Opinion Matt Smith as the Doctor

Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Alasdair Shaw

Where’s Series 8 Then?

Seriously?

Everyone’s getting pretty excited about the last half of Series 7 being scheduled for April next year and that from there preparations will begin for the 50th anniversary episode and then the inevitable Christmas special. I won’t lie, I’m glad to hear about all these things as well.

Matt Smith as the Doctor

But…..

Well, shouldn’t the anniversary year of Doctor Who have a series all to itself rather than having to make do with the left overs from the previous year? Doesn’t anyone else see this as a bit of an anti-climax? Wasn’t anyone else hoping that the Anniversary Special was going to be found in the midst of a Series 8 run?

I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m very, very excited about the forthcoming special. Honestly, I am. It’s just that I was hoping for something a little, well, more.

Not that I was expecting the heavens to open and multiple Doctors to descend in a hail of TARDISes, I’m not getting hung up on past incarnations appearing, although I’d be delighted if they did, I would just like a full years worth of Who to celebrate fifty years. Thirteen full episodes, not the seven or eight that seem to be on offer.

Although I must confess to being quite excited about some of the episodes that are coming our way in 2013. Neil Gaiman writing the Cybermen? Steven Moffat handling the Anniversary Special personally? Oh yes! Mark Gatiss on Period Drama duty? Oh my!

I’m just a little disappointed is all.

Am I being overly critical? Jumping the gun?

More to the point; am I alone?

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About the Author

Alasdair Shaw dabbled in Who throughout the 80s, but didn’t really get into it properly until 1989. His sense of timing has not improved over the years. He’s a third generation Who fan as well as a father of two. His wife has a bad feeling about those two facts. When not working as a lab technician or writing for Kasterborous Alasdair runs the Doctor Who Reprint Society for which he writes In Print and Dangling Threads. He’s a big fan of the Valeyard, but that’s neither here nor there. He has never worked for UNIT and is not related to Dr Liz Shaw.




27 Responses to Where’s Series 8 Then?

  1. Paul Phipps says:

    I thought 2013 would see more episodes of Doctor Who than ever before – so you would get the second half of series seven, plus series 8…

    So six weeks in April, summer break, then a return in the autumn?

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      That’s how I’m reading it.

  2. Ger Edwards says:

    Totally agree. The impression I was getting was that there would be an anniversary ‘season’ not a one off special. I mean, it’s 50 years!

  3. Francesco says:

    You’re not alone because I’ve seen Ian Levine saying the same thing on Twitter… ;)

    But, personally, I don’t care much. I tend to worry about quality more than quantity. I’m used to tons of American series, even extremely good ones, like Fringe or Once Upon a Time, that would be MUCH better with less episodes.

    And lately we’ve been getting great episodes… (and as you say there’s a lot of great stuff to be exited about in the next few episodes), so… I think it doesn’t *really* matter.

    • James says:

      Surely you can’t count those miserable messy eps by Chibnall or the borg rip-off one as ‘great episodes’, the others aren’t too bad though they’re full of the usual gaping Moffat plot flaws. So quality isn’t there and neither is the 13 + 1 Xmas special episode count. We’re being diddled guys.

      • Francesco says:

        I loved Chibnall’s episodes! Actually there were the first Chibnall’s episodes I’ve loved, his old ones I only found okay, but both “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Power of 3″ were great.

        I’m not particularly fond of “A Town Called Mercy”, I’ll admit that… but it’s one out of 5 (because both Moffat’s are among the best ever), I really can’t complain.

  4. BOJAY says:

    Call it a “gut” instinct, but series 8 will probably hit our screens in 2014. Moffat has been clear that there will be multiple episodes to mark the 50th Annversary, and those begin filming in April. Matt Smith has indicated that he wishes to be present for the 2014 Christmas special, and then that he and Steven would talk about where it will go from there. Steven has also said that there wouldn’t be a regeneration in 2013. My take is that series 8 will feature Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, for its entirety, or with Eleven regenerating into Twelve at the mid season finale mark. At any rate, there will be plenty of Who in 2013, and I’m confident, well beyond.

  5. Ian says:

    I thought we were to get more than one special. I am disappointed that one the rest of S7 finished in May that is all the WHO we are getting until November. What are the BBC going to use the money normally used for Dr Who on? Oh I know more Strictly or the Voice rubbish.

    From the Radio Times 20 December 2011.

    It’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in 2013, and Whovians are already excitedly speculating about multiple Doctors returning for an ensemble episode – but according to showrunner Steven Moffat there might well also be multiple episodes to mark the BBC sci-fi show’s half-centenary.

    “Why talk in the singular?” said Moffat, when asked by The Scotsman about the upcoming anniversary episode. “The plans are at an early stage, but we have some very clear ideas about some of the things we’re doing, and I think Doctor Who fans and kids will think it’s the best thing ever. We’ve got a load of very big plans – the mere fact that we’re talking about this two years before the event should tell you how seriously we’re taking it.”

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      There were at a very early stage and as such the Anniversary specials seem to have diminished into the singular a year later.

    • Anthony says:

      Good to hear there is the possibly of multiple eps to celebrate the 50, very much looking forward to it! I have to say though, its a little irksome how freely he rates himself. I guess if I was the captain of not one but two successful TV series I might do the same but hey – I’m Australian! We don’t like that sort of thing ;)

  6. FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I can’t stress this enough… Michael Grade is nowhere to be seen. Doctor Who is bigger worldwide than it has ever been. The global viewing figures speak for themselves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again to all the pessimists – buy some sea monkeys and just relax and enjoy what is possibly the best time ever to be a Doctor Who fan!

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      That’s kind of my point. Given it’s massive profile just now why give the world a reduced output this year of all years?

  7. stlshawn says:

    I agree. Without doing too much research (Dang it Kas, I’m a computer tech nerd, not a sci-fi reporter), i thought for sure that the Moff was quoted as saying 2013 was going to be filled with Whovian goodness. I believe i even remember him saying that there would be “multiple” episodes for the anniversary year. I wasn’t expecting a long sleep, then some sort special episode just before Christmas.

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      None of us were.

      It just doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  8. Ian says:

    They also spoke about live events..these have yet to be announced.

  9. STLShawn says:

    I hope it’s not a bunch of shows like BBC America’s “women of Doctor Who” or “Science of Doctor Who”. These were wonderfully entertaining for what they were, but i don’t consider too “special” really. They seemed like cheaply produced clip and interview shows with people who just like Doctor Who. It’s like a great conversation with other who fans, but you cannot argue back :)

    These sort of things should be used throughout the normal years to keep people interested in Who, not as the basis of a statement like “We are going to have lots of specials for all the fans, more than you could imagine, it’s going to be a year long celebration” (OK, that’s not a real quote, but a paraphrase of the type of things people like the Moff was saying earlier this year).

    For all the issues i had with RTD, at least that period could keep product moving. Let’s face it, there was a year in there when we had DW, Torchwood, and SJA rocking our screens. Now we have occasional DW. I know Moff was quoted as saying something towards the affect of “Doctor Who needs to be a special event”, but i disagree. DW should be produced regularly, and the Christmas episodes or an evening at the Proms should be the “special events”. Really, where would Lego be if they only produced one new kit a year? What if Kasterborous only had six articles a year? Even Van Gogh produced more than six painting in a calendar year!

    If moff really wants his “ooh extra special vision” to be so coveted, maybe he should do an RTD and try and get a movie made. Seriously. He can see how well coming out with one movie every year or two works out. Then he can have his “specialness” and maybe someone else can give us what we want,,,,,,,, true good entertainment content. Quality enough to keep us happy, but quantity enough to keep us as fans.

    yes, i feel like BBC is playing with me, and i don’t like it.

  10. David F says:

    There will be a special. There will be, presumably, documentaries and repeats and clip shows, and actors popping up on every other show to talk about it all. There is a spin-off drama about the early days. What more, exactly, do you want?

    It is my favourite TV show, but it is only one of many TV shows. As fans we sometimes lose perspective and think the world should feel as passionately about it as we do. Coronation Street celebrated its fiftieth anniversary two years ago, and basically had the same number of episodes as usual, only stripped evenly across five nights. They built up a big storyline, talked a lot in the press about the anniversary, and left it there. They didn’t bring back every actor from the sixties or make a movie, and its fans were happy with what they got.

    The 2013 episodes are not “leftovers from a previous year”. They’re new episodes, made and scheduled for 2013.

    No other TV show mythologises its own birth date the way Doctor Who does. Even comparable shows such as Star Trek aren’t as hung up on that point. And we’ve let the significance of November the 23rd 1963 inflate out of proportion. I remember forums going crazy with indignation that the BBC wasn’t scheduling Waters of Mars for the exact date of the 45th anniversary, as if a) BBC schedulers cared about a point of historical trivia and b) forty-five were a significant number.

    In summary:
    Whatever happens next year will seem fitting when it arrives.
    A year is a long time in scheduling terms, and all manner of extra events could emerge between now and then.
    Moffat is a sneaky sod who keep things from us.
    A forward-looking Doctor Who is better than a backward-looking Doctor Who.
    Some people will almost certainly complain that there is TOO MUCH exposure for the show next November.
    The Five Doctors was a self-indulgent storytelling swamp in which the series started to eat itself, and which should stand as a warning to all showrunners.
    And whatever happens, I can’t wait.

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      “What more, exactly, do you want?”

      A full series. 13 episodes. Was I not clear?

      “Coronation Street celebrated its fiftieth anniversary two years ago, and basically had the same number of episodes as usual,”

      Which we’re not getting. We’ve had an episode reduction.

      “The 2013 episodes are not “leftovers from a previous year”. They’re new episodes, made and scheduled for 2013.”

      They are though. They’re the last half of the 2012 series. Every year (apart from 2010) we’ve had 13 episodes. 13 episodes over 2 years is pretty much half what we’ve had previously.

      “A forward-looking Doctor Who is better than a backward-looking Doctor Who.”

      See I made a point of saying I wasn’t looking for nostalgia. Just a whole series.

      “Moffat is a sneaky sod who keep things from us.”

      Ok, here I actually agree with you.

  11. Ian says:

    I believe the reason for the split this year in the series is partly due to Moffats work on Sherlock. Shouldn’t he concentrate on WHO more?.
    What I am thinking about these live events is something on the scale of the Dr Who live show a few years ago. Also I hope these events are not going to be mostly held in Cardiff at the Experience.

    As for repeats, the last classic repeat was Pyramids of Mars when Elisabeth Sladen died and that was stuck on BBC 4.

    • TonyS says:

      And yet work on Sherlock series three isn’t scheduled to start until March 2013 I believe.

  12. Simon M says:

    I’m sure we will get multiple 50th aniversary episodes in the Autumn of 2013. As for the current run due back in April, there have been rumours that Mark Gatiss has written a story featuring all time classic monster the Ice Warriors.

    I wonder if this is true as it surely would have been spoiled by now. Seems like we are due a new classic monster rather than just revamps of the daleks, cybermen etc.

  13. Alex says:

    The Five Doctors wasn’t attached to any season, either. It doesn’t need it.

    And look at it this way, if the BBC decides that in lieu of a full season they’ll devote a season’s worth of budget to a single special, then you do the math.

  14. James says:

    Moffat should come clean with fans and public, tell us if there’s a full 13 ep season coming or not. If not Moffat, then who (no pun intended) at the BBC should people be writing to?

  15. daniel says:

    it would just be nice to be told something.

    I think thats the bottom line…

    its kind of too much secrecy at the moment.

    Like Christmas…you dont want to know exactly presents are coming…but it would be nice to know they are some

  16. BOJAY says:

    I think it may also just be coming down to a transition in the way Doctor Who is produced. A show like Sherlock has a three episode season, a show like Luther usually runs about four episodes. Perhaps the BBC is applying this paradigm to Doctor Who as well. It seems that very few british shows have anything near thirteen episodes, and with Doctor Who’s budget also most likely an issue, perhaps they will will be spending more money on fewer episodes in future series. At any rate, I’m not worried about the fiftieth anniversary being short changed. I’m sure, as I’ve said elsewhere, that Moffat and team have plenty up their sleeves for us. In the end, fewer, well budgeted episodes from series eight onward is better than no Doctor Who at all. Even future series being formatted like Tennant’s last year of specials is preferable to that.

  17. gruff says:

    It’s very frustrating not knowing quite what is coming, but you could look at it as exciting.

    I am partly excited, but like the child who builds up to Christmas by looking in the shop windows and the catalogues wanting everything, I am bound to be at least slightly disappointed. Wonder if the Moff’s been dealt a bit of a duff hand due to not having a working TARDIS of his own. After 5 and 6 the cast and crew doubtless needed a break, his own creativity was stretched by a surprisingly well received show (Sherlock) and then two key characters left and they needed to bed in a new one. They may have also been forced to swallow some of the budget cuts that are everywhere at present and so to focus on the quality seemed like the best option available.

    There is no doubt that they will have all wanted the 50th anniversary to be a great one and I still think it will be. Better to have some good quality episodes to look forward to and then be able to look back at them fondly than a series made up of dross like Fear Her or Victory of the Daleks.

  18. Rick Lundeen says:

    They’re just stretching the budget, giving Matt a chance to do a few other things in his downtime and trying to pull one over on us at the same time. One season spread out over two years plus an anniversary special. So far, it’s been the strongest overall start top any season since the relaunch so I’m good.

    giving Matt a chance to do other thiongs ight let him stay with the show longer and he does have the option for a 4th and 5th year so who knows? also, I don’t think there’d be time to wedge in a another series after the anniversary special—which will sure to be broadcast on that particular Saturday the 23r since it’s the actual 50th on a saturday!

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