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Published on April 25th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

BBC Respond to Criticism


A BBC spokesman said: “We apologise for the timing of Saturday night’s trail.”

That should pretty much be the end of the so-called Nortongate – however whether you reckon the apology for an IPP during Doctor Who is enough, or it’s all a storm in a teacup, the fact remains that the BBC have attempted to make out that this sort of in program promotion (IPP) is OK and a common occurrence.

Apparently Doctor Who fans don’t watch enough TV to know this.

Let’s look at it this way – how many Doctor Who episodes have a trail for Doctor Who Confidential before the closing credits?

Doing that would be an affront in itself – so why did the characters running BBC One in England last night (as apparently this didn’t occur in Wales or Scotland) think it would be OK to splash a bright yellow banner across the screen during a tense, dark scene during the cliffhanger of The Time of Angels to advertise a show with no connection to Doctor Who (other than Graham Norton, who as we know has starred in the show before…)?

This might be romanticizing things somewhat, but given the time, energy and money that went into creating an excellent episode of Doctor Who, the BBC seem to pulled the rug from under it.

Frankly, the whole thing is bizarre.

If we’re upset about something as Doctor Who fans and viewers, it generally gets swept under the carpet. Given that former Doctor Who scriptwriter Matthew Graham (the driving force behind one of the BBC’s key series Ashes to Ashes) chimed in with a response on Twitter hopefully prompted this public apology from the BBC.

Apparently over 1000 complaints have been received from viewers. We hope this truly is the end of Nortongate – however, you can relive it below…

Incidentally, the BBC News page states:

“The BBC often promotes programmes in this way but the corporation has acknowledged that in this case the scheduling was inappropriate.”

Feel free to leave you recollections or IPP spotting incidents in the comments below…

Update

TV uber-critic Charlie Brooker apparently Tweeted the following message on Saturday evening:

“Why don’t the BBC just wipe s**t all over the screen during the final scene of Doctor Who next week? That’s a reference to the Over The Rainbow on-screen trail by the way. Loved the ep. Until then.”

Brooker later mused:

“I hope they trail the news with an animated George Alagiah in the final scene of Over The Rainbow.”

Perhaps there’s a case for animating everything, from the Queen’s Speech to Final Score…?

Further Update

As of Monday morning, 5,583 complaints had been received by the BBC over this issue. Furthermore, Simon Brewer of Den of Geek – who wrote an open letter to the BBC on Saturday evening – has been interviewed on Radio Five Live about the whole subject of “in programme promotions,” and there’s more from him today in the article BBC issues sort-of-apology for Graham Norton graphic over Doctor Who.

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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