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Published on November 30th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds

The £50,000 Confusion?

Soon-to-be-shamed tabloid The Sun claims that the BBC wasted £50,000 of the licence fee payers’ money by scrapping a Christmas edition of behind-the-scenes show Doctor Who Confidential.

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine producer Gillane Seaborne confirmed that work had already begun on the episode – based on The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe – before the announcement was made to axe the show in September.

“…the biggest regret is the episode of Confidential we’ve filmed for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special which now won’t be shown. So I guess in the fine traditions of Doctor Who, we now have our very own missing episode.”

The £50,000 amount – which seems high for an incomplete episode – was quoted to the paper by an ‘industry expert’ who even hedge their bets to say it was ‘possibly more’. If that didn’t seem like The Sun’s typical Murdochian anti-BBC stance the paper goes on to quote a ‘BBC Source’ who, rather dubiously, seems to know nothing about the episode:

“This is the first we have heard of it. We’re being told there is no Christmas show.”

Which is strange considering a producer of the show has spoken to a BBC Licensed magazine and confirmed that the incomplete episode does exist – in fact a sourced BBC Spokesperson goes on to say a paragraph later that:

“While Doctor Who Confidential has been decommissioned, all existing episodes will be shown. But there is no Christmas special.”

So a harmless piece of confusion about what constitutes an ‘episode’ egged up with the random anonymous predictions of an ‘industry expert’ or the BBC squandering your license fee on an ill-conceived cost cutting plan?

I suppose the biggest irony is that  if every person who signed the petition to reinstate Doctor Who Confidential to the BBC Three schedule had given a pound each to the BBC it would have just covered the cost of the Christmas Special…


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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.

7 Responses to The £50,000 Confusion?

  1. avatar jh1470 says:

    People should boycott those rags anyway its not journalism its just idle gossip in type and people think they will be informed after reading one, please do yourself a favour – if you must read a paper make sure its “newspaper” not a hack rag!
    rant over !!

  2. avatar Francis Cave says:

    Well if the footage filmed for the Confidential episodes does exist in some form, it could appear as a DVD extra surely?

  3. avatar Alex says:

    Still, considering when the announcement to can DWC was made, I was under the assumption they’d already begun work on filming the Christmas special edition (unless the producers were given advance word). I was also assuming that, while DWC as a series might be over, that 2 Entertain would simply repurpose whatever footage was shot for the DVD/Blu-ray release as presumably they’re going to want to include some sort of value-added behind-the-scenes feature, assuming the Christmas special will be released as a standalone and will likely be the only new series DVD/BD release of 2012.

    With the Classic Series DVD line nearing its end, I’m hoping 2 Entertain picks up the ball a bit and uses some of its resources for producing behind-the-scenes material for Series 7′s DVD and Blu-ray issue. (Maybe not 30 minute documentaries per story like they do with the classic era, of course.) I’ll probably be proven wrong, but it would be the logical direction. Especially with regards to the 50th anniversary special.

  4. avatar Robert Hardy says:

    Who says it was incomplete? The producer said “we’ve filmed” (the episode), which indicates completion! If it was unfinished, she’d have surely said “we were filming” or “we were in the process of filming”. She might’ve meant that the epsidode was nearly finished, but in that case it beats me why a shortened, “cut-down” version couldn’t be shown!

  5. avatar Simon says:

    Maybe this is a problematic idea, but instead of DWC, how about having a live Roundtable discussion on BBC Three after the episode airs with some of the cast and crew where people phone in, and the studio has prepared stills of concept art and videos of VFX discussing how things were done.

    Alternatively they could record making-of material for specific parts of the episode that are a few minutes long each and put them on the DVD/Blu-Ray, instead of having a 40-45min documentary.

    • That’s a great idea Simon. The BBC could also invite fans to take part in the discussion.

      Sadly I doubt it would be on BBC Three, which appears to be attempting to morph into ITV2…

  6. avatar Ian O'Brien says:

    I can’t believe that Confidential would cost that much.

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