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Published on June 14th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

No Full Series in 2012

We reported earlier that BBC One Controller Danny Cohen revealed at the Church and Media conference this afternoon that there will be no series of Doctor Who in 2012, with just a single Christmas special commissioned in advance of the 50th anniversary 2013 series.

It seems that this wasn’t entirely accurate – our apologies for the mix-up.

After temporarily pulling the item, we’ve since found out via the BBC’s big Doctor Who fan @lizo_mzimba on Twitter:

Bit of confusion, to summarise: no FULL 13 episode series of Dr Who in 2012. So some episodes will still go out in 2012. Remainder in 2013.

Which tidies up the previous misunderstanding concerning “no series in 2012″, by the BBC’s Wayne Clarke:

Danny Cohen says there won’t be a full series of Doctor Who in 2012, but a special run for the anniversary in 2013.#cmn11

Now if all of this has come as a bit of a surpise to you, it actually goes back to last week, when we relayed this news published in the latest Private Eye:

Programme chiefs in London 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. Which will leave an enormous hole in the BBC1 Saturday night schedule and a bigger one in the profits of BBC Worldwide, and will mean the corporation will be paying lead actor Matt Smith to spend most of the rest of this year doing nothing.

The immense fuss that this caused was then smoothed over by a pair of Tweets (via Twitter, rather than press releases) from BBC Head of Comms Sam Hodges and showrunner Steven Moffat:

#DoctorWho is returning. Fourteen new episodes have been commissioned with Matt Smith as The Doctor #bbc1

14 eps + Matt DEFINITELY. I’ve got a plan and I’m NOT TELLING YOU WHAT IT IS. Now hush or River shoots you with her Spoiler Gun.#formaqueue

We had expected a series to “straddle” Christmas 2012, so this latest news isn’t unexpected.

Of course, a lack of Doctor Who throughout most of 2012 will be disappointing, of course, but with official magazines, fanzines, DVDs, audios, books, comic strips and graphic novels not to mention amateur fan works and various websites such as this, 2012 won’t really be a Doctor Who-free period – and 2013 looks set to be FANTASTIC!


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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+.

19 Responses to No Full Series in 2012

  1. avatar krumstets says:

    This is one of the most successful TV series anywhere on British TV, are we seriously meant to believe the BBC can’t get their act together or the relevant finances to get the programme made?
    The other channels will be cock a hoop at this news I’m sure

    Anything less than a full season in 2012 simply won’t do.

  2. avatar castellanspandrell says:

    We know that the second half of the current season picks up this autumn.

    Could it be that the following season will run from late autumn/winter 2012 through to early 2013, all part of a bid to give the programme an autumn/winter fixture in future?

    Or will 2012 simply be like 2009, with a few specials being shown ahead of a full season in 2013? If the latter is the case, then the decision to put half this season nearer the end of this year looks even better.

  3. avatar STLShawn says:

    Makes perfect sense to me.
    I can see the meeting of drooling monkeys at BBC now:::
    ”’Wavy Flashback Scene””

    Monkey One: We have something that makes a lot of money, lets not do it for a year.

    Monkey Two: Brilliant! I have another idea, lets take BBC News off the air from tuesday thru friday every week.

    Monkey Three: Ummmm yeah, about that. I still get paid right?

    Head Monkey: Of Course! We all get paid, just not with the bags of cash from doctor who. BRILLIANT!!

    • avatar STLShawn says:

      I have a rather unpopular idea. BBC orders 20 Episodes with the same budget, starts at easter, breaks, comes back in September. I know this will cause more “corridor” shots and more talking, less CGI (per minute), etc etc etc. But i think it will work.

      I’m personally a bit fed up with the manic pace of some of the episodes. A bit more time to get to know the characters would be good.
      At this point, a speech like Tom Baker’s in Ark in Space (you all know what one i mean) would not happen. It all has to be fast “wham wham” sound bites.

      There was no reason earlier on, the crew couldn’t have chatted a bit while Rory and Amy threw darts. Something to just get to know the characters a bit more. Battlestar had many moments of just watching the characters interact, as did the first star wars films. Even the first half of Alien was dialog driven. That’s how we get to care if a charcter is in trouble,,,, when we know a bit about the character.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  4. avatar IanOTimelord says:

    First we are told the series is split so people do not have to wait a long time for the show to return. Now are we expected to wait for 9 months after Christmas?
    In 2013 do we only get 6 or 7 episodes? For a flag ship show there are not treating it as such. Or is it the apparent Joke that Steven Moffatt needs more time for Sherlock true?
    As license payers we have very little say

  5. avatar farsighted99 says:

    Send the show to the US, we’ll get it done! :D

  6. avatar PrimeTry says:

    Hang on a minute.

    So we are getting a 13-episode season, starring Matt Smith, split over 2012/2013.

    Let’s say that in 2012 we do indeed get “the bulk” of these episodes, e.g. another 7-episode mini-series.

    That leaves half a dozen episodes (quite possibly ‘specials’) to be shown across 2013.

    By the end of 2013 Matt Smith will have served for four years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) as the Doctor. Pretty much an average lifespan for a modern Doctor.

    Makes me wonder what kind of a ‘spectacular’ they are planning to mark the show’s 50th anniversary in November 2013!

  7. avatar MattAdams says:

    farsighted99 – No offence, but we saw how the Americans handled the show in 1996. I’d rather wait and get something of quality than endure that travesty again.

  8. avatar rgturner1974 says:

    If the powers that be are talking of another split season, showing the first half in the Autumn of 2012 and second in the early spring of 2013, could this be a move to show Doctor Who to a time of the year where it will gain better ratings? With another season beginning in Autumn 2012.

    The 50th Anniversary is on a Saturday night so what better way to celebrate it that with a massive mid-season finale? Such a move would allow that..

  9. avatar Spaceman says:

    Personally I think this is pants!!!

    1. What is this form of carp(!!) communication?
    Where’s the proper press release? Instead at a media conference?
    Talk about owing it to your viewers, let alone the fans..
    They chat about internet spoilers and they doll out rubbish tweetings…..

    2. So next year, we get Specials like we did two(!) years ago… I know. I know.. Moff’s cooking up something for 2013…
    But, shouldn’t we have a year’s worth of Who (even if it is split like this year.) in 2012 and another lot again in 2013?
    And as to my opinion of specials after the last time……

    If it is the case of Moff wanting a rest, more time to write Sherlock. Matt. Karen and Arthur a break, fair enough… let us all know.
    Via a concise press release, rather than some half *baked* tweet by some half *baked* tweets!

    Bet half of this is incorrectly reported……

    Honestly, people now a days…. No common sense….

  10. avatar Rick says:

    I really don’t know what to believe anymore. Half of what’s reported is nonsense. When they put the show “on hiatus” back in 1985, there were many reasons cited such as low ratings, that it “needed a rest”, that Michael Grade simply didn’t like the show. Thing was, even *then* the show was profitable.

    Now it’s much much MORE profitable and yet we have this. Now if by some chance, it is because Moffat needs more time for Sherlock, I suggest he either get his priorities straight or quit one of the shows.

    2009 was horrible with one bad Easter special and a vast year of nothingness. And we have to realize the dead certain fact that Matt Smith isn’t going to stick around forever. This is wasting time we might have had with him if this is true. Sheer idiocy.

    STLShawn makes a very good point about characters and pacing as well. And we wonder why a “grand old institution” like the BBC is in trouble. I no longer wonder.

  11. The Grand Moff has since said:

    Dr Who: misquotes and misunderstandings. But I’m not being bounced into announcing the cool stuff before we’re ready. Hush, and patience.

    And I feel that he is right, all things considered

    However, I stand by the point made last week, that we would not have been in the current state of affairs if the BBC had made a definitive announcement sooner.

    At the end of the day, we need to step back and enjoy the rest of Doctor Who while the people in charge get on with their work and make a success of it.

  12. avatar Rick says:

    Sooooo, we’ll get a full 14 episodes next year?

    Severe lack of organization. Media keeps pushing, pushing, pushing for answers so the BBC keep contradicting themselves and Moffat’s stuck in the middle trying to put a positive spin on things.

    Moffat’s grand plan of “never going more than a few months without Doctor Who” is great one. Hope it sticks around but now I’m wondering if there’s another element at work here. Maybe Smith is definitely leaving after his third series? And to that end, this would give them an opportunity to have him get married to river and regenerate during the anniversary year? Seems as likely as anything else. Still will hate to wait 9 months though….

  13. avatar IanOTimelord says:

    Just got to add what Christian has said I agree with.

  14. avatar Dalek Space Marine says:

    Surely the BBC could do some episodes on a low budget. All they have to do is re-use a few old sets and costumes from other shows, put in a few well loved monsters and rely on really good writing. Don’t Blink was a brilliant episode which must have been on a lower budget?

  15. avatar 23skidoo says:

    Some of the overreaction I’ve been seeing to the announcement is rather sad. All I see here is that they’re going to split the season again next year (not a surprise as I believe DWM or one of the news sites indicated before Christmas that the split-season format was a permanent change) and that half will air in 2012, and half in 2013. The only thing this might mean is no Christmas special.

    I fully expected Doctor Who to shift to a fall start so it could be lined up to air on the 50th anniversary.

    I think the BBC or Moffat need to spell out what they’re planning because some of the comments I’ve read are indicating that many fans are letting their imaginations run wild. “Moffat is planning to quit”, “It’s all a conspiracy to s*rew the fans”, “The show is dead”. I mean, take a pill people. The BBC is under no obligation to air a series in consecutive years – ask Torchwood fans for proof of that, or better still, Red Dwarf fans who had to wait 4 years between Series 6 and 7 of that show. Even in the US it’s not uncommon for there to be gap years – Mad Men is apparently taking a year off and I believe there was an 18-month gap or something during the run of The Sopranos, and on NBC Crossing Jordan took a year off once so its star could have a baby.

    I’m not concerned at all. Even if they only do a few specials next year, that’s fine. We’ll have more Doctor Who to enjoy down the line. Unless the second half of the season starts registering 0.0 ratings, Doctor Who ain’t going anywhere.

  16. avatar farsighted99 says:

    Moffat wants to do both, and he just doesn’t have the time. Don’t listen to what he’s tweeting, he lies (god bless him)… He needs to either give Sherlock to Gatiss or get an assistant showrunner… He could write fewer episodes… or just step down and let someone else run the show and he just writes.

    I find it really annoying that we are going to get less episodes because he’s trying to do too many things.

    If it’s only for a shift to the fall and the move to the new studios well that’s fine, but if he can’t handle both he should let up on one or the other.

    Both shows are wonderful…

  17. avatar molly says:

    hey we in america couldn’t do with out doctor who and we want more ! we can’t find the toys over here and would love to have them! we love doctor who over the seas! we hope it isn’t cannelled and britian can find the money my saturdays have never been better! i would like to see 5 new more doctor who men for 2013 ,2014,2015,2016,2017! they do need to change matt smith ! i want david tennant back or some one like tom baker they were the best!

  18. avatar Steven Robert Gill says:

    I’m still convinced we’ll get a full 13 episodes run starting in the Autumn next year, go without a Christmas special since the 14 episodes commissioned for series 7 presumably also includes this year’s Christmas special.

    From then on in, rather than the Christmas special marking the start of the next series’ production run, it will bookend it. I don’t reckon the split is permanent, it was just a way to ease the transition to a permanent autumn schedule.

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