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Published on May 22nd, 2011 | by Patrick Riley

Adios, Fast-Track

We were so close… SO close to the end!  North American fans listen up – if you didn’t hear the news already by watching Doctor Who on BBC America or Space last night, we’ve got a fairly disappointing, albeit unsurprising, development…

The Almost People and A Good Man Goes to War will be broadcast in the New World one week later than the UK.

‘But why?’ you ask, ‘Everything was running so smoothly, with the last six episodes in a row including A Christmas Carol broadcast semi-simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic!’  We’ll answer that in three words: Memorial Day Weekend.

See, cable networks in general tend to believe that on holiday weekends at the beginning of summer such as this, more people will be traveling and/or enjoying the sun and fewer people will be watching TV.  And in most cases, doubtless this one too, they’re right.  If you recall, the same thing happened last year, but it wasn’t quite as big a blow because we R-rollers had already been two weeks out of sync anyway.  With two weeks to go before the 777 cliffhanger, we’re all going to have to avoid the internet like mad until June 11th.

To say they’re sorry, BBC America will be running an all-day marathon (click the link and select ’05/28/2011′ from the Date drop-down menu) this Saturday starting at 6am ET with every Matt Smith episode from The Eleventh Hour to The Rebel Flesh except The Vampires of Venice, Vincent and the Doctor, and The LodgerCanadians, meanwhile, will be treated to I, Robot.

Overall, this is just another reason that Doctor Who should be broadcast in the autumn/winter instead of the summer.  The American audience will be much less likely to hit the beach every weekend, and there are fewer holiday weekends like Memorial Day and the 4th of July to cause us to leave home for a few days.  Luckily we’ll have a chance to experiment with this in a few months, and assuming Labor Day doesn’t sneak up on us while Doctor Who’s running, we might even be able to make it through the entire second half of the season without any delays!

My fellow Americans and neighbor Canadians – we’re all in this together.  Only two more weeks till the next Doctor Who!

The Almost People airs this Saturday (UK only) at 6:45 PM on BBC One and next Saturday (US and Canada) at 9/8c on BBC America and 8/7c on Space.



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About the Author


Patrick is a temporal hitchhiker who spends most of his time in the future. His favourite Doctor is the Fourteenth. If you're especially lucky, you might even hear him tweet to all you merry folk in the past @10PatrickRiley.

2 Responses to Adios, Fast-Track

  1. avatar 23skidoo says:

    What I want to know is, why can’t BBC America and Space simply air two episodes back to back, so while we’d have to wait a week to find out how the Gangers story ended, we’d still have same-day broadcast of the finale. It’s not as if this was a sudden decision. Heck – why not show it Friday night, then, or some other day. Give enough notice and the fans would be there.

    What doubly annoys me is how Space Channel is being forced to kowtow to BBC America. This year – for the first time – they even interrupted their own holiday weekend marathon in order to show new Who but now they’re forced a skip a week. It’s stupid, if you ask me.

    The rationale for the preemption on Saturday May 28 makes perfect sense. But the fact is there are plenty of options now for them to have avoided falling behind a week.

    I don’t wish ill of DW at all, but I hope the ratings for the last 2 episodes take a healthy hit for both BBCA and Space, not to make them cancel it or anything, but maybe to get them to smarten up for next year (not to mention for the fall episodes, which may have to contend with other holiday weekends.

    • To respond to your first point, I dunno about Space, but when it comes time to show the finale, BBCA *will* have it b2b with Almost People. The way they do things, they always show last week’s repeat before this week’s new episode. But it will still be delayed a week. I see what you’re saying. I imagine they’d rather have two dates for new episodes to bring in advertisers rather than an all-in-one-day finale. Your Friday night idea might work; I agree with you that they need to revise their system a bit. I was one of the ones who angrily reacted against last year’s delays, and while I’ve calmed down a bit compared to then, I still wish there was a different way of doing it.

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