Doctor Who Confidential isn’t back. Seven will be the first NuWho series not to be accompanied by Confidential since its launch in 2005 – but we’ll at least have some behind-the-scenes material, executive producer, Caroline Skinner has confirmed.
Confidential was axed by BBC3 controller, Zai Bennett last year, and we got a taste of unaccompanied Who with the Christmas special, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. During Radio Times’ visit to the set of Asylum of the Daleks, Skinner said:
“I think it’s really sad that we don’t have Confidential any more because the fans are fascinated with the making of Doctor Who and the personalities involved.”
There have been reports, however, of behind-the-scenes footage being filmed, particularly as the Who crew took to Bristol earlier this week to film the upcoming Christmas special. And Caro Skinner has expanded upon this:
“We will be doing lots of content that will be in smaller chunks on the [Doctor Who website]. It won’t be related to the Confidential brand because it was a BBC decision to let that go. But we have a team of people on set coming up with some really fun features.”
Whether this material will be included on the DVD boxsets as well is unknown, but fingers crossed!
Meanwhile, Bennett is still defending his decision nearly one year on, particularly at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, where he said (get ready to be outraged):
“Doctor Who Confidential had run for six series. It was a show about a show. There wasn’t much more to say about how they make Doctor Who.”
Now, calm down. Yes, that statement is basically null and void, because the show constantly changes and each production comes with its own challenges. Yes, this series would have a huge amount to cover, including the exit of the Ponds, the return of every Dalek ever, and the introduction of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the Doctor’s new companion. And yes, there will always be an audience who want to glimpse the inner workings of the show (hence material going on the website!). All those things are true – but this anger is doing your blood pressure no good at all.
Bennett went on to say:
“We are pulling back from pre-watershed TV because of BBC cuts – I’ve got to make every pound count.”
But as he’s already said, it’s a show about a show – which is surely cheaper than a huge amount of shows, as sets and cast are already there. He continued:
“I don’t want to make loads of extension shows, a la ITV2.”
… Which flies in the face of recent British Broadcasting Corporation plans to make BBC3 and BBC4’s main function as supporting shows from BBC1 and BBC2. Aside from causing a stir amongst fans (with over 57, 000 signatures on the petition for Confidential to return), Bennett also upset showrunner, Steven Moffat, who wrote in Doctor Who Magazine:
“It seems hard to grasp. All shows have their time, and all shows end, but not, in all sanity, while people still watch and love them. And going by the numbers and the outcry, this show was watched and loved everywhere.
“I’m not supposed to say it, but I’m going to anyway: bad day, bad decision. I know these are straitened times. I know we’re all at sea and the night is colder – but you don’t start burning the lifeboats to keep warm.
“Or to put it another way, you might want to think about the future if you’re planning to live there.”
The good news is, of course, that Doctor Who will return next Saturday. And we’ll still be able to get all the behind-the-scenes gossip. It’s still an amazing time to be a fan of the best show ever.
Don’t forget to pick up the next issue of the Radio Times, on sale Tuesday 28th August, to read Moffat’s episode guide and get a free Dalek wall chart!