that's what they announced.
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Old 31-07-2013, 15:28
RememberMeWhen
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Yes and no.

They clearly can keep secrets when they want to, which is good for viewing experience - for example, Clara being in Asylum of the Daleks and Rose returning at the beginning of series four.

Which then makes you wonder how they make big slip ups like Matt Smith leaving before it was officially announced.

I think they want to confuse fans. Most articles in relation to Who are misinterpreted rumours not by the BBC and wording is very important. Like Series 8 confirming Matt Smith, when in fact they were just confirming a Series 8.

At the moment, however, I wouldn't fully believe anything unless the BBC start a sentence with 'We can confirm...' It's only natural in the 50th Anniversary year they want to keep more things hushed up than usual. We've had a new companion, a new mystery, a new plot, the 50th Anniversary, Matt Smith leaving and a new Doctor all in a year.
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Old 31-07-2013, 15:35
Abomination
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I don't see any reason not to trust what they're saying, I think the problem is that people read far too much into what is being said.

A press release is always kept decidedly vague, and responses to complaints and criticisms contain only minimal new wording. It is a massive job to keep a brand as massive as Doctor Who under control, and the only way to do so is to keep correspondance with the public minimal outside the official announcements. When the Beeb say there is going to be "more Doctor Who than ever", it isn't their fault if people wrongly interpret that as a greater number of episodes. In truth, that comment can be applied to the wider selection of merchandising, the increased public exposure through conventions and events, the promotions at Heathrow and so on.

I don't think it is ever the intention to mislead or dissatisfy the fandom, or the wider viewing audience. What would be the sense in that? Understandably with such a big franchise there may be alterations or changes to things that have been planned and possibly announced, but generally if you take comments, announcements and press releases at face value you'll find yourself less disappointed and less likely to doubt the Beeb.
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Old 31-07-2013, 18:56
Mulett
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I don't think it is ever the intention to mislead or dissatisfy the fandom, or the wider viewing audience. What would be the sense in that? Understandably with such a big franchise there may be alterations or changes to things that have been planned and possibly announced, but generally if you take comments, announcements and press releases at face value you'll find yourself less disappointed and less likely to doubt the Beeb.
I think there's a lot of butt-covering at the Beeb at the moment. The May 2008 announcement (about the 2009 specials/2010 season) proved the BBC could deliver unhappy news but in an open and clear way.

Private Eye has run quite a few stories about Doctor Who production being in chaos. I have no idea how true that is (if at all) but it would explain why the BBC's PR around Who over the past couple of years has become less clear.
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