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Published on June 28th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds

What’s Happening With Who?

Confused and scared by responsibility? Feel like the world is looking towards you for an answer you can’t/won’t say despite growing evidence that you probably should?

Then my friend, a job at the BBC Press Office awaits you! I know, it means making a decision without knowing exactly what the party line is on hiring people like you but still, play it cool, undermine the need for clarity and the job is yours!

If you don’t get the job, don’t worry – you can always deny that their ever was a job and that nobody wants to leave the BBC because everything is sunshine and lollypops.

It seems that with all the headaches currently being handed out by the Beeb that any rational Who fan would come to the conclusion that perhaps the money being spent on mounting the BBC’s own voice in the media would be better spent on, oh lets say, a thirteen part Science Fiction series based in Cardiff?

That’s the proposal of Doctor Whom who have provided a searing deconstruction of the BBC Press offices response and a new article in Private Eye summarising the growing confusion surrounding just how many episodes of Doctor Who will we see in 2012.

Letting the cat out of the bag, Private Eye ran an article in the last edition claiming that behind the scenes problems meant that Series 7 was in jeopardy, only to have the BBC Press Office call up the Private Eye and ask them to read the article down the phone to them (note to the wise: this is not standard practice.)

What followed was a torrent of spin – resulting in strikes (BBC One Controller Danny Cohen declaring the plans were the result of Moffats commitment to Sherlock) and counter strikes via Twitter (Head Writer/ Executive Producer Steven Moffat saying and I’m paraphrasing, jog on Cohen, that’s gubbins) with no-one apparently happy and nothing being resolved other than some episodes might appear in 2012 at some point…maybe.

It speaks volumes that the BBC think they can placate Who fans with just a promise and we’ll forget that both Cohen and Moffat have pretty much turned those rumoured behind the scenes problems into a cross-medium argument… with neither party coming off the better of the two.

How could they? You’ve got one person saying one thing, one using a social networking site to debunk that and an organisation trying to paint a rosy picture while re-writing its own responses based on the others tit for tat argument with no one willing to stand up and say what’s really happened.

Should we just be grateful that they’re airing any episodes at all in 2012? Yes. Every new episode of Doctor Who is a Good Thing but like most good things nobody wants their enjoyment tempered by back biting, confusion and wilful ignorance.

There’s no narrative reason for the change (unless Moffat has been writing after the horse has bolted to make it so) so why can’t we just have a little honesty?

Perhaps the most telling conclusion of Doctor Whom’s piece is this commentary on Moffat’s response to the latest Private Eye article:

“The second funniest thing about it all is Steven Moffat’s tweet: “Private Eye seems like such fun until it’s YOUR friends they’re spreading nasty, inaccurate gossip about. How horrible.” What a deep well the English language is. Think of the many words available to strike back at such horrible nastiness – gross lies, malicious falsehoods, baseless libel, actionable slander. No, not strong enough. The gossip is so wide of the mark that the only word strong enough to describe it is “inaccurate”. Given that it’s Twitter, and that “lies” would have taken up 6 fewer characters, he must have had good reason to choose “inaccurate”. In other words, this nasty gossip is essentially true with the occasional wrong detail.”

The whole piece, and it is worth reading, can be found here.

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About the Author

Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




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