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Published on February 9th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

The BBC’s Response to Anniversary Concerns!

If you are one of the people who have been in touch with the BBC to express your concerns over Doctor Who Series 7 scheduling and the situation concerning the 50th anniversary special (with regard to a supposed “1x 60 minute special” as per literature at the recent toy fair), we have news for you.

Doctor Who is produced by Britain's public service broadcaster, the BBC

The BBC Complaints department has issued a response, explaining that there has been no official announcement concerning their 50th anniversary plans. They’re also certain “that fans won’t be disappointed” when the time comes.

BBC Complaints’ representative Patrick McManus:

Thanks for your contact regarding ‘Doctor Who’ broadcast on BBC One.

I understand that you are feel there are insufficient programmes planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the series. I also note that you are unhappy with the way in which series 7 has been split into two parts.

Whilst I appreciate your concerns, we haven’t announced what we have planned to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ yet, but we would like to assure you that fans won’t be disappointed.

Additionally, please note that the decision to schedule series 7 in two parts was a creative one and we’re sorry you are unhappy about this.

Nevertheless, please be assured that I’ve registered your comments regarding this issue to our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback made available throughout the BBC, including to the producers of ‘Doctor Who’, as well as members of senior management.

The audience logs help to shape future decisions regarding BBC programming and output.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

What do you think? Are the complaints concerning Series 7′s split valid? Do you think the BBC have more up their sleeves than a single 60 minute special?

Are Doctor Who fans being needlessly pessimistic? That comment box below is itching to know!

(via Doctor Who TV.)

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About the Author

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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+.



48 Responses to The BBC’s Response to Anniversary Concerns!

  1. avatar Adam says:

    I would say needlessly pessimistic. We have no knowledge about their plans, so to assume that we know anything is just plain wrong. If they had officially announced that all there was was a one hour special, then fine… that would be reason to be upset. But there has been no official announcement of anything. Patience.

  2. avatar Bradondo says:

    I was never clear on where this “one 60-minute special” idea even came from. I would be rather shocked if the special were less than 90 minutes considering Moffat’s admission that he’s going to fit “more than anyone imagined possible” into it. I just don’t think you could do that in an hour unless it’s like a Doctor Who funhouse–with old foes popping up every couple of minutes to go “boo!”–rather than an actual adventure. I’m all for conjecture and discussion about what we think we’ll get, but that’s supposed to be part of the fun. Somehow that discussion has turned into a pessimistic airing of grievances! I’m personally very excited and can’t wait to find out what’s coming. I think there’s also a small but vocal minority who feel that Moffar has somehow ruined Doctor Who by leading it to it’s current apex of popularity and a level of health and vibrancy worldwide that it’s never achieved before. I certainly have been occasionally disappointed by individual episodes…in fact I found season 7a to be particularly weak (“Mercy” and especially “Power” were underwritten and meandering)…but then he gives us arguably the best Christmas special yet and a new companion already beloved despite our barely knowing her. I didn’t agree with everything RTD did either, but overall both he and Moffat have consistently given us the best show on television. Perhaps we could show some appreciation for this and trust that Moffat and his team will deliver a 50th birthday bash we can all cheer about. :)

  3. avatar Jim says:

    Um I wasn’t complaining of the split of series seven but rather the absence of series 8 in the fall.celebrating the anniversery with a production hiatus is not what most of us had in mind. It will take something so extraordinary to overcome this lack…I am not holding my breath.
    I think the next person they put in charge should (contractually) not be allowed to be involved in other major projects. It has obviously taken Mr. Moffat to his limits.

  4. avatar TonyS says:

    And yet I don’t believe a word of it

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    The Doctor lies. River lies. Does anyone tell the truth?

  6. avatar Lozzer says:

    When exactly are they going to film something other than the 60 min special…? And if they don’t begin production on series 8 this year, we will have to wait until Autumn 2014 for series 8. Somebody has dropped the ball with Doctor Who – and totally agree with Brandondo – series 7a had two stinker episodes (out of a pitiful 5) – Mercy and Power were rushed and felt like ideas that needed much more developing. Please don’t tell me they’re planning to do a live episode… I thought that was the territory of soaps to pull in a few extra viewers.

  7. avatar Lizo Mzimba says:

    I hate the fact they keep splitting the series in half – I feel like I’ve barely got into it before it’s gone again :(


    • Would you mind refraining from calling yourself “Lizo Mzimba” on any future comments as I consider this to be impersonation, and therefore not acceptable.

      Thanks!

  8. avatar gruff says:

    The averages tell a story of them cutting it back as between March 2005 and March 2010 we had 4 full series and a year of 5 special episodes. I make that 52 roughly standard length episodes and 8 longer special episodes, though some of RTDs season/series finales could come in a bit longer too. So probably 47 hours worth of televised Who. From March 2010 until March 2013 we will have had 31 standard episodes and 3 specials, and so apart from the odd bonus 5 minutes here and there it’s looking like around 26.25 hours worth.

    47/5 = 9.4 hours per year

    26.25/3 = 8.75 hours per year

    Which is an average of nearly an episode a year that we’ve lost out on.

    Looking at the next 12 months we will have another 8 standard episodes plus any anniversary broadcasts and another special. If the anniversary is only an hour then that’s probably going to mean we’ll only have 8 hours in total this year and so over the 4 years since The Eleventh Hour we will have had;

    March 2010 – March 2014
    34.25/4 = 8.506 hours per year

    But what if they made a 90 minute long special or 2x 1hour anniversary special episodes?

    Suddenly the average could be;

    March 2010 – March 2014
    35.25/4 = 8.8 hours per year based on 2 x 1 hour anniversary

    Which would mean that we get fewer episodes a year than under Rusty, but the Moff average is rising, if only just. It’s all conjecture as nothing has been confirmed and series 8 had better run only in 2014 to avoid me getting agitated again (nurse fetch my tranquilisers please) but I don’t feel quite as robbed as some round these parts.

    Only a few more weeks until 7b kicks off – hopefully 2 months later we will still have plenty more left to see this year and it’s all as good as we would like. Oh dear I can see Moffs problem now… If he tried to please the lot of us it will turn into another pile of tosh like Dimensions or Fatal Death.

    Give up now and chuck the pen at Gattiss or Roberts or even get the fans to write scenes on forums then you can all blame each other for the drivel produced in a rush.

    We will miss him when he goes so let’s enjoy him while he’s still in the job!

  9. avatar Ryan says:

    Yeah I don’t like this at all. I know we don’t know anything yet but unless we’re getting a full Series 8 this year (to make up for only 6 episodes in 2012) then it’s not looking good. I mean, what, is it gonna be like this now:

    Series 8, Part 1: Autumn 2014
    Series 8, Part 2: Spring 2015
    Series 9, Part 1: Autumn 2016
    Series 9, Part 2: Spring 2017

    I mean, I thought the split was so we’d have less of a wait between episodes, but it just seems it’s so they only have to produce half the episodes per year so Moffat can focus on Sherlock and Matt can do other things. Shame really.

  10. avatar Joel Mellor says:

    I don’t believe a word of it. One season over two years. No new season this year- there won’t be- they don’t have the time left to schedule and film it. There may be more than one anniversary special, but that is looking increasingly unlikely.
    There clearly is a major issue here. You do not cut the episode count of one of your top rated shows (and most successful show internationally) unless something has gone severely pear-shaped. This is not a ‘creative decision’, it was a budgetary one.
    We have a drama about the start of Doctor Who. We have an anniversary special(s) that may/may not be replacing the Christmas Special. And we have been lied to and let down over series 8- which we have no reason to think won’t be spread out over 2014/2015.
    What more? Documentaries about Doctor Who? Seen it all before. I didn’t mourn the end of Confidential- it was starting to get repetitive- we don’t need any more of this.
    The best way to celebrate the 50th is with an actual season and multiple specials. Actual Doctor Who. There is no longer any need for patience. There is a need for Moffat and the BBC to actually get off their collective backsides and say what is happening and build some anticipation. But they won’t, because there is nothing to get excited about, apart from a special. Prove me wrong by announcing some scheduling, casting or writers. They won’t, because there isn’t anything to announce. Rubbish.

    • avatar Derooftrouser says:

      Oh, give over.

      When have we been lied to – never.

      “series 8- which we have no reason to think won’t be spread out over 2014/2015″ We have no reason to assume it won’t only be broadcast in black and white over 2018-2042, what with *nothing* having been announced.

      “Prove me wrong by announcing some scheduling, casting or writers. They won’t, because there isn’t anything to announce.”

      The BBC aren’t in the business of pandering to entitled fanboys. They’re in the business of making Doctor Who, and focussing on promoting what’s happening *next month*, not at the end of the year.

      • avatar Joel Mellor says:

        When have we been lied to?

        1. Moffat saying that the reason for the shift to Autumn was so that Who could be on in the dark. This was nonsense. It was to facilitate a cut in episodes. We were lied to.
        2. ‘Doctor Who will take over the airwaves for the anniversary’. This was clearly an exaggeration, but there will not be enough episodes produced to take over even a night in the schedules.
        3. Series 7a is being spun as ‘new’. It is the leftovers from last year, as no new series episodes were being made this year. Lies.

        ‘The BBC aren’t in the business of pandering to entitled fanboys’.

        Hmmm. Who is asking them to? I have made the observation that no new Who (apart from an anniversary special being produced in April) is scheduled to be made. How long do you think that these things take? Do you think they’ll start filming Series 8 in August for transmission this year? Really? Why do you think Mark Gatiss’ drama is being filmed now and being shown for the anniversary? It takes ages.

        I am not saying Moffat should include this or that in the anniversary at all. I’m not arguing about content. What he writes is up to him. What I do expect is new Doctor Who produced, in this year, of all years.
        Honestly, some of the people who post here don’t seem to understand the effort that it takes to produce a TV show. Or do you think that they just get together a month before and it all falls into place?
        There is a reason ‘nothing’ has been announced. It’s because, apart from Gatiss’ drama, the anniversary special, a possible Christmas special (if it hasn’t been replaced by the anniversary special) and a few rumoured documentaries, there is nothing to announce. Unless it has been filmed in secret.

        At least Danny Cohen has been honest- we have a cut in episodes and less Who will be produced.

        • avatar Derooftrouser says:

          BBC – “we haven’t announced what we have planned to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ yet, but we would like to assure you that fans won’t be disappointed.”

          You – “They’ve announced everything and I’m very disappointed.”

          Look at the words in the article. Think what they might mean.

          • avatar Joel Mellor says:

            I have never stated “They’ve announced everything and I’m very disappointed.”. This is complete fallacy. Where have I said that?

            I have read the article. I have responded to the article. There is a huge gap in ‘we would like to assure you that fans won’t be disappointed’, described in it and the lack of a production schedule (Matt Smith being unavailable May/June shooting a film).

            You clearly don’t like the conclusions I have drawn, so you choose to twist what I have said as you cannot respond in a civil, logical way.

          • avatar Derooftrouser says:

            Perhaps you can clarify what you meant by “Prove me wrong by announcing some scheduling, casting or writers. They won’t, because there isn’t anything to announce. Rubbish.”

  11. avatar John Stanowski says:

    It’s seems to me that the BBC is trying to save money by making less Who. Unless they provide a complete series in 2013 in addition the second half of Series 7, which I highly doubt, then they just got away with cheating the viewers. I wouldn’t mind, myself, if this was done to help make something utterly amazing for the anniversary but really that could only mean bringing back old Doctors and it’s been made clear that’s not likely or even possible on any significant scale.

  12. avatar lauren says:

    Does anyone out there think the splits might be getting longer due to writer’s block?

    • avatar John says:

      I DO. Half of the episodes we’ve seen since Series 4 have been written by Moffat and Gatiss, the same team that tackles “Sherlock” (and others in Gatiss’ case). I’m right, check my math. Never has there been such an insular writing group for Doctor Who, even in Nathan-Turner’s day. Gaiman’s the sole exception to what’s a becoming a VERY exclusive club, and that’s going to start to show, I fear…..

      The books, e-books, and Big Finish products show that a LOT of writers can successfully write for the Doctor. Why won’t the parent show have the same imagination?!?!?!

  13. avatar Ian says:

    I got a similar response from the BBC. I think this year we will just get specials rather than a series.
    Thanks for contacting us regarding the ‘Doctor Who’ programme.

    We understand you feel there is insufficient programming planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the series.

    We haven’t announced what we have planned to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ yet but we would like to assure you that fans won’t be disappointed. As details have not been confirmed at this stage, we would suggest that you keep an eye on the ‘Doctor Who’ programme page for information when it becomes available:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006q2x0

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/doctorwho/

    With this in mind let me assure you that as we’re guided by the feedback we receive I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, the scheduling team and other senior managers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

    Kind Regards

    John Murray

    BBC Complaints

  14. avatar Ian says:

    I have enjoyed most of Moffats work, though last year left me feeling disappointed. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Angels take Manhattan & the Snowman were the only ones I liked, also glad to see the back of the Ponds.

  15. avatar Joel says:

    Why was my comment not posted? By expressing an opinion, have I breached any rules?


    • No, but as your first post I have to moderate it :)

      • avatar Joel Mellor says:

        Apologies!

  16. avatar Spider-pope says:

    Given that nothing beyond the behind the scenes drama has been announced, it’s a bit early to decry the 50th anniversary as insufficient. We’re only in the early days of Feb after all.

  17. avatar Derooftrouser says:

    Doctor Who fans – people who, if they haven’t been told in March what they’re getting for Christmas, assume the whole thing’s been cancelled.

    There’s over nine months until the anniversary and EIGHT EPISODES before then, starting next month.

    • avatar Joel Mellor says:

      Eight episodes left over from last year. No new season this year. One season over 2012/2013. We’re missing a season. Add it up.
      They are filming the Anniversary Special in April. Matt Smith is then starring in Ryan Gosling’s new production in May/June. When do you suppose that they are filming Series 8? They aren’t as there is no time to do so. We will be lucky to get an anniversary special and a Christmas special this year.

      • avatar Derooftrouser says:

        When were we promised 14 episodes a year in perpetuity? We’re ‘missing’ nothing.

        In answer to your question – July? August? September? October? These are all months that I believe we’re having in 2013.

        You’re assuming the worst. Fair enough, but don’t go claiming you know what we’ll be ‘lucky to get’.

        • avatar John Shandler says:

          Are you unaware how TV production works? They are filming Mark Gatiss’ drama now for showing in the final quarter of 2013. They will be filming the anniversary special in April for showing in November. Do you really think that they are suddenly going to start cramming in filming for a new series in July, August, September and October? That won’t leave time for post-production, music composition and sfx.
          I don’t think that Joel is assuming the worst- just observing what is and isn’t going on.
          Compare how things are now to the 2010 specials. DT wanted to do other things. RTD informed the fans, well in advance, that there would be no full season, just specials. No real outcry, although people will always want more Who. The fans were briefed and therefore no problem.
          Now- one season over two years. Part two of the series presented as a ‘new’ bunch of episodes. No filming for anything new. No, we don’t have a right to 14 episodes a year in perpetuity- but telling us what is going on is something we do have a right to, as fans and license fee payers.
          So we are missing something. A season. An announcement. The ‘so much Who, we won’t be off air’ promised by Moffat. Well put Joel.

          • avatar Derooftrouser says:

            The new episodes *are* new, aren’t they?

            And no, you don’t have a right to be told eleven months in advance what the anniversary plans are. Why would you think you did? What other show gets announcements that far in advance?

  18. avatar Drew says:

    It sounds promising what with the “…fans won’t be disappointed.” but hopefully that is actually true! Honestly. I don’t mind the split seasons–I realize we’re getting fewer episodes–but if that’s the way it has to be for a while while the BBC figures out it’s budgets, I can live with it. I also think we’re getting episodes with better quality–the first part of season 7 was very impressive, with evedry episode being like a mini-movie. I have watched Asylum many times (which hasn’t happened since the Eccleston days) and Dinosaurs too. Mercy looked fabulous, Power of 3 was one of the best episodes ever until the horribly disappointing last 15 minutes, and many people think Angels is an instant classic. If they are using the budget in smarter and better ways, to make quality episodes like these, then I am OK with a smaller amount of episodes. (As long as it doesn’t eventually dwindle to nothing, but it is Doctor Who, so it won’t.) BTW, wouldn’t Netflix or Amazon in the USA be willing to fund more episodes? Netflix alone has money to burn, and DW is one of their most popular streamed shows.

  19. avatar Endy says:

    First time I have ever bothered to post on anything but all this is doing my poor tired head in. There is a faction in Doctor Who fandom who to a fool like me do not seem to enjoy the program at all, but are quickly vocal and always very critical of what is happening around as well as in it
    To start with what was wrong with last years episodes to claim they were all poor or not very good is simply inviting more bad press for fandom. They were sumptuously made and for the most part very good. Nothing is perfect but most were given great critical acclaim outside of fandom as well as good audience figures all over the world.. A couple of them plus the Christmas episode came close to perfection.
    Now as far as the mandatory requirement of 13 episodes per year (I know you will say 14 but is the Christmas one in the contract that must have been signed with fans?) Would it have ever been wise to hold them to that. I mean Merlin never missed a season (one might have been a little late to fit schedules) nor did Robin Hood. They always got their mandatory 13 episodes. Oh and they got cancelled too.
    I do not know know what they are doing for November. My thinking is a 25 minute episode every night and a Movie length special on the Saturday. Now that is taking over television.
    Great idea somebody had to stop anyone involved in the show do anything else, that is if you want them to leave now.
    I think the BBC know they have a big and very special show here and I am sorry but us fans are not that important. We are a tiny percentage of those watching all around the world. Perhaps that’s why we don’t get to know what’s happening before anyone else? I think they are looking after their show very well. Is it not better that people still want more rather than less!!
    If in the end all we get is a one hour special in November then I will be disappointed.Until that happens I trust those in charge that they will come up with a bit more than that. Who knows?
    There is a very small minority of so called fans who try to suck us into a hate campaign against the BBC or whoever the show runner is at any given time. Look what a tough time they have all had over the years. I think this tiny minority of idiots must hate the shows success. Hate that boys and girls from 5 years old to 105 years old all over the world have fallen in love with a show these fans loved better when it was their show. Tucked away in a dark dusty corner only the faithful few knowing it still breathed.
    Even if there is an episode every night in November these people will find plenty to be unhappy about and lets face it if they were in charge we would not be getting any specials or episodes for that matter just like ten years ago when it was still their show.
    Let the rest of us celebrate. I never though when I watched the first episode in November 1963 that I would be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2013 with millions and millions of other fans. How fantastic is that and thank you to all those who have made it possible.

    • avatar Jim says:

      Quite the contrary. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I do love the show. No one was more excited when Moffat was announced. It is precisely that I love e show so much that I express my concerns. I don’t care what they do with the anniversary, but I am disappointed that series 8 will be delayed by a year. He told us that they engineered the split so that The show would air during more favorable seasons i.e. not summer when everyone was outside From his own mouth:

      “What I love about this idea is that when kids see Doctor Who go off the air, they will be noticeably taller when it comes back. It’s an age for children. With an Easter series, an autumn series and a Christmas special, you are never going to be more than few months from the new series of Doctor Who.”
      So did I fell like he meant that and I could expect it to happen? Yes I did. Am I disappointed because it is now not happening? Yes I am. And unfortunately yes I am one of those people who loved everything he did up to and including The Eleventh Hour…. But since then…. There have been very few bright spots for me from a writing perspective. The comtrived and illogical plots are really hard to take. But that is a comment for a different feed I am sure…. And if they come out with something sp spectacular that I forget this low period…have no fear, I will be celebrating right along with you…. Here’s hoping!


  20. As a life long fan watching from the age of 4 (im 45 now)
    theres only two things going to happen
    1 – A total and utter damp squib / total balls up
    2 – sheer magic / genius
    the series has generated in my oponion millions in revenue for the bbc / merchandisers
    so im expecting rather something magical ( come on bbc we the fans gave you the money and the following , and yes you gave us the most fantastic series ever with a legion of fans).
    the tenth anniversary was fantastic
    the 25th pretty dam good
    the others not so great
    This is the big one in my book the 50th if they can give us something that when televised all you can hear is the sound of jaws hitting the floor in amazement then thats good
    last thing we want is the air filled with shrieks “what the hell ….”
    in all fairness moff has got his work cut out on this one and its going to be a difficult job to please everyone , so lets all hold off on what he should do (and im guilty of it as well) and lets see what they deliver for the 50th , then we can go on a crucification crusade

    scotty

    ps just a thought
    but i wonder if MOFF will bring RTD on board i think between them they could do a fantastic job

  21. avatar Joseph M says:

    Sorry to sound pessimistic as well, but when has the Beeb ever given us more than what they say they will ~8-9 months before it happens… I agree that unless they have filmed more than they said, which is a slight possibility, the likelihood that we will have more than what has been announced is small.

    The “lies” that the Moff et al state they do are typically just spoilers that manage to be kept, not necessarily more that isn’t known. Although they have promised more, I have major doubts we will get more than what has already been announced now, at least in terms of new programming.

    That being said, I am very glad we have 8 new episodes this spring, the 50th anniversary special and the Mark Gatiss special. I doubt there is a series 8 coming this year and agree the earliest we will likely see that is fall 2014… :(

    • avatar Alex says:

      There’s nothing going on that suggests Series 8 won’t air in the spring of 2014, just as the first four seasons did. If Smith is filming the Christmas special in the summer (as Moffat implied at BFI) that puts the show back on a production schedule for an Easter start.

  22. avatar Tim Cole says:

    When David Tennant left we had a two-parter (60 mins and 75 mins) to mark the fact – which I rather thought made him seem more important than the programme. If the BBC fobs everyone off with one episode (even if it is 90 mins) to mark 50 years then I will be a tad irritated.

    Alternatively, they may be making a six-parter to be aired from the week of November 23 with 5 x 25 mins episodes running through to a 60 mins conclusion on Christmas Day, in which case I will be rather delighted.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  23. avatar Ian says:

    The fact remains we are not getting a full series of Dr Who these days. Sereis 8 will probably start late next year.
    Another thing, a lot of retailers did not take up the Dr Who figures, hardly surprising when the show is off and on.
    Thinking about it, Call the Midwife and Downtown Abbey gets more promotion on BBC shows than Dr Who, even though Downtown is an ITV show.
    The BBC have plans they say, lets hope so, but still two months until filming of the special starts, three more months until we will get some news, Moffat said he will talk about the anniversary once S8 is over. I hope they are going to be filming more WHO over the summer.


  24. Some examples:

    http://www.kasterborous.com/kforum/doctor-who/50th-anniversary-screenings-on-bbc-one-what-would-you-choose/#p68767

    http://www.kasterborous.com/kforum/other-shows-and-genres/red-dwarf-series-three-issue/

    http://www.kasterborous.com/kforum/world-of-sport/football-season-2012-2013/

  25. avatar Alex says:

    If anyone is looking for proof that there is more in store for the anniversary than the BBC has announced, make note of Steven Moffat confirming at the BFI screening over the weekend that Matt will be filming the 2013 Christmas special after he’s done the Monster movie. That promotional material people keep quoting made no reference to such a thing. That’s not to say the Christmas special will explicitly be anniversary-related, but it will still air only a month after the other one, so it’s not as if we’ll be making do without all that time.

  26. avatar BOJAY says:

    Just as an aside, threads like these, well at least most of the above comments, make me so glad that I am not the showrunner of Doctor Who. It’s no wonder Steven Moffat quit Twitter, and why RTD, and now he himself have stayed well clear of fandom, and just got on with making Doctor Who the wonder it is to this day. They put in the hard work, RTD bringing it back and Steven Moffat keeping it vital, and would hear nothing but ingratitude if they chose to listen. I need a show like Doctor Who (though there is no other “like” it) to love, and obviously some people need a show like Doctor Who to hate. It’s not that the show should be immune to criticism, everyone entitled to their opinions, but some of these comments reveal that some of you people should find something else to watch, really. This is just as bad, if not worse, as the attitude amongst that very vocal, very SMALL contigent of “fans” that were around back in the late eighties when the show got cancelled. There’s the fire, dance in it if you will.

  27. avatar BOJAY says:

    There was a small but VERY vocal contigent of so-called “fans” that began to really attack John Nathan Turner in the late eighties. There were newsletters, letter writing campaigns, and alledgedly, even death threats against him. The show was crap, and he was declared incompetent, along with demands that he resign, or that the BBC fire him. Some “fans” even insisted that they could produce the show better themselves (imagine that). His partner, Gary Downie, later related how much this hurt John personally. Here was John, fighting to keep Doctor Who in production, dealing with a very indifferent, even hostile BBC, and here was this peanut gallery calling for his head. He’d even tried to leave the show, but the BBC trapped him in, until they finally pulled the plug, of course. It wasn’t so much that this group supported the cancellation (I think that they might have thought that Doctor Who was impervious to cancellation, being a british institution and all), but they made it easy for the BBC to take out the axe. When you consider this, and also that Steven Moffat hasn’t made some of the misteps, nor faced and indifferent of hostile BBC, as JNT did, it really brings perspective to the bile being spewed by some of these current “fans”.

  28. avatar BOJAY says:

    Gary Russell has noted that John Nathan Turner would probably have gone crazy had the internet been a reality during his time……….


    • The Internet WAS a reality during his time! There are some pretty vociferous opinions archived on Google Groups from the old bulletin boards and Usenet.

      Unfortunately, Google Group’s archives of these discussions seems to be missing a hell of a lot now, so I can’t link to any of them :(

      • avatar BOJAY says:

        Wow, color me ignorant. There was Google back in the late eighties? This i did not know. But Gary did make that comment in a DWM article not so long ago, and at a convention I attended last November. He knew John, so I guess JNT didn’t frequent the Google Groups at that time.


        • NO, there wasn’t a Google. But there was an Internet, and some of it is archived by Google.

          The World Wide Web, upon which websites sit, is often confused with the term Internet. But the two are quite different. The Internet has been around since the late 1970s/early 1980s, initially as a military tool that was then adopted by universities for email.

  29. avatar BOJAY says:

    I was just wondering, because though there was a World Wide Web in the late eighties, as you noted, there couldn’t possibily have been access to it on the level we have now. So, while I’m sure there were Doctor Who related discussions then, they can’t have been near the discourse we have now. So I think Gary’s comment was meant to apply to the reality that nowadays, anyone, or just about anyone has access to the internet, and blogs, chats, forums, etc., and had JNT dealt with the sheer volume of dialogue we now encounter he would have been driven crazy.


    • Oh I agree, but note there wasn’t a World Wide Web in the 1980s, and I didn’t say that there was.

      There was an Internet (an “inter-connected network)that was the home of bulletin boards, the precursors of newsgroups and later forums. Think the old US TV show Whiz Kids and the classic Wargames as examples, and compare these to what we now use – web pages etc. They’re quite different, not just in the visual approach!

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