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Official Doctor Who Site to Close?

Following news from the BBC today that the BBC Online budget of £137m is to be cut by a huge 25%, there are concerns that the cuts might have a marked effect on the Official Doctor Who pages.

Several key changes to the superb online service have been announced, notably the replacement of the majority of programme websites with automated content, and fewer news blogs – a direction in which the Official Doctor Who site has been heading recently.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that BBC Online will not offer specialist news content for specialist audiences – a description which could well apply to Doctor Who fans.

Speaking about the program of cuts – the announcement of which follows the departure of Future Media and Technology chief Erik Huggers -  BBC director general Mark Thompson said:

“BBC Online is a huge success, but our vast portfolio of websites means we sometimes fall short of expectation.

“A refocusing on our editorial priorities, a commitment to the highest quality standards, and a more streamlined and collegiate way of working will help us transform BBC Online for the future.”

Interestingly, the iPlayer will also be reshaped, bringing together programming and programming information with archive content. This would seem to be the ideal home for the Doctor Who pages if a decision has been made to close them in their current form.

Exactly what happens to the Doctor Who pages are currently speculation – the Doctor Who site has survived cuts before, notably to the old BBC Cult section which was originally pretty big and features sections for Red Dwarf and Blake’s 7.

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