Editorial DW Finale

Published on May 6th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Sub-Editorial: Save Me From Negativity!

Okay, I’m near the end of my tether.

I can’t believe the overwhelming negativity of not only so-called Doctor Who fans (let’s face it, we’re known to moan about just about anything) but also casual viewers who seem to tune in merely to complain about how Doctor Who has ‘gone downhill. Cancel it now.’

Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror

I must be watching a different programme.

Every week, I watch the best drama on TV and expect people to love it just as much as me. Personally, I don’t think we’ve had a below-par episode this series – and yes, I include The Rings of Akhaten too, as I loved it. However, trawl the internet and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Doctor Who is the worst thing on the box, a jewel in the crown until that pesky Moffat and that awful Matt Smith came aboard. Top Gear is the best show; intellectually stimulating, well-thought-out, balanced and with wholly likely people at the helm – although it has close competition from Britain’s Got Talent.

This is an era heralded by Steven Moffat, a writer at the top of his (or anybody else’s game), who fans proclaimed as ‘a cert for next showrunner’ when Russell T. Davies was in charge. And this is Matt Smith, a relative unknown until he burst onto screens in 2010 and is a strong contender for Best Doctor Ever.

Doctor Who: Matt Smith studied comedy legends when researching the role.

So what are people’s problems…? As a writer and someone who hopes to work on Doctor Who someday, it’s something I have to figure out. And it’s increasingly frustrating. I’m not sure I understand. Let me try to puzzle it out…

Firstly, many reason that the show just ‘isn’t good anymore/is a bore/is dire’ without any back-up argument. There’s very little to argue over here. I think it’s better than ever/is exciting/is thought-provoking.’ Without backing up my argument, mine is just as valid as the moaners’. However, if I back mine up by saying that in just one month, Doctor Who tackled our reliance on technology and each other, religion and the idea of faith as power, the notions of war and honour, and love and prejudice… would my argument be more valid? Apparently not.

Still, I maintain that Doctor Who is still as good as it’s ever been, if not better.

Whilst I love the Russell T. Davies era (which I pick on solely because that is what most of the audience compare the current era with), it wasn’t perfect. People seem to don their rose-tinted glasses and forget this. In Journey’s End, Rose returned. Why? Well, because. That’s why. Donna also saved everything by flicking some buttons.

Which companion is you favourite...?

In Last of the Time Lords, two of the best actors in the nation were face-to-face. John Simm and David Tennant. This is gonna be good. Ah, but no; the latter is sidelined – CGI! – thanks to a bonkers plot which saw the Doctor get smaller.

Doctor Who has got sillier. I mean, people whose heads are concave, leeches that feed off old women and Akhaten’s aliens whose faith leads them to sing? Ridiculous! Almost as ridiculous as that old whipping boy, the Slitheen, a Dalek-human hybrid and Gridlock’s aliens whose faith leads them to sing! Shush: no one mention the Absorbaloff!

(Furthermore, what’s wrong with silly?)

But this isn’t an attack on previous episodes, because they’re great too. The Slitheen are silly in some aspects, but they’re horrible in others. Equally, the Spoonheads are a crazy idea, but one pulled off brilliantly. I’m merely trying to point out that those episodes you look back on as top quality might not be as seamless as they appear.

A ‘problem’ of the current series is it’s constricted to just 45 minutes per story. A ‘problem’ with previous stories is that many are stretched over two episodes.

dw-s3-utopia-watch

In the past, I can’t ever remember reading that 45 minutes isn’t long enough. However, I do recall people saying that two-parters don’t work. Maybe a solution is a one-and-a-half-parter, even though that is a physical impossibility. True, some two-parters are stretched too far. Many people’s prime example is The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People, which, while I enjoyed, I knew some wouldn’t, strictly from a writing point-of-view. If you want to carry a story across more than one ‘act,’ then you need to change the scene to some degree. Look at The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone. In the first part, we were on a beach by some cliffs, then exploring caves. In part two, we were in a spaceship – and then a forest (!) before, of course, balancing the whole adventure out by returning to the beach.

It’s not just locations that are an example here. Shine a light on The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang and we travel between the past and the present beautifully. Similarly, Utopia works as a three-part story, joined onto The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time Lords because it’s so far in the future, compared to the modern-day ground-level work of the next two.

Two-parters are, essentially, nuWho’s four-parters, which worked for over 25 years. But we’ve somehow established that, regardless, two-parters don’t work.

dw-s6-rebelflesh-gall4

The solution is self-contained episodes. Simple. Until Moffat announced this, and people began to think that 45 minutes simply isn’t long enough.

Does that make sense to you? Because it certainly doesn’t to me.

It seems that if you announce something – ie. the series’ ‘movie-feel’ – people will take note and they will criticise.

Most noteworthy, everybody knows that Steven Moffat absolutely hates Doctor Who. He detests it. And wants to kill it.

Who? That guy who only got into the industry because he wanted to work on the show? The one who knows everything about it, whether it’s naming an episode based on a still, noting production codes, or telling co-writers which companions have met the Daleks on screen? The bloke pictured as a child, reading Doctor Who and the Daleks, and saying in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine how much he loves that very first episode?

Yeah, you’re right. He hates Doctor Who.

dw-s6-godcomplex1-hp3

He’s also made the show too complex. Pure conjecture, there.

Yes, it’s complex – but it’s always been. There certainly are more timey-wimey stories, but that’s no bad thing, surely? It’s one of the main aspects of the show! As Peter Davison noted in the documentary for Mawdryn Undead, children seem to understand complexities more than adults, perhaps because they pay attention. Surely, a show that demands you take note is to be celebrated; it does not need to dumb down, and if it ever does, I’d prefer it be cancelled. TV should never strive to be dumb – nothing should. That attitude is disgusting.

Similarly, there are those who say Doctor Who is too simple – it’s for kids. Make your minds up. And once you do, compare it to other shows. I mean, really compare it. If you still think this, there’s probably no help for you.

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS 7

I was shocked to go online after The Crimson Horror to find more people complaining that the sonic screwdriver is used far too much. Genuinely shocked – because writer, Mark Gatiss, gives a knowing nod to this argument with… Well, with a chair. I’m hoping that the audience will be more positive once Nightmare in Silver is broadcast, thanks to the power of Neil Gaiman. But then, I also predict a raft of people preparing their ‘it’s not as good as The Doctor’s Wife’ comments before they’ve even seen it.

But why? Why, why, why do people have this bewildering view of Doctor Who now? I think it might be summed up in one word: familiarity.

It’s a regular show in a semi-regular time slot. It’s part of Saturday night TV – and that’s given it this odd notion of being, somehow, ‘throwaway.’ Even the Radio Times have decreased their coverage recently because hey, the audience are familiar with it. The BBC has got into a habit of non-promotion too. In 2010, we had a coach touring the nation, interviews on every show you could wish for, and 3D screenings of the first few seconds of The Eleventh Hour in major cities across the country.

In 2013, we have trailers.

Rory and Amy meet the Doctor in The Eleventh Hour

It’s a worrying viewpoint. This negativity for the sake of negativity is one of the reasons Doctor Who was cancelled at the end of the 1980s, at a time when the show was simply brilliant. This is the attitude that left the 1990s nearly without onscreen adventures at all. And it’s something that I’m particularly disturbed by; if Doctor Who were still on when I was a child, I might’ve been a fan earlier than 2005.

Please don’t be negative for the sake of it. Doctor Who is still as good as it ever was and, perhaps in a few years’ time, this season will be seen as one of the best. Attitudes change over time – and I hope this current trend to belittle anything that’s not base-level reality television will be over sooner rather than later.

Doctor Who is for everyone. Just be a bit more optimistic, please.

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About the Author

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When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.




207 Responses to Sub-Editorial: Save Me From Negativity!


  1. Love your article, and I so absolutely agree with you. I have loved the show from the Tom Baker days. I am sure there are several classic episodes with which I might find a few “faults” here and there. I feel the same way about many of my favorite other TV shows and some of my favorite novels. But I love Doctor Who–all it represents, all its possibilities, and all it continues to contribute to the concepts of science fiction, friendship, loyalty, adventure, courage, doing the right thing.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hey Marie,

      Thanks for your support – glad you liked it. :)

  2. avatar Gary says:

    Hi as a fan of old and new series the current second half of the season something has changed and something has been lost, I can’t put my finger on exactly what, I hoping for something special soon!
    maybe this should be the year we get a new doctor

    • avatar David F says:

      I also feel there’s something missing from the show at the moment. Not sure whether it’s the lack of longer stories, or the disconnect with the companion-figure that comes from our POV character being a mystery to us.

      But I never let myself believe that I’m right. No two fans have the same list of favourite Who stories, or the same list of disappointments. Any time I’m not into it so much, I know other people will be, and I just wait for the wheel to turn.

      Whenever the show fails to hit the right note for my taste, I just shrug, and wait, and know that at some point it will align itself with my tastes again. I never start ranting about hating it, because that would be ridiculous. The range of my feelings towards Doctor Who runs from passionate love to mild, brief disappointment. And that’s as negative as I can be about it.

      Expressing hatred for its makers would be like marrying the love of my life, and then screaming at her and threatening divorce because she leaves the cap off the toothpaste.

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        Please don’t go there, David. It’s a sensitive subject: I’ve lost far too many wives through them leaving the cap off the toothpaste. ;) Very nice analogy though.

  3. avatar Andrew says:

    I have been watching Doctor Who for over 40 years and there is one thing I have learned — not every story, nor every producer’s era is for everybody. Despite that, even bad Doctor Who is still full of lots of bits to enjoy (with some stories, the trick is that you have to look a little harder). If we must make comparisons, which seems to be what people do, it is better not to call things good or bad, but merely to say that some things speak to me and other things don’t. In the time since Stephen Moffat took over, the simple truth is that there have been more stories that do not speak to me. Of the RTD produced stories, a greater percentage were right in my wheelhouse.

    As to those people who are calling for the show to be canceled, ignore them. It is a show and the Beeb is in business. As long as the ratings are there and the show continues to make money worldwide, it isn’t going to be canceled.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Thanks for expressing your opinions without having to insult anyone or stating that something “sucks”. Civility and class go a long way………

  4. avatar Sipodge says:

    I’m on the side of “Who is going downhill, cancel it now”. I’ll explain:
    As of late, the storylines have been plot-arc city. The series relies pretty-much entirely upon plot-arcs now. We can’t get through an episode without The Doctor winging about how confused he is about Clara. The writing IS getting shoddy too. Short-cuts are being made in episodes to get to the point quicker – For example – In “Bells of St. John” (Which was, in fact, a good episode) an anti-grav motorbike was thrown in so we could whiz forward to the ending quicker… Or it was thrown in because Moffat couldn’t think of any way to finish it properly? Also, there are more and more plot-holes and errors. Things like Clara magically being able to fly a space-motorbike (Rings of A.) and also being able to fly the TARDIS (Hide) plus the Russians (Or were they British?) firing guns left-right-and-center in the submarine in Cold War.
    Honestly, I review every episode PROPERLY writing down good and bad points about the episode, every minor little detail and the scores for the episodes are going down, drastically. I’m not the only person who thinks this. I can think of at least 10 people I know who agree with me, including my entire family and most of my friends.
    Granted, the show does have good episodes these days (Journey to the center of the TARDIS and Crimson Horror being two) but there are still lots of bad episodes. It’s like when the show was coming to the end of its first run in the late 80s when McCoy was Doctor. A lot of the episodes were darn rubbish but there were some which stood out and were amazing, like Remembrance of the Daleks and Survival. When they cancelled the show after Survival, they stopped it from moving away from what Doctor Who was liked and loved for. That’s why it should be cancelled now – Moffat wants to move Doctor Who away from the show it was in RTD’s era and change it into something new. Learn from the past.
    That is all.

    • avatar Bradondo says:

      Why do you insist it should be cancelled? If you think it’s broken why not say “fix it” instead? The show has gone through many producers and showrunners and will in the future (provided the “cancellers” don’t get their way). If you don’t like Moffatt sit tight and wait for the next one. Moffatt has already said he’s closer to his end than his beginning. Why be so anxious to destroy the show outright?

    • avatar Art DeWitt says:

      I have been a fan of The Doctor since Tom Baker and one thing I believe is that a bad episode of the Doctor is better than 90 percent of the crap on TV today.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Well then, the show must be cancelled. Your entire family and most of your friends think so, so it simply has to go. Is there any other wisdom and guidance you can impart to us, oh great one? Please, just stop watching, you, your entire family, and most of your friends simply don’t even begin to represent the worldwide audience that loves and watches Doctor Who. THAT is all.

    • avatar Douglas Slee says:

      The show SHOULD move away from what it was in the RTD era, since the show couldn’t go more than 4 episodes without mentioning Rose.
      Doctor Who has been and always WILL BE a show that changes and grows. Jon Pertwee’s era is NOTHING like Patrick Troughton’s era. Heck, Tom Baker’s first season as the Doctor is NOTHING like his 6th season as the Doctor.
      If you can’t accept the fact that the show is completely different from RTD’s “It’s the Rose Tyler show!”, then you should stick to procedural shows like Law And Order and CSI where nothing EVER changes.

    • avatar iank says:

      Sorry, but I don’t see any resemblance to the late 80s and today. Seasons 25 and 26 were and remain first class Who – you can’t say the same for 99/9% of series 7 IMHO…

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I don’t think, if I may be so bold, that the “similarities” between late eighties Doctor Who and today’s show are in the actual show. Doctor Who is a completely different entity today in the way it’s written and produced, because it has evolved. It’s the same Doctor, the same universe, the same mythology, being a direct continuation, and not a reboot, but it has changed. I completely agree with you about the latter McCoy era, the “Cartmel Master Plan”. It put the show back on track, and it was brilliant. Unfortunately a bit too late in the game, though, as an indifferent, and even hostile BBC, and viewing figures that were really sinking (as opposed to the imagined sinking figures of today) had already sealed its fate. It appeared that what was present of active fandom had begun to take Doctor Who for granted. I think people are making comparisons to the sheer amount of criticism, which is completely lacking in civility, and the apparent sheer hatred of the show being thrown about that seems to be festering currently. The calls for Moffat to resign, or be fired, the calls for the show to be cancelled, do mirror the state of things as they were back then. “Fans” who can’t seem able to find anything to like or love about the current show. The whole environment of negativity. If you don’t care for the current Who (and by the last bit in your comments, I take it that you perhaps don’t), that’s how you feel, and that’s fine. But, at least in your above comments, it doesn’t seem like you’re waging a slag campaign against it. You don’t need to tear anything or anyone down to express your opinion.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          I agree, Bob.

          And I’ve got to say, all this nonsense about viewing figures decreasing is just ignoring the masses of material and evidence that tell otherwise. The way people view Doctor Who has changed. Since 2005, which is when many are comparing with, there are more repeats, as well as a HD channel and iPlayer. These weren’t available in 2005, and have increased in following. It’s sad, but I don’t know anyone who watches the show live anymore; they all catch it on iPlayer. I watch it live because hey, I love Who.

          It’s also shown in more territories worldwide than ever before and is a massive hit in America.

          Listen to DWM editor, Tom Spilsbury, who’s the voice of authority on the matter.

          • avatar Jules says:

            Yup. I’m from South Africa and though we get the premiers a bit after you I make sure to catch it live and on my PVR which is like your iPlayer, I think. I love to watch each episode more than once.

      • avatar Douglas Slee says:

        Really? You’re actually saying that Happiness Patrol, Silver Nemesis, Greatest Show In The Galaxy, and Battlefield are better than 99.9% of Nu-Who season 7?
        I’m a die-hard Who fan who actually likes those stories, but even *I* can’t say that with a straight face.

  5. Pingback: Sipodge's Doctor Who Reviews

  6. avatar Bradondo says:

    Bravo, Philip! I didn’t wait 18 years for my favourite show to return so I could hear a bunch of bitter back-biters bury it in groundless hate. If you love Who you support it in a positive way. This doesn’t mean you can’t have critical opinions or dislike aspects of it but it does mean you don’t trash talk it just to be trendy–and yes, Who bashing has become trendy since the series popularity has exploded in the past few years. When I was a young fan of the original series there were fewer of us than now and it did engender a certain sense of ownership and community, but Who is now a phenomenon, more expansive and popular than ever. Some people have decided that this means it’s not good or cool anymore, to which I say go find some crappy, obscure dreck nobody else wants to watch and get your sense of entitlement stroked that way, but leave the rest of us to enjoy the best show on television. Personally I feel vindicated by the recent and unprecedented popularity of Who–it means to me that I was ahead of the curve and recognized something truly special before most of the world caught on. Now that they have I welcome them and even envy them their moments of discovery. The haters and naysayers need to remember this: the more people watch the more Who we get. Moffatt has led us to a level of worldwide acceptance unique in Who history. Stop being so selfish and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got.

    End of rant! :)

    • avatar John Shandler says:

      It does not make you a Doctor Who hater to dislike the way Moffat runs the show. And we are getting less Doctor Who now- far less. So how does that tally with ‘the more people watch the more Who we get’? It doesn’t.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Start making sense if you wish to make a constructive point. Just a suggestion, mind you……

        • avatar John Shandler says:

          I am making perfect sense. We no longer get 13 episodes a year. 5 last year and 8 this year. That’s not 13 episodes a year. Constructive point made.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            Have you even bothered to take in anything that’s been said about budget cutbacks, mandates sent down from the top of the BBC, and Steven Moffat and his team having to somehow keep the show moving? These are realities, not subjective opinions. The current economic climate is necessitating changes in the amount of Doctor Who being made, and even prompted FX houses like the Mill to shut down its television operations. This is happening despite Doctor Who enjoying healthy viewing figures in worldwide markets. More people, on a global level, are watching it than ever before. The fact that it’s still on the air is a testament that the BBC are committed to producing the show, but are constrained to do so in more frugal, cost efficient ways. This is also why Confidential was cancelled. I personally would love to see 13 episodes a year, but I don’t think that’s ever going to be the case again. Split series, a lesser number of episodes per series, or some variation thereof is more than likely what we’re going to be getting. Please stop living in the past, and just stop crying over changes we fans have no control over. And besides, if you’re so busy taking issue with getting less Doctor Who while disliking it so much, why would you want more? To have more episodes to slag off?

      • avatar Bradondo says:

        As I stated above it’s not about having genuine concerns with the show or its producers. It’s this increasingly widespread tendency to be negative for its own sake. There’s a large, vocal contingent out there consistently bashing every aspect of the show and calling for it to be canceled. Do I think Moffatt is spreading himself too thin running two shows? Yes, I do. Do I think there’s been weak episodes over the past few seasons? Again, yes (as there have been in every season, both new and old series). Would I like to see more Who per year? Absolutely! But we’ll have none at all–ever–if the show is cancelled. If Doctor Who were to be cancelled a second time it would likely never come back. Anyone who thinks that’s an appropriate scenario isn’t much of a fan.

        • avatar John Shandler says:

          @Bob James. 13 Episode commission for Atlantis- but surely the BBC cannot afford to do this? Confidential was NOT cancelled for budgetary reasons, but for the totally justifiable reason that there was nothing more that they could do with the show. Where is your evidence that the BBC have cut the episode count down due to budgetary reasons? You have none at all.
          I am not living in the past. I am not disliking Doctor Who. I am merely saying that Steven Moffat is not managing Doctor Who well. Danny Cohen, at a conference, actually revealed that Moffat is struggling with managing both Sherlock and Doctor Who and that that was the reason for the reduced episode count. But, hey, let’s not let the controller of BBC1′s reasoning get in the way of what you think, eh?

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            Hi John,

            Yeah, personally, I think Confidential was cancelled because Zai Bennett wanted to throw his weight around.

            I think it’s a bit of both over DW, tbh. I think if a BBC Controller said, ‘you’ve got 13 eps a season plus Christmas special,’ then that’s what Moffat and co would have to do. However, Cohen perhaps reasons that he wants both DW and Sherlock and that if he wants Moffat working on both, then there’s gotta be some give. So I think it’s a bit 50-50.

            But I dunno; we’ll never know what the powers that be think! :)

          • avatar Bob James says:

            Moffat actually, and a bit crossly, responded to the bit (Cohen’s statement) about himself being overtaxed by working on both Doctor Who and Sherlock. He called the statement nonsense. This was on the record. As to the BBC announcing cutbacks, while not specifically naming Doctor Who’s episode count, they have acknowledged that they are happening across the board, and that confidential was the result of said cuts. It you’re having across the board cutbacks, why would Doctor Who be immune? It would be much better, in my opinion, if they came clean about this effecting Doctor Who, but the backlash that announcing cuts directed at the show going into an anniversary year (Cohen made these statements last year) is something they might have rather avoided. So, Moffat says his workload is not the reason, and the BBC acknowledges that budgets are being effected by said cutbacks. Is Moffat lying? I don’t think so. Should the BBC be more forthright with us? I believe they should. I don’t personally accept that the series was divided for “artistic” reasons. That was given as a reason in a response from the BBC when questioned about it. So what this amounts to, is the BBC making some cuts while still having to mark celebrations of the show fiftieth anniversary. They’re not going to come out and say, “we’ve got a lot planned for the anniversary year, but, oh yeah, we are cutting the number of episodes by what formerly amounted to a full series.”. I, personally, even considering his teasing and misdirection, am not willing to call Moffat a liar. I am aware that the BBC can sometimes dance around the bare facts for publicities sake, and also be notoriously late and evasive in announcing commissions and their plans. What we are now encountering, I believe, is on the side of confirming this. I’d love to be wrong, and have thirteen episode series again, but unfortunately, I don’t think I am.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            An addendum to my last post. Moffat’s response to his workload effecting Doctor Who’s scheduling/production can actually be found recounted right here on Kasterborous. The cancellation of Confidential being explained by Cohen can as well, I believe, but a general internet search might yield a more fully detailed picture. The desire to create “new programming” was cited, and the cancellation of “The Fades” was also cited as another result of the cutbacks. In summation: Need for cutbacks + desire to create new programming = somethings have to go to facilitate all this. I may have had my timeframe wrong as well. Some of Cohen’s statements might actually have been made as far back as 2011. I’m personally grateful that Doctor Who’s current vitality and worldwide success meant that it was changes in the amount of episodes made and/or how and when they are transmitted, as well as the sacrifice of Confidential that resulted, and not cancellation, period. As to why the BBC would choose to invest in a 13 episode count of “Atlantis” (which I’d never heard of before it was mentioned here) and the ramp up of other programming, well that’s a question to pose to the BBC, not an occasion to point fingers at Moffat. And again, as I, as well as another has noted here, the cost of making 13 episodes of Atlantis might be well under producing 13 episodes of Doctor Who a year. And will Atlantis continue to enjoy that amount of episodes? I would personally prefer that all revenue generated by Doctor Who go right back into making more Doctor Who. But that’s not the way it works.

    • avatar Cy Burns says:

      Well said Bradondo! As a fan from the classic series days too, this perfectly summarizes my feelings since the show’s return and subsequent popularity.
      For the record I personally think that Series 7b has come back with a blisteringly good run of episodes. From ‘The Rings Of Akhaten’ on, the show has never felt more like the classic series. The new talent on the show is first rate. Far from being the time to cancel the series I can’t help but feel positive that this is just the start of huge strides in Doctor Who.
      It’s interesting that the editorial here speaks of the ‘rose tinted goggles’ of people comparing the Moffat and RTD era’s. During the RTD era I remember being equally mystified by the negativity toward him (especially here on Kasterborous) and the declarations that show was at an all time low. I think the best policy (especially for the show runners) is just to ignore the haters and probably the Internet in general!

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        Ah fair enough, Cy. I can’t remember that much negativity, but then I didn’t trawl the internet back then. I’ve grown into my sad loneliness. ;P

        I was occassionally critical of RTD, but on the whole, I loved his era too. But I think people tend to forget episodes’ faults over time… Unless it’s The Twin Dilemma or Time and the Rani, seemingly! Thansk fro commenting. :)

        • avatar Cy Burns says:

          I guess I’ve been sad and lonely too long! ;)
          Essentially I was agreeing wholeheartedly with you in that it is definitely a case rose tinted goggles (no pun intended!) when people wistfully refer to the RTD days as ‘the good old days’. At the time all anybody did was moan about him and by the end I thought there was going to be gang of fanboy’s storming his office to physically eject him from his chair and replace him with Moffat who was being hailed like a Messiah before his The Eleventh Hour even aired! Perhaps Who fans just like to whinge?
          Of course we’re all going to have episodes or periods of the show we don’t like. I personally was very disappointed with the whole Amy / Baby / River debacle because it didn’t feel at all like Doctor Who to me, more like US Sci-Fi schmaltz. But then I don’t run the show do I so it’s not for me to decide. On the other hand I loved The Rebel Flesh exactly because it was a longer story set in the one environment, with a focus on science and ideas – which is what I love about the great classic stories. A huge amount of people obviously disagreed with me on this which just goes to show you can’t please everybody. For me the 2 hours a classic four parter took to tell a story will always be a better format for gripping storytelling. For others the more fast paced, modern format makes for better watching.
          In other words of course fandom has and always will be about feisty debates over the show we love and the points we agree or disagree on but I’m with you – hyperbolic negativity and outright washing the whole series is pointless. The beauty of Doctor Who is that every story is so different, but of course that also means there will be peaks and troughs. To me personally series 7A was a trough but 7B has (so far) been a huge peak – right down to the infinitely better TARDIS set and greater continuity with the classic series. Imagine if I’d just written the show off after not enjoying a few 7A episodes? I’d never have experienced the joy and exhilaration that seeing the Ice Warriors again or an episode like ‘Hide’ bought me. Obviously others will disagree but don’t cancel the show or give up on it – your personal peak may be just around the corner!

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            Oh crikey; didn’t mean to imply that you’re a lonely sort – sorry! I just meant to imply I was. ;)

            Yeah, I agree; I remember there was some whinging at the end of the RTD era, and I have to admit to being annoyed towards the end – probably because I think Tennant should’ve been given a better send-off. Mind you, I wasn’t complaining on forums etc, because hey, I still loved DW!

            As you say, people were proclaiming that Moffat would save the show; that’s why I think it’s so strange that, now that he’s in charge, people are suddenly complaining.

            Glad you’re enjoying 7B btw. I think it’s a peak too! :)

  7. avatar John says:

    Totally agree, Philip. I love this show and have loved it in all its incarnations(been watching in the U.S. since Tom Baker’s days). I’m especially enjoying the 11th doctor, Matt Smith. Loved Karen Gillan and am surprised that I’m loving Jenna-Louise Coleman even more. I’ve noticed all the negativity, too, and I simply can’t understand it. The show seems exactly the same to me has it’s always been, brilliant!

  8. avatar Guy Grist says:

    Great scot someone who is not being negative towards the new series thank you, thank you.

  9. avatar bonobobananas says:

    I’ve personally been a bit guilty of negativity. I think there are some valid reasons though.

    BTW I think your argument suffers from a comment regarding the show being brilliant at the end of the eighties when, whilst it had taken an upturn, it was far from brilliant in my opinion. But that’s just being pedantic, something that Who fans do well.

    In my viewpoint, the current series is suffering from falling between two stools: RTD had the idea of creating a sci-fi soap and appealing to the masses with excellent interpersonal dialogue. The stories were generally just OK but made up for by the overall feelgood factor. Mr Moffat has tried to progress this, using darker and generally better stories. He has, however, failed to keep the feelgood factor and has also suffered from simple boredom with the format which in it’s new incarnation has now been going for as long as many shows ever manage.

    I think the main issue a lot of fans have, is that the current series simply hasn’t hit the heights of previous offerings. Whilst there haven’t been any stinkers, there’s really been nothing that will live in the memory like for example, a Blink, Midnight, Human Nature, Doctor’s Wife etc. The suspicion is also that Mr Moffat has ‘shot his bolt’ and is merely regurgitating previous ideas. It does seem at the very least that he is spreading his talents rather thinly.

    I personally don’t like the use of story arcs, something that appears to have followed from the US with shows like Buffy. I think Who does individual stories much better and I really don’t like the the prising in of scenes purely to meet ‘the Arc’. This does appear to be the Moffat way, sadly in my view.

    I don’t have to like it, but you’re right, Who is still a whole lot better than most on TV. I’ve never seen a single episode of any of the ‘Reality’ shows because I know I’ll hate them. Just like I know I love Who. I just want it to be the best it can be. That’s all.

    • avatar matolas says:

      But, you know, some people love story arcs (story arc episodes are my favourite), so you have to deal with that.

      • avatar bonobobananas says:

        Yes I can ‘deal’ with story arcs, I happen to love some shows with arcs. I just don’t like them shoehorned in to episodes that could stand on their own. I especially don’t like episodes that appear to have been written solely with the the intent of progressing said arcs.

    • avatar Douglas Slee says:

      I think you’re completely wrong. There HAVE been stand out episodes this season. The Snowmen, The Bells of St. John, Cold War, Hide, and the Crimson Horror have been pretty well awesome (with a few MINOR eyebrow raising incidents)……..AND all of them have ended on an upbeat and hopeful note. I don’t know where you’re getting this “lack of feel-good factor” from, but it hasn’t been from the most recent eps.
      And lest we forget, there were PLENTY of groan-inducing STINKERS in RTD’s era, Aliens Of London, World War III, Long Game, Love and Monsters, Fear Her, Evolution Of The Daleks, The Doctor’s Daughter…….just to name a few.
      My point is, the balance of stinkers from good eps is pretty well the same. The good eps outweigh the stinkers.

  10. avatar Joe says:

    I totally agree with you, Phillip. Can you imagine if some of today’s haters had been around when the show transitioned from the Second Doctor to the Third? “HE’S TRAPPED ON EARTH?!” The show’s in color?! Heresy! Then again, the sinister conspiracy theories about the plots to destroy the show probably would have been something to behold…

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      I still don’t think the show should’ve embraced colour. ;P

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Oh, I agree, that was heresy, that colour business. And when Hartnell changed into that Troughton guy? Everyone should have just stopped watching, and the colour heresy thing could have just been avoided. Everyone hated these things, but they just………kept……….watching.

  11. avatar Mark Lenton says:

    Hi Phillip,

    I understand your frustration and I am genuinely glad that you are enjoying Doctor Who at the moment. But I am a very positive person, I have always loved the series since I started watching the early Tom Baker’s as a child, but the current and last two series have (with a few very notable exceptions) left me very uninterested. Suddenly, after the wonderful RTD era where we discovered that the series could be about people, rather than just things, we are back in a world where things happen but have no consequence and there is no emotional underpinning to the plots. The second half of series 6 for example was totally ruined for me because Amy spent the middle episodes completely unaffected by the loss of her baby!!! Series 5 has the weird scene where Amy tried to seduce the Doctor, who rejects her, but then there are no consequences… exactly how many girls, having had their advances rebuffed then carry on business as usual with the guy who has pushed them away??? And with the notable exceptions of Vincent, The Doctor’s Wife, and to some extent A Christmas Carol, there seems to be no reality to the characters anymore.
    And ‘complex’ plots are fine. Blink is a masterpiece. But things happening for no reason with no explanation is not. We still don’t know the answers to many of the fundamental questions posed in series 5. I like a mystery but after a while you give up all hope of their being a rational answer. Why did the Tardis explode in The Big Bang? What was that voice in the Tardis? How on earth did all those aliens come to form an alliance – even the ones who were not enemies of the Doctor? What do the Silence want? Why was the crack in Time something different as the series progressed – a gateway to prisoner zero’s dimension in Eleventh Hour, a gap in time to the death of the Tardis in the Silurian Two parter? There’s so much of it that seems just a mess of ideas (some of them great) that have no resolution.

    I’m here, typing away because I love the Series, and always have. But I’ve never been so disinterested by it as I am today. I’m a died in the wool fanboy who can tell you every story title in order… up until series 5 when my interest level took a nosedive. I and my family used to love to watch each episode a number of times and have fun picking out our favourite or greatest moments… but recently it’s all I can do to get them around the TV together with me. I’m not saying everything before S5 was perfect and everything subsequent has been dreadful but there is something fundamentally not working for me about the most recent series which ALL of the previous series have had, which engaged me and made me love it.
    We’re not just moaning minnies, something is wrong and I would give anything to have it put right – in this of all years.

    • avatar John Shandler says:

      Well said!

    • avatar Shad Gray says:

      OH YES! Thank you for putting this into words! While I can’t stand the bashing for the sake of bashing, I also oppose this author’s “I love everything” attitude. Moffat is screwing up a lot. (Don’t even get me started on his 50th Anniversary statements!!!!)
      I want changes made. I want to see the show improve again.


    • Well said!!!! You hit the nail right on the head, especially with regards to Amy and the baby. That was the point Moffat lost me (and for the record, I really enjoyed season 5 and was convinced the show was going to hit new heights in season 6). Here’s a woman who has her newborn baby taken from her and it’s never even ACKNOWLEDGED later on. Yes, I realize that the baby turns out to be River, but that doesn’t change the fact that it would be a deeply traumatic event. What’s more, we then spend an entire episode dealing with Amy’s resentment towards the Doctor (The Girl Who Waited) and at no point is the baby even brought up! I’m sorry but this is just absolutely shoddy drama.

      Anyway, while I’m enjoying the current series, it is disappointing. Most of the episodes are forgettable and honestly I have no desire to revisit them any time soon. And while I do think some of the Moffat bashers are petty, a lot of them also have very genuine concerns. The fact is, this is the 50th anniversary, and I’m sorry but you can’t help but feel disappointed when all we’re getting is 8 episodes, 1 special and 1 Christmas episode (maybe). This is significantly less than the 14 episodes we used to get (plust Torchwood! plus SJA! plus DWC! – those were the days). Add to that season 8 is nowhere in sight and you can forgive people for being somewhat down in the dumps. The fact is people are feeling deflated and let down at a time when they should be bombarded with great stuff (I would also like to point out it doesn’t help that Moffat was going around saying things like “2013 is going to be wall-to-wall Who!” “You’re not going to believe what we have in store for 2013!” “Who says there’s only going to be one special?!!!!!!!”)

      Whether it’s because of Sherlock or just plain tiredness, you can’t help but feel there’s confusion and a lack of direction behind the scenes, and I think this is what a lot of fans are reacting to. Even when RTD skipped 2009, there was plenty of advance notice so it didn’t surprise anyone. We have no idea when season 8 is going into production, let alone when it might air. When Ian Levine (who defends the show) starts writing that he’s worried about what’s happening on the production side, there is cause for concern.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        So Ian Levine is like Moses coming down from the mountain? A Prophet foretelling the doom to come? I simply don’t agree…..


      • People still care what Ian Levine says? Wow.

        Anyway, to my point: you say that “all we’re getting is 8 episodes, 1 special and 1 Christmas episode” – now, I’ve been doing a bit of investigation into this, and as far as I can see (we’ll be releasing a full feature on this after S7b has finished) Steven Moffat would have been hard pushed to do more than 8.

        This isn’t a Moffat issue. He does not commission Doctor Who. The problem with the episode count comes from the BBC itself.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          Thank you, Christian!

  12. avatar Koth says:

    While I dont want Doctor Who to be cancelled Steve Moffatts Doctor Who is not my cup of tea. And its down to one fact: His overarcing stories are flawed and full of holes a 200 bus could be driven through. It starts with The Eleventh Hour and carries on.
    There are episodes I have enjoyed but the payoff has been far from successful.
    Example: Matt Smiths first series was offered to David Tennant. His first meeting with Amy was still when the Tardis crashes in her garden, he goes off and repairs it, and meets her ten years later all grown up. However, this is the Doctor and Anys first meeting and his crash follows the series ending and he regenerates. This is pretty much the same story for Matt Smith in The Eleventh Hour. The shape of this story is then repeated in the following year in Day of the Moon. The future doctor dying and then the current one turns up. Still rubbish.
    Enough of the superhero companions too. Lets have someone we can identify with.
    All the best.

  13. avatar Sandra says:

    Halellujah. Thank you – the negativity all around is killing me. Personally, I’m loving Season 7. Loved S6 and S5. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the RTD era but nobody loves everything. I didn’t get negative and slag it off – there’s always something there to enjoy.

    Now however…people are complaining for the sake of it. It’s now cool to sling hate at Who it seems.

  14. avatar Michael Wooten says:

    I have to disagree overall with your article and the recent reviews. Most of series 7B has been a huge setback in quality to the show. I’m not a Moffat hater by any means. I believe he has crafted many of the best episodes of the show, all the way up to The Snowmen. That Chrismas special highlighted just how good Clara could be as a companion to the Doctor…and then came The Bells of St. John. Maybe it was just too hyped, maybe its that tech is my field, but the Wifi monsters were lame and all of the amazing banter between the Doctor and Clara from the Snowmen dried up. Clara has been pretty lame since. It’s not the fault of the actress, as The Snowmen showed how wonderful she can be. The stories just seem to be all spectacle and no substance. What’s the most exciting scenario we can put them in…oooh, ooh, a submarine about to start a nuclear war. Then the story is lame. For as hyped as the 50th has been, this run up to it has been a letdown. The Clara arc is not progressing fast enough to keep it interesting. In my opinion, each episode has been better than the last, so hopefully it will grow to be something fantastic by the time the real 50th comes around.

    Also, my guess is the Doctor’s real name is John Smith and he’s been using his real name for years. It’s the only name the fans would ever accept :)

    • avatar Bob James says:

      And your real name must be Michael Grade?

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Just joking………You know, comedy………jokes.

  15. avatar VALIS says:

    I honestly don’t understand the obsession that some who participate in fandom have with the opinions of others. I have mixed feelings about the current run of episodes, and I don;t always feel like writing a dissertation along with every criticism. Nobody is under any obligation to be unconditionally positive or be unconditionally supportive of the show. I don’t unconditionally support my country or my cultural group, so why do I need to be unconditionally supportive of a TV program? If there are people who don’t like Doctor Who right now, then they don’t like Doctor Who right now. How does labeling them as “haters” or “moaners” elevate your own discourse? If you feel like expressing only positive feelings about the show, then that’s great, but why not live and let live?

    • avatar John says:

      Because many of these people are calling for the show to END. It’s not about requiring unconditional support. If people don’t like the show, they are certainly free to criticize it or even stop watching it. However, I don’t understand people who CONTINUE to watch a show they don’t like, and then go on fan boards and bash it or call for it to END. That’s not “live and let live,” that’s “I don’t enjoy it so I don’t want you to, either.”

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Thank you! Well said………..

      • avatar Shad Gray says:

        You had best be happy they DO continue to watch, pr it WOULD get canceled. However, their moaning is no different than your praise of all things “Who”.
        As a writer, who wished to be a part of this show, you talk about not understanding why some people are not happy with the current series under Moffat. The fact that you CAN’T see what they are talking about and are blindly in love with every aspect is a good reason while you should NOT be a writer for it. The show is in need of talented writers who can see the mistakes and how best they can be avoided (or fixed). Anyone who is so in love with a show that they can’t see any negative is not someone I would want telling the stories. Sorry.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          I’m not ‘blindly’ in love – this article was to show love, certainly, but also that, while I understand criticism, I don’t understand the hatred.

          Doesn’t mean I don’t know what a good show looks like. It means that I think people should be more positive.

          Honestly, there are things that I consider bad about Doctor Who, many of which others will disagree with. It’s just I don’t dwell on them. I do know how I’d fix them, though.

          It also means that I look at things in a different way from others. I think that’s fair enough. A prime example is feeling for characters. Many like a character’s entire background and emotions on plain sight. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Ripper Street, but some criticised it for apparently not laying out their characters for all to see. I felt, as did many others, that this wasn’t the case: an entire character can be summed up in smaller nuances. That’s the art of TV, the art of writing, the art of acting.

          I do love the show. But it’s not blind love. It’s optimistic love.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          And does Moffat leaving Twitter and ignoring the fanwank bitching and whining (just as RTD did) mean he shouldn’t be writing the show? I would suspect that your answer might be yes. But you know what? He IS the showrunner, he IS writing the show, and selecting others to write it, and you and those that don’t care for that reality aren’t. And there’s nothing you can do about that, absolutely nothing. If all of the naysayers here stopped watching the show, do you honestly think that would spell doom, that it would spell cancellation for Doctor Who? If you really do, Shad Gray, that’s just plain NUTS.

      • avatar Koth says:

        Who?

        • avatar Koth says:

          That is who is calling for the end of the program?

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            Hi Koth,

            There are a few people calling for its cancellation – not fully explaining their reasons, just stupid comments – over on sites like Digital Spy and even SFX. Also, scanning through these comments, there are those calling for the show to end – and I don’t want to name names.

  16. avatar Aly says:

    Living in the U.S, with our vast wasteland of dumbed-down commercial television and plethora of vapid “reality” shows, I will take a sub-par episode of “Doctor Who” over ANYTHING on any of the U.S networks, anytime.

    • avatar Aly says:

      I should say COMMERCIAL networks. PBS, after all, brings us “Sherlock.”

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        Elementary’s pretty good – all I’m saying. :)


  17. Well…I have a different approach and it’s totally selfish. I do agree that the negativity has been harsh lately….and I say lately because I really didn’t start browsing the internet for fan feedback until they announced that Tennant was coming back for the 50th anniversary. My problem has not been with crap episodes I could get by this and be a faithful fan and keep my mouth shut.; What got me was the interview in the latest DWM and Moffat’s philosophy on what the 50th anniversary should be about. I TOTALLY disagree with him. And being an 8th Doctor fan I was really holding out hope that McGann would be asked to reprise his Doctor role again for the 50th in new footage…not clips from the movie, which at this point I don’t even know if that will happen. I was also expecting that the 50th would be a year long celebration starting in Jan. 2013 but that also isn’t happening. I feel betrayed and bitterly let down by Moffat and his 50th anniversary vision and I also feel REALLY bad for McGann who I think really wanted another crack on screen again so that is where I could not keep quiet anymore. Yes I have been very vocally negative but I’m heartbroken and bitter. On the bright side……I will get over it, eventually.


    • Oh and one more thing about negativity. Being and 8th Doctor fan believe me I’ve endured my share of negative, rude comments directed at me. If ever you want to open yourself up to abuse tell a die-hard DW fan that the 8th Doctor is your favorite and that you loved the movie! LOL

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        The 8th is my favourite too. I loved the look of the movie (the TARDIS is the best EVER) and loved the dialogue. I did hate the plot (or lack of it) though.


        • Totally agree, Love the movie, love McGann as the eight doctor and i’m waiting until the last minute to see him in the anniversary.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I am an Eighth Doctor fan and I loved the Movie!

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        I love the 8th Doctor too. Good choice, my friend. :)

        I know what you mean: I think one of the problems is that the production crew are too open these days. It can build excitement, sure, but also negativity if the current ideas are in contrast with other people’s views (which they always are – it’s inevitable that not everyone will like everything.)

    • avatar Shad Gray says:

      Agreed! Except Im not sure I’ll get over it. I want Moffat gone over this.
      He is a disgrace and an arrogant sod who just doesnt get it.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        That isn’t your call. You don’t have any say whatsoever as to whether Steven Moffat, or anyone else involved in producing Doctor Who stays or departs. You are the one who’s coming off as an opinionated sod who obviously thinks nothing of insulting someone and his hard work just because you don’t find it to your tastes.

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        I don’t want Moffat to go over this – certainly not before we’ve even seen the 50th anniversary special. You can’t judge it before you’ve seen it!

        I don’t think there’s much arrogance to him; just the normal amount people in TV have in order for them to work in the industry. As I was told once at a comic expo, always tell people your work is great – because if you’re going, ‘well, yeah, it’s alright,’ they’re simply not going to hire you!

  18. avatar GlassworX says:

    Nice Editorial . I do however think the show would benefit being expanded to an hour as they do in the specials instead of 45 minutes .

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Totally agree. I’d love hour-long episodes. :)

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I too, would love to see an hour long episode format. I think that if the BBC does go down the path of a reduced number of episodes (say, 3-6 a series) that this might even be possible. Just speculation, mind you, but containing a certain amount of logic, and the budget might just be feasibly spread out to invest more per episode if there are less episodes.

  19. avatar John Shandler says:

    I wouldn’t call myself negative, but a realist. I love Doctor Who. I really love it.
    I think Matt Smith’s interpretation of the role is fantastic. I just feel that the management of the show at the moment is appalling.
    1.) Executive Producers leaving left, right and centre. None have been promoted, they have left under a cloud. Producers refusing to work on the show because of these Executive Producers.
    2.) Plot holes that you could drive a double decker bus through. RTD was fond of the reset button, but at least he explained things.
    The TARDIS exploded- still no explanation why.
    The Silence. They were a race. Now they are a religious order. Of one race- or not?
    The Teselecta being destroyed (resembling The Doctor), causing a fixed point in time (that is the death of The Doctor), which then causes time to collapse when it doesn’t happen. Really? Is space/time that stupid? I don’t think so.
    3.) Split seasons/Seasons being halved. We had all this rubbish about ‘Doctor Who being on when it’s dark’ from Moffat, which never happened. We are now down to half a season a year. I find it shocking that there is no new season for the 50th anniversary, just left overs from last year. People can try to explain that anyway they like, but they are kidding themselves. And Jenna-Louise Coleman’s comments recently indicate another long wait until Series 8. This has already been interpreted as a split season again (Sept 2014 5 episodes and then April 2015 8 episodes), though any Season 8 is yet to be confirmed.
    4.) The complete bull surrounding the 50th.
    ‘Why speak in the singular?’ said Moffat when talking about a 50th episode. And yet there is only one 1 hour episode.
    ‘We are going to take over television’ said Moffat. Yet he cannot get a season together for the 50th. There is no ‘take over’. There is 1 episode. That’s it. There is Mark Gatiss’ drama, which I think everyone is looking forward to, but that is not an episode of Doctor Who, but a drama about Doctor Who.
    The picture at the toy fair which exactly described the lay-out of the 50th year was described as ‘nonsense’ by Moffat and he declared that there was much more than that. Well, where is it? There is nothing else. Again, more Moffat lies.
    And the utterly disgraceful decision to not include any of the classic Doctors in this 50th episode. Doctor Who did not begin in 2005. It started in 1963, hence the 50th Anniversary, not the 8th. A writer of Moffat’s supposed calibre should be able to find a way to do this. You do not have to spend 10 minutes on each Doctor to do this. Some form of animation/CGI and the use of the actors voices would be enough to pay tribute- and I mean tribute, both to these amazing actors who have breathed life into this amazing show, and to the amazing fans who have stuck with it, even through the 16 year drought (bar the TVM which featured my favourite, Paul McGann). It could just be a brief flashback, but it would be enough. But we don’t get this.
    I teach for a living, and I have always noticed pupils reactions to the series. When Eccleston left and Tennant started, I remember kids saying that they would never except this ‘grinning idiot’ and that the series had ‘lost it’. And then the magic happened, 10 was accpeted and became as loved, if not more loved. The same when Matt Smith started. It seemed to take longer for him to be accepted, but it did, and shows just how great a Doctor he is, following Tennant and doing as well as he has.
    But students now say that they love Matt Smith, but the stories are rubbish and it’s never on, or that it is too long between series. Are they being negative too? Ungrateful? Entitled? Needy?
    No. Most of them are just not fussed by it anymore, which is worrying.

    I don’t get angry at the Moffat apologists calling people ‘negative’. I just find it amusing.
    Spilt seasons? No problem! Think positive!!!
    Halved seasons? That’s OK! Quality will go up!!!
    No new season during the anniversary year? Wow, we are really being spoiled!!!
    One single episode for the 50th that doesn’t feature any classic Doctors? FANGASM!!! Amazing!!! Moffat has pulled a blinder!!!!
    No Series 8 until September 2014 and then, only 5 episodes?!!! But hey, they are all going to be brilliant!!!!

    That’s actually what you sound like.

    I don’t think that Moffat hates Doctor Who. I honestly think he loves it. But I do think that he has been found wanting as a show-runner. If Sherlock (a brilliant show) is causing him to leave focus, leave. Go now. Let Whithouse or Chibnall take over, and let the magic of a change happen again. But that’s just negative and running down Doctor Who thinking like that, isn’t it?

    • avatar authorman94 says:

      Okay, that “Moffat apologist” bit is really unfair. I’m not the biggest fan of Moffat myself (I’ve always maintained he’s overrated, but anyone’s welcome to disagree), but some of this feels like “MY OPINIONS ARE TOO DEEP FOR YOU!!!” and using very strange back-ups for your arguments.

      “Spilt seasons” Even the hardest Moffat fans feel that the split seasons are doing damage, what you’re doing is generalising.
      “Halved seasons” Where have you got this from? It’s 13 episodes plus a Christmas special. Regular length of a series.
      “No new season during the anniversary year” Once again, generalising. A lot of people do want there to be a new season and are disappointed there hasn’t bee one.
      “One single episode for the 50th that doesn’t feature any classic Doctors?” And you’d prefer them to appear and clog even a ninty-minute story, and give people like Michael Grade (or his modern equivalent, whoever that is) the reason to say “This show sucks and you suck for liking it?”. That’s preferable to quality storytelling without the classic Doctors involved (I’m disappointed too and yet I get why they went for this) which the masses find entertaining.
      “No Series 8 until September 2014 and then, only 5 episodes?!!!” Where have you got this information from? At the minute, no-one knows when Series 8 is airing and how many are being aired, so I don’t where you’re getting this from.

      Again, no disrespect to you, but slamming a lot of people for having different opinions to you is just unfair and outright mean. And again, I think Steven Moffat’s overrated personally, but I don’t harp on the people who like him because they think differently to me.

      • avatar authorman94 says:

        Meant to put question on the end of “That’s preferable to quality storytelling without the classic Doctors involved (I’m disappointed too and yet I get why they went for this) which the masses find entertaining.”, silly me.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          Thank you, authorman94. I appreciate your support.

          John,

          I’m not saying Moffat’s great and hey, everything wonderful. I don’t like the split seasons; I was hoping for more than one anniversary special; I’d like Season 8 sooner… I’m saying, stop being constantly negative. It’s not conducive to anyone. I wanted to write something that was the polar opposite of those ‘sack Moffat now’ comments, because they grind me down.

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        My opinions are ‘too deep’ and there are not strange ‘back-ups’ at all as you put it. I am responding to an article which ‘slams’ as you put it those who think that there is something wrong with Doctor Who at the moment. So to have a go at people who share some of my opinions is OK, but if we respond we are unjustified. I would suggest that you are the one who is not being fair there.
        Now- we are in the tail end of a halved season. Explanation here:
        2005 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        2006 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        2007 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        2008 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        2009 Four Specials
        2010 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        2011 13 episodes + Christmas Special
        NOW- look closely:
        2012 5 episodes + Christmas Special
        2013 8 episodes +Specials
        That is one season over two years. Not one season per year. One spread over two. But you say that we have a regular length season. Yes, over two years, so a halved season then? Or won’t you see that?
        I have not said that anyone ‘sucks’ for liking anything. I used the term ‘Moffat apologists’ because people cannot accept that they guy has ever done anything wrong.
        Jenna Louise Coleman said in a radio interview that there will be a long break between seasons again. They start filming six/seven months before transmission at the latest. Season 8 will have to start filming in November, at the latest. Now, you are free to disagree, but it ain’t going to start filming until early 2014 at the earliest.
        When I said that there would be no Season 8 in 2013, people shot me down in flames, saying I had no proof. No, I didn’t, but I have a calendar and the ability to do maths. Being an optimist did not lead to Season 8 appearing in the anniversary year.
        And some of the ‘strange backs ups’ are direct quotes from Moffat himself. So you think Moffat is strange then?

        • avatar Douglas Slee says:

          Has it ever occurred to you that maybe these split seasons are being mandated by the BBC, and NOT Moffat, for budgetary reasons. Yes, it sucks that we aren’t getting a FULL season on the anniversary year. Unfortunately, THAT would be down to the people who shell out the money, NOT Moffat. And if no money is being allocated for a FULL season, you’re pretty much stuck “splitting” the season in half.
          I’m not a “Moffat apologist”, to use a ridiculously inept term. But, I *DO* believe that Moffat is facing the same problem that John Nathan-Turner did before him. The fact that the BBC just DOESN’T want to shell out the appropriate amount of money to this show.

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            Interesting point there, Douglas.

            It does seem that the BBC aren’t supporting it properly, favouring shows like The Voice instead.

          • avatar Joel Mellor says:

            Has it ever occured to you that Moffat has too much on his plate and cannot adequately run the show? Oh, and 13 episodes of the BBC’s new ‘Atlantis’ show. Bit of a hole in your argument wouldn’t you say?
            And do you really think that, being the money spinner it is, the BBC would order LESS episodes. And yes, I know that the BBC itself cannot make a profit, but BBC Enterprises can.
            John Shandler has hit the nail on the head. As far as I can see, he’s not slagging off Doctor Who or the recent run of episodes, just Moffat’s management of the show. I totally agree- he’s not up to the job. Great writer, great Sherlock showrunner, just not up to running DW.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            That the BBC would choose to allocate a higher episode count to “Atlantis” or any other production doesn’t put a hole in any argument. Does Atlantis cost as much as Doctor Who to make? I don’t know, do you, Mr Mellor? There have been cancellations, other shows ceasing production or coming to an end, and the BBC makes decisions about where to invest funding. That’s their call. There are also, reportedly, other Doctor Who anniversary events being planned that haven’t been announced yet, which is another investment on the BBC’s part. There’s the anniversary episode, the telefilm about the show’s creation, and the Christmas special which have been announced, which also have been funded. Perhaps you should address your concerns to the BBC. In the end, the BBC believes that Steven Moffat is more than up to the job of running Doctor Who, and I hardly think they’re going to consult you about that.

        • avatar Douglas Slee says:

          In response to Joel, yes….I *DO* think the BBC would order less episodes (or fork over less money) of their big “money spinner”. They’ve have done so in the past.
          I cannot comment on this Atlantis series you’re talking about, as I have seen absolutely nothing about it. But I would assume it costs less money to make as it presumably has many standing sets. Doctor Who has only ONE. It’s sets have to be rebuilt, changed, and completely created from scratch EVERY EPISODE. So, therefore, it costs alot of money to make. And if the BBC is only willing to impart a small amount to Doctor Who, Moffat has to spread it out in the best way possible.
          Not that I don’t think Moffat hasn’t stumbled a bit as show runner (some of his underlying plotthreads have gone nowhere or have been completely incomprehensible), I just think he’s no worse or better than RTD So, tyhe people calling for Moffat’s head are overreacting.

          • avatar Tim says:

            According to Wikipedia, Atlantis is one of the most expensive shows the BBC has ever commissioned.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            That still doesn’t answer the question as to whether it costs as much as a 13 episodes series of Doctor Who to produce.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Now that was amusing……..

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Mr. Shandler’s post, I mean……….

    • avatar Shad Gray says:

      Thank you John.

  20. avatar lozzer says:

    I stopped reading this article when you said you loved The Rings Of Akhaten – to me this means you will sit through any old **** and still sing it’s praises. No excuses for that episode – utter tosh and I hate to slag DW off.

    • avatar John says:

      Right then. Your opinion is as good as anyone else’s. I happen to love the episode, an opinion that is also as good as anyone else’s. But you couldn’t read this entire article before criticizing his opinion, yet you “presumably” didn’t stop watching TRoA which you call ****! Not trying to be rude, but why did you sit through it? Aren’t there other options on TV at that time? It’s never occurred to me to find a show I don’t like, or no longer like, and then continue to watch it so I can then go to a place where I know people who love the show gather and tell them their is no excuse for their opinion.

      • avatar lozzer says:

        Hello John, I have been watching Doctor Who for as long as I can remember, hmmm, let me think… my first DW memory is the Zygon’s – I thought they lived on my street – seriously, they scared the crap out of me. I have championed the show for as long as I can remember, I even stuck with it through the terrible 24th season where Sylvester McCoy decided to turn it into a cheap end pantomime – I happen to think Sylvester was a great Doctor in seasons 25 & 26. My point is, I’ve stuck with this show through it’s highs and lows, even when it wasn’t on TV I was still buying the books and videos. I’m not saying I have exclusive rights to the show, but I do believe if it’s not up to standard, I have every right to express my concerns – You may not like what I say, but in my very humble opinion, The Rings Of Akhaten was utter dog turd, really, as bad as I’ve ever seen, I genuinely think it’s as bad as Time And The Rani, maybe even worse. I couldn’t care less if you disagree with me, but, please don’t tell me to stop watching the programme I love just because I don’t always think it is amazing. I’m very happy that you could gloss over the shite that was Akhaten, I wish could have….

        • avatar lozzer says:

          By the way, have you read the new Doctor Who monthly? They also thought Akhaten was utter shite – I’m not on my own.

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            No, you’re not on your own. DWM didn’t like it. Many others did. It was always going to be Marmite.

            I can see the faults in Rings, sure, but I still loved the message it sent and the acting, direction, much of the writing, the Doctor’s speech, its balance…

            Don’t stop reading just because you disagree with one little thing. I’m not the biggest fan of The Doctor’s Wife (that’s not to say I don’t like it – I just think it’s overrated); I don’t shun my mates who like it, or refuse to talk to my editor, who liked it.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            But DWM is not calling for Moffat’s head, or for the show to be cancelled, are they?

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            That’s okay – no problem lozzer; we all have them. :) Glad you’re enjoying most of the show anyhoo.

        • avatar John says:

          Thanks Iozzer. Again, no intention to offend. I would never tell you (and did not tell you) to stop watching the show, that would be bad for the ratings! I just couldn’t understand why you WOULD continue to watch a show that in your equally valid opinion was THAT bad. How do you “love” a program, but find the episodes to be “utter dog turd”? You’re clearly a fan of “Doctor Who” so it doesn’t matter why I can’t understand your love/ hate relationship with it. :) Mea culpa!

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            And thanks, John. I appreciate your support and it’s nice to know there’s someone who’s as passionate about the show as me. :)

          • avatar lozzer says:

            Apologies if I seemed a little harsh with my criticism – I’d had a tough day. I still hate the episode, but I love 95% of the shows output.

  21. avatar Tom Earl says:

    Great article, I have been pretty critical of this season. I don’t think that Matt Smith is the best doctor, but his acting has gotten better this season then from when he first took over. Yep, I don’t like 11 because he isn’t the 10th. I think you nailed it when you wrote “The solution is self-contained episodes. Simple. Until Moffat announced this, and people began to think that 45 minutes simply isn’t long enough”. IMHO, it’s the switching to self-contained episodes that has a lot of people not liking what’s happening. Since the Doctor has come back, we have been lead across grand story lines interwoven with tales of wondrous adventures leading to heart string pulling (Damn it, I told myself that I wasn’t going to cry) endings and now semi-suddenly (only cause he told us he was going to do is) the grand story of the beloved Doctor has been changed up to that of several dime store novels. It’s not that we hate Moffat or Smith (or at least I don’t) it’s just different from that which we have become accustom. As far as calling for it to be cancelled or whatever, people can have their opinions but I look forward (with great fear) to the day when the silence will fall and until it does I’ll be watching. Oh and RTD rules! :-)

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      RTD is great, I agree. I’ll forever be grateful as he introduced me to the show! :)

      That’s fair enough. It’s a bit of a climate change. Thanks for commenting.

  22. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I’m with the writer of this article. I am sick of a lot of the negativity being bandied about lately. There’s been far worse periods in the show’s history, even in the last few years, but Doctor Who is still better than the billions of crap shows we have thrown in our faces every day. Its a great adventure with a great (though flawed) hero, with a great message about being open to the universe and all its wonder. I find this far more refreshing and entertaining than watching talent contests, or adult people acting like immature children and cursing at each other every three seconds. Doctor Who has never fallen to that level, and as long as it never does, its still miles ahead of 99% of television.

  23. avatar Bob James says:

    Philip, thank you! You have summed up my feelings as of late more eloquently, and with much more restraint than I ever could. I think that there is a definite environment of Doctor Who being taken for granted. Thankfully, the platform of Doctor Who’s current vitality and success is global in scale. I would say that this current crop of “I didn’t like it, or I hated it so it sucks” group of negative so-called “fans” are simply a very loud, vocal minority. The abuse, bile, and venom hurled in Steven Moffat’s direction is horribly imbalanced and shameful. If one doesn’t care for the way he runs the show, fine, there’s no need to call for his head or his dismissal. If one doesn’t care for Doctor Who in 2013, one need not watch. Wait until the next showrunner comes aboard (unless you just want the show cancelled) and see if the next pleases you better. But there’s no need to insult the man, or anyone involved in the production of the show. Opinions, preferences, individual tastes are all valid and fine, but there is simply blatant immaturity in maintaining that something “sucks” simply because someone doesn’t care for it. This is really making me miss that bunch from the late eighties who wanted to lynch JNT. At least they were funny………..

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Haha! Cheers, Bob. :)

  24. avatar docwhom says:

    No disrespect, Philip, but for much of that argument you really are talking out of your arse.

    “Overwhelming negativity of so-called Doctor Who fans”. Firstly, you don’t get to dictate who is and isn’t a DW fan based on whether you approve of their opinion of the show. Secondly, “overwhelming negativity”? Please wake up and smell what you’re pushing here. If you have to wildly exaggerate in order to make your point, then it’s a safe bet that that point isn’t worth making.

    I don’t know whose opinions you’ve been seeking out online but having just enough grey matter to register for a Twitter account or to join an online DW forum in no way qualifies anyone as being representative of an overwhelming viewpoint. Most of us see someone online suggesting that DW is the worst thing on TV and that Moffat hates the show and we conclude that that person is a sad, lonely obsessive. Why do you conclude that he’s the voice of a groundswell opinion?

    “However, trawl the internet and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Doctor Who is the worst thing on the box, a jewel in the crown until that pesky Moffat and that awful Matt Smith came aboard.” Trawl the internet without a sense of proportion, Philip, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the world will be ending tomorrow. Trawl the internet without a sense of proportion and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that more than 3 people on Earth would want to see the Rani return. Trawl the internet without a sense of proportion and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that more than 4 people anywhere ever had a problem with RTD’s gay agenda.

    The fact that you think that Moffat, Smith and Season 7 in general are wonderful does not logically mean that anyone who disagrees is less of a fan than you. Most people I have seen disliking the current show are annoyingly precise in giving detailed reasons to back up their dislike. You might say that Cold War was thought provoking because it “tackled ideas of war and honour”. Others might say that writing Ice Warriors as pseudo-Klingons doesn’t amount to “tackling” any issue of import to society. “Honour” is a key issue of society’s debates about war only for people who confuse the Star Trek universe with the real world.

    A line like “In the past, I can’t ever remember reading that 45 minutes isn’t long enough”, unless intended sarcastically, is too bizarre for words. Where have you been in online DW fandom if you’ve not previously come across people saying that 45 mins isn’t long enough for a DW story? Some people have been saying ever since 2005 that 45 mins is far too rushed for a proper story. And where is your evidence that those complaining that 45 mins isn’t long enough and those complaining that two-parters don’t work are the same people? Presumably they’re people on opposite sides of a single argument rather than people who can’t make their minds up.

    There are too many logical leaps in your argument for it to be taken seriously. “We’ve somehow established that, regardless, two-parters don’t work.” Who is we? Some people may have argued that two-parters don’t work but that’s doesn’t come anywhere near fandom having established some majority view that two-parters don’t work.

    There seems to be a hint of paranoia in your love for DW if you have to exaggerate any different views until you’re portraying them as some widespread movement seeking to have the show cancelled. The fact that you’ve read a handful of people slagging off Moffat cannot conceivably be translated into a general opinion among fans.

    Excuse me now but I must dash. I have to go and count on the fingers of one hand the number of people in the world calling for DW to be cancelled. Am I allowed to include anyone who says that they don’t enjoy the same episodes, writers and Doctors which I enjoy?

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi docwhom,

      I do feel that there’s overwhelming negativity. If I didn’t feel that way (and many others do too by the way), I wouldn’t be spurred to write the article.

      I didn’t really browse forums or reviews when I was younger, so no, I can’t remember that many saying that the 45 minutes format was too short. If you can, then that’s fair enough.

      I do think fans are the ones who stick with something thru thick and thin. A genuine belief that a fan will look for the good – as well as the bad. The ‘fans’ I’ve seen online point out only the bad.

      Please search around a bit. You’ll discover that there are many calling for Moffat’s dismissal, and that there is a large amount of negativity. I call it as I see it. You call it as you see it. Surely that’s fair enough…?

      • avatar docwhom says:

        That was a low blow, Philip. I’m rude to you and you go and reply politely. Are there no depths to which you won’t sink?

        You might have caught me on a bad night but I find few things get my back up so much as the self-pity of fandom and its lack of self-confidence.

        I still think that you’re confusing many with most. 20 fans bitching about Moffat might conceivably be described as “many”. But, say, Gallifrey Base has 67,000 members. Those 20 are a drop in the ocean.

        Yours seems to be redolent of a religious approach. You can’t be happy that you’ve achieved salvation so long as there’s one person who hasn’t. So you go around proselytising. Can’t you just be happy that you’re enjoying Doctor Who?

        I seriously do not believe that more than a handful of people are calling for the show to be cancelled. Even the bête noir of the Panglossian tendency, Ian Levine, spends his time complaining that there’s too little DW. Just remember this – one Lawrence Miles post doth not a summer make.

        It’s bonkers to imagine that the BBC is going to be swayed in its decision making by the views of a few dozen people posting online. For every one fan bitching about their work, there are ten fans eulogising it. Far more likely to sway the BBC are the declining ratings.

        You ought to be reassured that people feel passionately enough about DW to hate the times when they don’t like it. They’re only so disappointed because they dream about it being as perfect as they remember from their childhood.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          Haha! I’m ashamed of myself. :)

          Yeah, that’ true – there are still many fans worldwide that still enjoy it. I guess I feel there negativity is too much as the negative people are always more vocal!

          That’s also very true – I’m pleased that people are still so passionate about the show that this thread has got soooo many comments. Thanks for taking part, folks! :D

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Also, if you look at many arguments, they exaggerate to make a point. I’m not really sure Charlie Brooker thinks society is ending because X-Factor’s still on.

  25. avatar Bob James says:

    If Philip was “talking out of his arse” (and he wasn’t, docwhom), I don’t even want to attempt to imagine where you’re talking out of………docwhom. But you were still a bit funny, what with the dashing and counting on the fingers of one hand bit. But you’d need way more than one hand for your count to be all inclusive. The negativity is very real, because the larger amount of the minority that are weighing in are doing so in a way that’s rude, without class, and disrespectful in the name of stating their “opinions”. Nobody has to carry on in that fashion if they are merely expressing their own opinions, tastes, and points of view. I do agree that this negativity is coming from a minority, but they are a loud, abusive minority. Civility need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of self expression, or stating one’s opinion.

  26. avatar Silent Service says:

    I think it has been brilliant so far this year. Weird and quirky, but it’s Doctor Freaking Who!!! It is supposed to be weird and quirky.

  27. avatar David F says:

    This is what I think is odd.

    The thing that attracted most of us to Doctor Who. as children, was the incredible breadth of the concept. Yes, there are certain core elements, but they are the same now as they ever were. Around the slender premise, there is more scope for creativity and variety than there is in any other show.

    Yet having fallen in love with the brilliant flexibility of the show, we spend so much of our time furiously demanding that it fit into the narrow parameters of what we individually expect.

    The voices of doom have been speaking in force about the fiftieth anniversary. But wouldn’t it be a waste for the greatest TV show in history to simply give us what we expect? Wouldn’t it be a greater and more fitting tribute to the last five decades to do something brave and new instead of the obvious parade-of-the-Doctors we’ve convinced ourselves we want?

    The brilliance of the show is that it has been through and will go through many different phases. That’s why it survives. The moment we try to pin it down and force it into a box, it dies. Arguing that it should be cancelled because it doesn’t fit your own personal expectations is like saying the music charts should be scrapped because you don’t like the current number one.

    • avatar David F says:

      (I didn’t mean “greatest TV show in history”. Sounds really overblown and at odds with my point, and it’s not what I meant to type. I meant “most creatively unlimited TV show”.)

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi David,

      Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your comment. Wonderfully put, sire. :)


  28. Interesting article. Personally, I don’t know of anyone among my friends who love DW calling for the show to be cancelled, drastically improved, but not cancelled. The general complaints I hear/read are:

    1 – Too much reliance on the sonic screwdriver.

    2 – Not enough cliff-hangers/stories too short (The story arcs aren’t quite enough and need to be tied together better).

    3 – Not enough science. (Given the advances in theoretical physics since the show’s inception, DW is the perfect vehicle to explain those advances by putting them into “real world” scenarios).

    4 – Since when did reptiles have breasts?? (I’ve had lots of complaints about the re-imagined Silurians)

    5 – Why are all The Doctor’s companions infatuated with him? (Except Donna, IMHO the best companion so far bar Romana and Leela).

    6 – Would the BBC please stop revealing the enemy in the trailers. (One thing I always enjoyed about the pre-RTD Who was that the true enemy was never reveled until the end of the 3rd act, usually, and then followed by the theme tune, creating suspense and a desire to watch the next episode to see how The Doctor gets out of the sticky situation).

    7 – Give the guest writers the hour long specials.

  29. avatar Bob James says:

    Thank you David F. Your post echoes my feelings completely, and I’ve been trying to give a heads up to the more rational voices speaking here. I can completely understand someone not caring for certain eras, episodes, etc., but the intensity of the negativity present in some here just astounds me. Doctor Who is more successful now, and on a worldwide scale, than it has ever been before. I can see that clearly here in the USA, and it’s obvious that there is a world platform where the show is broadcast in many other countries. It has changed, and it will keep changing, and it needs to, because when it stops growing and changing, and evolving in and through the hands of different showrunners and writers, that’s when it will die. The people who don’t want to stay on its journey, don’t have to. They don’t run the show, or write it. They don’t put the hours of hard work into making it. There’s just so many people here, who’ve posted, that I wish could express that they didn’t care for this era, or particular episodes, without having to trash, slag off, and tear them down. Some have, and I welcome that discourse, and opinions and tastes that are different to mine. But all this bile, and venom, and insult, personally slagging Steven Moffat, and other writers, is just vile and nasty, and completely devoid of civility. I take comfort in the reality that the negativity won’t impact the show like it did in the late eighties. However it’s transmitted (split series, reduced series, lesser amount of episodes, etc.) changes, whatever format it takes (long story arcs, stand alone stories, etc.), I’m willing to bet that Doctor Who will continue to thrive and remain with us for a long time to come.


  30. Let’s get some perspective, if the show was cancelled we would all be devastated..I’ve been watching since 1963 and I am working my way through all back episodes (currently up to 1979). Some are the episodes are great and some are not, that’s just how it goes. I would say that the current producers, directors and writers are doing their best to produce a great series, sometimes perhaps they are over ambitious or don’t get it right..that’s OK. Personally I think that the 45 minute format can be too constricting and episodes such as Hide and Crimson Horror would have benefitted from more time. (I still have an affection for the old format of 4 x 22 minutes), others may be perfectly fine with 45 minutes..

  31. avatar David F says:

    Well said.

    When I was twelve, in 1987, I had a letter printed in Doctor Who Magazine. As I remember it, the letters page at the time was usually full of hardcore fans getting angry about any new ideas that contradicted their precious mythology, and resentment about any children presuming to say they were fans when they weren’t alive for the first three Doctors.

    My letter naively pointed out that Doctor Who was conceived as a children’s programme; that it was silly for adult fans to try to squeeze children out; and that without new ideas and changes of style, the show wouldn’t survive.

    In the next issue, I was ripped to pieces by a very angry adult fan, who mocked me and said I was too young to understand the show. It upset for me for weeks. I didn’t understand why I was being attacked for simply liking Doctor Who on my own terms, and for daring to suggest other fans had lost perspective.

    But now, when comments can be posted freely on web forums, without correspondents having to wait a month for an editor to pick and print a select few, I see that angry fan’s tone of voice replicated everywhere.

    I’m thirty-seven now. And we’ve come full circle. It was different, for a while, five or six years ago, when the fans were just grateful the show had come back at all, and were kept onside by the very slow drip-feeding of old-Who references into the new series. But in the end, when we finally realised this wasn’t a reboot and was definitely a continuation (I reckon the Journal of Impossible Things was the point where we felt secure it was the latter) the sense of entitlement crept back in to fandom. People started treating Doctor Who not as a voluntary entertainment experience, but as a human right to be fought for, like clean water or healthcare. And its production team as politicians, to be elected and scrutinised, then abused and dismissed.

  32. avatar Andy Godfrey says:

    A good well written article. Personally I think the Moffat era has been excellent though not as good as the best of the Davis period, if I am honest. Would love to see what would have happened if Russell T had written for Matt Smith. I will say this – some things about the Moffat era have however left me confused -

    PLEASE SOME ONE TELL ME HOW THE DOCTOR GOT OUT OF THE PANDORICA AND WILL BE A HAPPY MAN. THANKS.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi Andy,

      Did you ever see SJA’s Death of the Doctor? Written by RTD. Worth a look. You’ll like it; it was great to see the 11th Doctor with Sarah… and Jo!!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Also, the Pandorica thing…

      The Doctor explains that anyeone can break INTO a prison, but he’d rather like to know what’s in there first.

      So the sonic can open it. A future Doctor goes back in time to give Rory the sonic to get him out of the Pandorica. Massive paradox, yes, but then the universe is tiny, nearly dead, so time sort of smoothed it over.

      Hope that makes you happy…?

  33. avatar Andy S says:

    I’ve got about three quarters of the way down this list of comments but there are so many I seriously have to get back to my real life and get on with the pile of jobs that need doing round the house.I love Dr Who..no … really love it.Not as much as I love my wife and children……..but when it gets criticised,it’s a bit like someone having a go at one of your offspring.The fact is..they may have a point…but it stills hurts.I’ll keep watching it even if Michael Grade himself ends up writing an episode ! Why? Because I have faith in whoever the showrunners or producers are.Doctor Who has never been bigger.Look at the viewing figures for USA,Australia,New Zealand etc.It is now a truly global success.Knock it if you want,praise it if you want.Whatever rocks your boat.But the fact that we have all the above comments is because so many people care and have an opinion about this programme – positive or negative.And it’s this fact that people care and have the time to spout about it that highlights what a wonderful time Saturday nights during Who season are. But really…I’ve got some serious weeding in the garden to do !!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Oh, how I’d love to see Grade write an episode. Hahaha! That WOULD be interesting.

  34. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Hi everyone,

    Massive thanks for all your comments. I’m afraid I don’t have the time to reply to every one of you, but I really appreciate it. Apologies on my tardiness there! :)

    Thanks,

    P.

  35. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    Hi Philip, thanks for the article – you’ve echoed a lot of what I’ve been thinking recently!

    I think there are a couple of things going on here, both of which are out of our hands:

    1. The internet pushes people towards polarised opinions. I don’t know whether it’s Twitter having an effect on the way people communicate or nobody wanting to look like they’re “on the fence”, but there’s very little nuance in online arguments. Opinions are often black or white. So a new Doctor Who episode is either “ERMAGERD, SO AWESOME, BEST EVAR” or “PIECE OF SHIT, MOFFAT NEEDS TO GO, DW IS DOOMED”.

    I suspect most people are somewhere in between the two extremes. For instance, I don’t think any episode this series has been perfect by any stretch, but I also don’t think there’s been an actual bad episode. FWIW, I think “Akhaten” was the weakest so far, but I still enjoyed it. (But then I’m a freak who loved pretty much all of season 17. Even Horns Of Nimon, so I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about.)

    Sadly, a side effect of this is that an average episode (something scoring 6 or 7 out of 10 in reviews) is seen as being bad, rather than… just average.

    2. Some people mix up “subjective” with “objective”. Art is always subjective, even quite commercial art like Doctor Who. If you don’t like an episode – fine, that’s your subjective opinion. That doesn’t mean an episode is objectively bad, and it certainly doesn’t point to any wider problems with Who. A lot of work and love goes into each episode, even the weaker ones – there’s always something to enjoy. (But that’s my opinion – see above for my frankly bonkers views on season 17.)

    You may hate things about the current series and all your circle of friends might hate the current series. You may find thousands of people in online forums who hate the current series – but it’s highly likely there are far more who either love the series as it is or are plain indifferent as long as they can watch something cool and interesting on a Saturday evening.

    The thing that annoys me most is that when an episode is seen as being sub-par, reviews are often not just downbeat, but almost hyperbolically dismissive, as if a story is utterly without merit. I can’t understand that view – I’ve found there’s been something interesting with every story this series. The single-episode format has its flaws, but it’s afforded Moffat the opportunity to be experimental (or just plain mental, I can’t decide.) Does it work everytime? Not really, but that’s the whole point about being experimental – you’re not always sure what you’re going to get. “Akhaten” and “Journey” were very experimental stories, which is why not everyone liked them, but surely that’s not a reason to dismiss them out of hand?

    A lot has been said about a “noticeable dip in quality” or “this series just doesn’t engage me”. You’re completely entitled to those opinions – a lot of people hold them. But remember they’re just subjective views. Don’t think that you speak for every fan, just as those of us who like this series don’t speak for every fan.

    And please – “Moffat apologists”? Really?

    • avatar Steve Andrew says:

      My god, I’ve just read that and I sound so pompous there – very sorry.

      (Brevity, Steve, brevity…)

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        Haha! No, thanks for speaking your mind. We love a bit of pomp on the K. We do, after all, have the Valeyard on our payroll!

        I can completely see what you mean. The internet does lend itself to exaggerated notions and yes, Twitter might be a part of this. But forums certainly are too. No wonder Moffat and Smith stay off social networking! ;)

  36. avatar Gloria Thai says:

    I have watched Doctor Who since the Tom Baker days. Tom Baker is my favorite classic Doctor, and until Matt Smith, David Tennant was my favorite current Doctor. I absolutely love Matt Smith! I love the story lines. I miss Amy and Rory. I love River Song and where the story line has gone since Matt Smith came on board. I do not understand the negativity!

  37. avatar Hammerhead says:

    I’ve been a fan since the 80′s and am one of only a few Americans who has seen every episode of DW. Yes, even the classic series. It was aired on Austin PBS all through the 80′s, before the fire that destroyed the original reels.

    The revival is awesome! At the heart of Doctor Who is adventure, the kind we wish we could have. The older I get, the better Doctor Who gets. The people who complain are miserable idiots who would be disappointed with anything, because they are disappointed with the view in their mirrors. Don’t waste time listening to them. Keep doing an amazing job with DW!

    • avatar Bradondo says:

      Actually you can’t have seen every episode if you started in in the 1980s. They weren’t destroyed by fire–they were purposely wiped by the BBC due to a misguided policy that ended in 1978. Perhaps like me you may have enjoyed the missing episodes as audio only or via telesnap photography recons, but most of the missing episodes were never aired here in the US. Additionally copies of some missing episodes have been found since the 1980s so there may be a few you can catch up on. I suggest dailymotion.com where you may find recons of all the missing episodes (if you look hard enough!). Have fun catching up!

      • avatar David F says:

        I think Hammerhead might be referring to a fire at Austin PBS that destroyed whatever reels they had there.

        • avatar Bradondo says:

          My mistake then. :)


  38. We have specifically chosen to watch the show as streamed thru Netflix…..keeps us out of the loop on the “current” shows, allows us to approach the programe with the enthusiasm that I did when I was a child with 4. None of the urgent “gotta see it every week or I am going to die” but just a nice sweet anticipation and quite honestly appreciation of the remake of Doctor Who. I am 48 years old and have been a fan from childhood, and the only thing about the whole drama that upsets me is learning the Doctor’s Name…..and after studying that feeling the only conclusion is that it just pissed me off….no real definitive reason…just think it shouldn’t be! LOL The very cool thing about all the drama, is that there is drama…people are engaged and that can’t be a bad thing!

    • avatar David F says:

      That’s a great approach. Divorce the show from it’s nowness and se it with clear eyes. I wish I had then patience to do the same!

      Don’t worry. There is no way we’ll learn the Doctor’s name. It simply won’t happen. The mystery will drive a plot, but they won’t be telling us.

  39. avatar gavinio says:

    Excellent editorial. I don’t agree with everything you’ve said but then wouldn’t life be boring if we all agreed about everything?

    Like a lot of people I’ve been a fan since the 1970′s (Robots of Death was my first story at the tender age of 3) and every era has it’s high’s and lows. The Eleventh Doctor’s era is just the same. There have been some high points and there are some low points (namely for me Rings which was intrinsically dull and hard going to get to the end for me). Like some have said earlier the current run of stories just seem to be lacking in something.

    I don’t know what that is because you instantly know whether you like a story or if you dislike it. Aside from Cold War and The Crimson Horror which I really enjoyed, especially the latter, the other stories have just not had IT for me, whatever IT is. If I look further back to 7A then I would say of that run it was only Dinosaurs on a Spaceship that I really enjoyed with Asylum of the Daleks just behind it but the rest was more miss than hit.

    I cant fault the ideas Moffat has had, some of them are very interesting indeed, and Matt Smith is easily on of the best Doctor’s, the look of the series is great, the supporting cast are usually excellent but overall something just isn’t clicking for me. I still look forward to every episode the same way now as when I was a kid and I’ll always be a fan because I never stopped watching in the 1980′s when others I know did.

    A good story is a good story whether it’s a 45 minute episode or 90 minutes, in the same way a bad story is a bad story. If more people are disliking the current run of episodes for whatever reason then surely that has to say something to those in charge of the show about the direction they are currently running in and change accordingly – especially if the majority of those are the casual viewer and not the fans because I fully agree when RTD and The Moff say they shouldn’t be catering to the fans. History shows what a bad idea that is. When the casual viewer is concerned however then they should listen and listen closely.

    • avatar Endy says:

      Oh dear oh dear all this makes me so very very sad. I love this program and how dare anybody claim to be able to rubbish an episode just because they have been watching since the Zygons!I I have been watching since day 1 and there have been for me some terrible episodes over the years. Some of the ones I like least, will be someone else’s favorites and I must respect that.
      Maybe we get less episodes because some so called fans are so rude! No need to be rude ever. And its OK not to like something, does not make it rubbish. Please please if you really do not like the show anymore go watch something else and leave the fast majority to go on enjoying it and celebrating 50 brilliant years.
      That is not to condemn constructive criticism.
      Now and again we do get an episode that just does not work. This is because this show moves forward all the time, never stands still, experiments, takes risks, which is what makes it so great. It’s also what makes it fifty years old!
      Even when an episode fails there is often some great stuff in there. For me Love and Monsters is the best example of a bad Doctor Who story, (If you love it, remember it is only my opinion) but there are some cracking moments in there and it was a brave idea to try to do something different. I would have hated them not to have made it. I cannot think of an episode ever that did not have some good stuff in it. So if you are one of the people who seem to disagree with that, then sorry but you probably should not be watching. It must be a bit like me watching big brother! Or better still Bill and Ben because I was once a fan.
      The Rings was a good example of going for something a bit different, and I for one happened to love it, but that is not important. Compared with most TV, I do not understand how anyone could claim it to be sh..e! You may not like the episode and that is fine, it may not work for you which is also fine but just like Love and Monsters it is anything but rubbish .
      As for the 50th celebrations I suspect there is much more than we know about going on and in a way this might be the source of the present problem. A small minority want full details of what’s happening now and are angered by the secrecy. Sadly all the negative people if I am right,rather then having egg on their faces and feeling complete fools for prejudging incorrectly, will simply rubbish whatever surprises await us in an attempt to spoil it for everyone.
      You know the kind of thing.’ He must hate the program if he is doing a live episode’
      Anyway I will judge the celebrations after the event, and if I am disappointed, then I am entitled to my informed opinion.
      I like the fact they are keeping things from us. I will be amazed if there is not much more than a nod to classic Doctor Who and if there isn’t there will be a very good reason.
      I respect everyone’s opinions but if a small minority of you help to fuel an excuse to cancel this brilliant show then what ever you do don’t blink, ever again.
      Endy

  40. avatar Andy S says:

    Let’s stop all this waste of our time.

    There are only 3 questions to ask and three replies.

    1. Do you like Dr Who? Then keep watching.
    2. Do you dislike Dr Who ? Then stop watching
    3.Do you want Dr Who cancelled? Then carry on whinging

    Simple

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Point made in the minimum of summation. I like that…………

  41. avatar martin says:

    be grateful ,peoples of the earth,that dr who is on the air ,and not off air for another decade or so. There was great stories and naff stories in every season ,from hartnell all the way to smith.that is part of itsome stand as fab some not so fab. but when I hear people say cancel it I get fed up with them ,because if it did,they would then moan about that. dr who,good or bad should be enjoyed.ive watched it for years and now my 4yr old is scared by some of it,yet still compelled to watch it( his choice may I say).

  42. avatar Dan Hallett says:

    An interesting article and a fun mix of responses and differing opinion. Personally I love Doctor Who and have done since I was a 6 year old (in 1986 if you’re wondering). My overriding feeling is that I’m still so glad it came back and as with the classic series there have been episodes of both RTD and Moffatt eras that I have disliked and episodes I have loved dearly. Although I have found the current run the weakest of Moffat’s era I still watch avidly each week. For me the most damaging thing to Doctor Who at the moment is the split seasons which forces the bulk of the episodes into the Spring, it just doesn’t work. We were promised Doctor Who back on dark autumn/winter nights and yet here we are back in the Spring/early summer slot trying to watch spooky stories whilst its glorious sunshine outside. Merlin was never treated this disrespectfully and had the slot Who should have had, and it looks like this Atlantis show is going to get the same. The Beeb do seem to forget that if it wasn’t for Doctor Who they wouldn’t have had Robin Hood, Merlin and now Atlantis.

  43. avatar Spacephantom says:

    I’ve been a Doctor Who viewer (and yes “fan”) since the show began in 1963, and have never missed a single episode as it was broadcast on BBC1. I have to say that I also am completely mystefied by the currrent negativity towards the series. For me, series 7b is easily the best run of episodes in the Moffat /Smith era so far, and (with the expeption of “The Rings of Akhaten”, which I found good rather than great), is right up there with the best of the RTD/Tennant era. My only quibble is that I wish we had had a complete run of 13 episides last year and the same again this year.

    The standout episode for me was “Cold War”, which is as good, if not better, than any episode I’ve seen since the 2005 reboot, and might even have slotted in nicely in the the Hinchcliffe/Holmes/Baker era.

  44. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Thanks for all your positive comment, everyone. :) This is how fandom excels itself.

  45. avatar Fallyn says:

    So because something is changing (away from how RTD’s era ran), it should be canceled. Then by your view, the series should have canceled the moment Hartnell left.
    And please, don’t compare the current run of Doctor Who to the JNT era in the late 80′s. The situation of the BBC, and Doctor Who are NOTHING alike. The BBC wanted Doctor Who off the air, and did all they could to do so. Currently, the show is doing fantastic.

    I have a better idea, instead of calling for a show to be canceled (thus ruining the fun for those of us who ENJOY the show), how about you and your family turn the channel to something else. Eventually, one day, someone else will take up the helm from Moffat, and maybe your strict rules of how the show should be will return. Maybe.

  46. avatar The13thDoctor says:

    After thorough reinterpretation of the show as a whole (classic and new) I can happily say there are only three truly rubbish stories. 1) Timelash (mishmash plotting accompanied by a failed tribute to HG Wells) 2) Delta and the Bannermen (A flat out mess lacking any kind of comprehensibility.) and 3) Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (Just bad characterization all the way through combined with predictable plotting, and dialogue, combined with the chagrin of the potential not realized.) But in lieu of all of these niggles I still watch those episode because there is always something wonderful to watch about them. (The Borad, Sylvester McCoy, Andrew Garfield, etc) I agree with one commentator when he said that even when Doctor Who isn’t at it’s peak it’s still way better than any other show pure and simple because no other show can do what Doctor Who does. That’s what brings me back to it always. Only in Doctor Who can a character ride up the side of the shard on a motorbike, or witness the core of a spaceship in a frozen explosion.

    I walk into the show knowing full well that even if the scenario is familiar, it’s about the way Doctor Who puts it’s own spin on it. All because in other sci-fi where the character’s first insinct is to blow it up, The Doctor always chooses to resolve it a peacefully as possible, and preserve life wherever possible. which in standard action scenarios offers a refreshing spin on how to resolve the situation.

    I do agree that some eras mesh better with people than other eras. I maintain in the classic series, Barry Letts, Philip Hinchcliffe, and the Andrew Cartmel Masterplan were the best times of the show. Next thing I know I get arguments from friends regarding the merits of the JNT era. Despite my disdain for JNT’s creative decisions I have to admire his tenacity to keep the show running, and I have to say even in his era there are some fantastic stories. What keeps me going is knowing that there is no other show as broad, versatile, and varied as Doctor Who.

    So the idea that Moffat is killing the show is utterly ridiculous and are product of people who clearly have their own concept of what the show is. While this statement is highly argumentative, I will simply accuse that your perception of the show is quite narrow, and eager to shove 50 years of evolution into a set pattern. Set patterns are more likely to kill a show than a producer who is eager to experiment with the format of a show that thrives on experimentation. Frankly I would be disappointed If I have to only watch a show once to get everything I need out of it. As I type this I’m watching the Fifth Doctor Story “The King’s Demon’s” at first glance a trivial souffle (see what I did there) but with repeat viewing indeed gets better because in true fashion to the show there are various nuances that will pass us by until the repeated viewing. Such can indeed be said of the show as it is now.

    I have been consistently impressed by Series 7 and I mean the whole of it. There is nary a weak episode in the lot, and after repeat viewings gets better and better. Even moreso than the tonally monochromatic sixth series, and I attribute it to Moffat and Co’s eagerness to experiment with the format, and I would never want them to stop.

  47. avatar Koth says:

    Wow! This thread has grown a bit!
    While I do love Doctor Who I feel I can criticise when its not good because I have seen the best. I may be over generalising my feelings the SM era as some of the points above have made me think. Series 7 has been ok, with some good ideas, but not the best. Same series 6 and 5. I hope we get some good payoff as end of arc stories have been weak 3 out of the 6 previous series.

    • avatar Kitty says:

      I am equally tired of people telling me how wrong I am not to enjoy the show anymore and to quit criticizing it. I find the Moffat era massively disappointing, his characters flat and his stories riddled with plot holes and logic gaps. I quit watching three weeks ago and am actually surprised at how little I miss it. I guess I’ll come back on board when a new show runner does; in the meantime, I wish people would stop trying to convince me of the show’s brilliance.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Kitty, I’m not trying to convince you of the brilliance of the show, or anything else for that matter. I’ve been commenting here about the negativity and lack of civility many here display in expressing their “opinions”. I’m not concerned with your opinion, and absolutely free of charge, here’s mine. You have done the right thing having stopped viewing a show you don’t care for, and all the others who share similar sentiments to yours should do the same.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      It certainly has grown! I can’t believe it. :)

      That’s fair enough – criticising is fine. It’s what we do as fans. It’s when the criticism turns to plain negativity that I wanted to address.

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        And the same to you, Kitty: I’m fine with criticism, but not out-and-out negativity. Also, if you don’t want me trying to convince you, don’t click on the article.

        Plus, Moffat doesn’t write every single episode. He writes some of them, sure, but there’s a lot of input from a lot of other people too. If your view is that all the stories have big plot holes and all the characters flat, then that’s your seeing issue with the whole of the screenwriting industry, not exclusively Moffat’s Who.

        • avatar Endy says:

          I find it hard to understand how anyone can find nothing they like in the last 40 odd episodes and yet there is Kitty as living proof. I suppose it is hard to offer constructive criticism when taking such a negative view of something as a whole. During that time which Kitty dismisses in a sentence, there have been brilliant episodes, jolly good ones, OK episodes and the odd not so good one, just as there always has been and always will be, Not only that, but it is unlikely we will all agree which were which. Still trust me Kitty I am really not trying to change your mind. I am just pleased you have stopped watching. It is better for you and better for the rest of us who love the show and hate it being unreasonably slagged off. Constructive criticism is good, slagging of all the hard work put in by lots of people over the last three years is horrid.
          Could I just ask a question. Was there not a lot of nasty stuff aimed at RTD when he was show runner at around the same time?.
          Anyway most of the rest of us can now get on like big daft kids with being very excited our show is still so good and celebrate 50 fantastic years. I can’t help feeling sorry for the negative brigade. Perhaps guys you have done something really very, very silly and grown up.

          • avatar Kitty says:

            I didn’t say I didn’t like anything. I liked, maybe, three of the episodes. I don’t go around moaning about it either. I’m just done for the time being. I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind, either, I was just curious to read the article. And no, RTD wasn’t perfect either, but he created characters I cared about. I was just bored, bored, bored by Amy Pond and by Moffat’s style of storytelling. I’ll come back when something changes. I don’t want the show to be canceled or anything; glad people are still enjoying, sad I’m not.

          • avatar Kitty says:

            And just to point out, even though all I have done is express my point of view, I have now been called out and “felt sorry for.” I haven’t called anyone out or said they were stupid or pitiable, so look at yourself for your own negativity.

        • avatar Kitty says:

          I’m not necessarily talking about you; I was curious to see what you had to say. I was talking about people who are all “I can’t believe you don’t like the show, I guess you don’t understand complex storytelling” etc etc etc etc. There is an equal amount of this going on, and mindless cheerleading is just as boring as mindless moaning.

          Not saying that this is what you are doing, at all,

          • avatar Bradondo says:

            You raise valid points, Kitty, and that’s something I can fully embrace. I’m still completely on board and eagerly awaiting each new story, but I admit there have been a lot of dramatic threads spun in the past three seasons that were either dropped completely or given short shrift. I don’t mean story-arcs such as the Silence and the exploding TARDIS–those will be wrapped up at the end of this season most likely. It’s character development where the recent seasons have dropped the ball, in my opinion. I think it’s an unfortunate consequence of this “condensed storytelling” philosophyI and I can certainly see why it has put you off. The Ponds in particular had some less than believable emotional reactions to their experiences, and I was frankly quite ready to see the back of them by the time they left. The Power of Three for example spent much of the episode focused on the Ponds’ home life but chose to give us only the mundane, every day parts of their relationship rather than delving into the consequences of their various traumatic experiences (I feel TPOT is the weakest episode of the entire Moffatt era). For me, though there’s still enough good stuff–and some mind-blowing great stuff, as well–to keep me watching and excited. This half series has had a couple of real rip-snorters (Cold War and The Crimson Horror are both amazing, classic Who and reveal Mark Gatiss to be the obvious choice for next showrunner) and even Rings of Akhaten, though a failed experiment in some ways, gave us a deeper look at Clara’s history and emotional life in a brief montage than we saw of the Ponds over multiple episodes (and there were a few gorgeous visuals as well which I, for one would have been sorry to have missed). Moffat has said he’s closer to his end than his beginning on the show, so within a year or two we’ll see a change-up and hopefully the show will resonate with you again. In summation I don’t think your attitude towards the show was ever the intended target here–I personally welcome the sort of discussion you raise. Cheers!:)

          • avatar Philip Bates says:

            Hi Kitty,

            Fair enough; my apologies for misunderstanding.

            Shame you don’t like the show at the minute – but as you say, a new team will take over eventually.

            I agree; there is a tendency to say stuff like ‘you don’t understand,’ so I can see how that can drag you down.

            Thanks for reading my article anyway; I do appreciate any reader who takes time out to read what I’ve written. :)

  48. avatar iank says:

    The show is very bad at the moment. That’s where the negativity comes from. This article just strikes me as a clever way of telling people to shut up and accept any old rubbish that the increasingly shoddy current team churn out. Thanks all the same, but I’d rather keep exercising my critical faculties and then legitimately expressing my opinion.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi iank,

      I, too, am legitimately expressing my opinion, which isn’t ‘shut up and accept any old rubbish’ – because I genuinely think the show is incredibly strong. My issue isn’t with people being critical – I think being critical can be both positive and negative – it’s with the recent raft of negativity that has mired comments on many sites.

      The majority of the comments on this page agree with my sentiments.

      My general opinion is: please be critical – it’s what we do as fans – but please stop with the negativity for negativity’s sake.

      • avatar David F says:

        Missing the point, iank.

        It’s not a question of whether the show is good or bad. What many of us are tired of is the overblown tone and needlessly extreme sentiments with which others are expressing their opinions.

        That’s what we’re talking about here. Instead of saying “Moffat’s destroying the show”, say, “I don’t think Moffat’s ideas are paying off”. How about that as a start? Same point, but expressed with perspective and dignity.

        You speak about the production team of a TV series about a fictional alien as if it’s a failed government. Do you know how ridiculous that is? Doctor Who isn’t a service to which you’re entitled. It’s a bunch of stories. You like them or you don’t. No one can tell you to “shut up and accept any old rubbish”, because surely, the moment you don’t like it, you drift away and pay attention to a different TV show or take up squash or whatever.

        When people write stories — especially to deadlines and budget requirements, as Steven Moffat does — they WANT people to like what they’ve written. These writers always care about what they’re producing, and it matters to them greatly that people like the end result. Now obviously, sometimes we don’t, but to even suggest — as many “fans” have — that writers don’t care or are trying to destroy the show . . . It’s just bizarre nonsense.

        That’s what we’re appealing against. Not your opinion: your tone.

        • avatar Michael Herbert says:

          I completely agree with David F, if you don’t like Dr who at the moment , stop watching, don’t waste time and energy attacking the programme, There are plenty of old episodes to watch instead. I’ve just watched the Sea Devils and its great, but so was Hide and the Crimson Horror.

  49. avatar Endy says:

    Just when I though things we looking up.along comes iank. Doctor Who is not bad at the moment. I would say the vast majority of fans do not watch bad TV and are very much enjoying it. Some people may not like the direction the show has gone in the last couple of years and they are perfectly entitled to feel that way. I have no problem with that. however just because Me or anyone else does not like something it does not make it bad. I confess I do have a slight problem understanding how anyone can think most of the last 40 odd episodes is bad and feel a little sorry for what they seem to be missing out on, but thats just me and you will have to forgive me for that.
    My whole argument is live and let live. If I stop liking something “Heros”was a good example for me, or “Lost” I did not try and spoil it for all the folk out there who were still enjoying it, I simply stopped watching.
    There are not enough hours in the day to watch stuff you think is bad. Life is too short for that.
    I hate negativity. If you cannot find something to celebrate and enjoy in Doctor Who then its not your show go find something else to be positive about. It does not matter what, but I give you my word you will feel better for it.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi Endy,

      I, too, thought things were getting better. Ah well. Can’t please everyone. Still, it’s nice to see such love for the show in these comments. I think it’s just, in general, the negative people are more vocal.

      Glad you’re enjoying the show as much as I am – and thanks for reading. :)

  50. avatar gavinio says:

    Playing devils advocate for a moment here – it appears that the viewing public are not as impressed with the show at the moment either because the final ratings for Hide and Journey were well below the norm getting only 6.6m viewers. That’s a bit of a drop from the opening weeks of the series. Of course those figures do not include iPlayer views and the lighter evenings etc play their part I know but it’s stranger than normal to see such a big drop over the course of a series so quickly.

    There are a couple of people I work with who are casual viewers – I term that as watching the show without wanting to watch it more than once or watch the classic series and they’ve both said how they are struggling to keep watching at the moment because the show is not as entertaining at the moment. If the casuals are losing interest then isn’t that a problem?

    • avatar Endy says:

      Thanks for your comment Philip and for raising this issue. History will keep repeating itself. RTD was attacked by a vocal minority when in charge and the ratings thing crops up all too regularly. I am no expert but 6.5 million viewers plus over a million on I player is good for any show. I may be wrong but I thing figures drop after first episode every year. On top of this more people are watching the show world wide than ever before.
      A good example of constructive as against destructive criticism is that in my opinion the BBC have been showing Doctor Who too early. I also liked the plan to move it to the winter. Last week it was once again up against a bank holiday and good weather, the first good weather this year.
      Someone on this link said the Radio Times had stopped promoting the show as much. Not sure that is true of the north west edition. We have had a lot of articles, its been drama of the week most weeks and it looks like two covers in eight episodes perhaps not as good as two covers in six in 2012! What other show gets that?
      The danger is perception becomes news and linked with destructive criticism provides the Tabloids with nasty headlines. If some of the public read in the paper that it is too complicated even for fans, then there is a good chance they will believe that.
      I wish there was more Doctor Who but I think the reason the show is rationed is so the average viewer does not become too familiar with it. RTD said this was why he just did four episodes (three?) in 2009. As I have said elsewhere Merlin always got a thirteen episode run and so did Robin Hood! Look what happened to them.
      How about a new topic trying to guess what the Beeb haven’t told us yet about the big fifty.
      So excited and ok if it turns out that we do know everything already and there are no suprises, then I will still stay positive, although I might be just a little disappointed! .

  51. avatar Edwardian Cricketer says:

    My goodness there are a lot of posts on this topic! See what you started, Philip? ;-) This is what I call discussion. Or debate. Or outright argument. Your choice. The point I’m making here is that you got people talking about Doctor Who. Some of the discussion here is well-voiced, thought-provoking commentary and some is emotional, knee-jerk spew. But it’s all still talking about Doctor Who.

    I starting watching Doctor Who when I was about 11 years old, so around 1981. I started reading the Target novelizations sometime within the next year and I haven’t stopped. Like many, I’ve dedicated a huge part of my life to a TV series. When I was a teenager, I let Doctor Who consume me, to sometimes dire consequences. See, I loved Doctor Who when it wasn’t cool. Doctor Who taught me, more than anything else, tolerance. Tolerance for all things different from myself. And when I learned it had been, for all intents and purposes cancelled, I was as heartbroken as if I’d broken up with my best friend. When I heard that it was coming back, I could hardly contain myself.

    I fell absolutely in love with this huge concept show. That, to me, is what Doctor Who is – a concept; an ever evolving, constantly changing concept. That evolution and change has always been the premise of the show. There have been so many producers, directors, and writers responsible for how Doctor Who evolves that it is a new show almost every five years. That’s what’s kept alive and vital. I have said before and I will say now that I think the two dirtiest words in Doctor Who are “canon” and “continuity.”

    It’s kind of funny that I don’t remember ever dissecting the classic series the way I sometimes do the new series. I can only guess that I’ve ignored the Doctor’s advice to Amy and grew up. I made myself promise to try to stop doing that and just watch this fantastic show for what it is. And Moffat has said that, to him, Doctor Who is a fairy tale. So for now, that’s what it is, a fairy tale, with all the impossible hugeness and the immediate closeness a fairy tale can offer all at once. That’s Moffat’s concept. The next person at the helm may have a different idea. That’s the brilliance of this show.

    On the individual stories, I will say this: one person’s trash is another one’s treasure. Not every episode is perfect. They never have been. I think Doctor Who is still the best thing on television warts and all and I will continue to watch and read Doctor Who.

  52. avatar Chris says:

    You say you don’t what the problem is with 45 minute episodes. I feel that’s the show’s biggest problem at the moment. Lets look at an example: The Power of Three. This is a text book example of how not to pace an episode. The episode had a great build up but a rushed, lousy payoff which also ties into something else you mentioned: the overuse of sonic screwdriver.

    It is overused. The sonic screwdriver is essentially the Bat-belt from the Adam West Batman TV show. There’s a reason why John Nathan-Turner did away with the sonic screwdriver in 1982, he thought the writers were getting lazy and having the Doctor get out of a jam easy by just using the sonic screwdriver. If he thought that in 1982 then he would be appalled at how its being used today if he were still alive. Before it was used sparely to open doors or fiddle with something electronically but now can pretty much do anything. Its sorta like the overuse of lightsabers in the Star Wars prequel. Every scene the Doctor has to have it out and pointing it at something.

    Getting back to pacing, The Power of Three would’ve benefitted if it was a two parter episode. Have part 1 end with a cliffhanger (remember those?) with the Doctor starring into one of the opened boxes. Next episode people are dropping to the ground because of cardiac arrest and The Doctor has to figure out a solution. It would also allow more screen time to the villain who had about a minute or two of screen time.

    The problem with the episodes is there’s either a lot of buildup and a quick climax or little payoff or a big climax with little buildup. Think back to the great episodes of the past. A story like Inferno or Earthshock or even Genesis of the Daleks would never be possible nowadays with the time limit. I find it strange that DW episodes are 45 minutes long whereas other BBC series are 60 minutes.

    Finally, negativity about Doctor Who. I can’t speak for everyone and I don’t agree with many other people’s criticisms. For example I was never a part of that “we want David Tennant back” crowd. I don’t hate a particular Doctor. Eccleston, Tennant and Smith are good Doctors. They are poorly written sometimes but it isn’t their fault. I thought that Series 5 was, while not perfect (looking at you Victory of the Daleks and The Lodger), the strongest season since the show came back in 2005. Series 6 was a mixed bag and Series 7.1 was a disappointment. I think generally the negativity comes from people wanting better stories. The show is relying more on being silly. Remember there was a point during Tom Baker’s reign that the show became too silly and critics complained that it was going into vaudeville. My main problem with how Moffat is crafting the show is the overuse of whimsy and sentimentalism. It gets pretty overbearing at times. This was a problem that was also present in RTD’s era as well and just to make it clear I’m not a RTD fan…at all. How many plots have been resolved using the power of love? Quite a number.

    These are my criticisms and will probably differ from everyone else’s. All I want from the show is to remember that its suppose to be science fiction and not this fairytale angle that Moffat is trying to push onto us. I was very pleased with Cold War as it was well-paced, science fiction story for once. But frankly the show has been disappointing. I want to like it. I really do. I was excited to see a good Cybermen story in Series 6 with “Closing Time” and it was big let down. I think Asylum of the Daleks was the last straw and since then I’ve become a little more cynical when it comes to Doctor Who. I don’t let any of the hype get to me and do approach the show with a more critical eye but again I don’t go into an episode with a negative perspective.
    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi Chris,

      Tonight’s episode, Nightmare in Silver, is the first of the season I feel would benefit from being in two parts. I don’t think The Power of Three could’ve sustained two episodes, personally, and I think many would tune out the second week based on Part 1. That’s how I personally feel anyway. That’s not to say I don’t think the ending was rushed; it definitely was, and it’s the worst example of overuse of the sonic.

      I do feel that the sonic gets a bashing though: after it was destroyed in The Visitation, I think there was a bit of a problem with pace, in that the Doctor still basically flicked some switches and did some sci-fi-y mumbojumbo. People didn’t necessarily understand it – but hey, no sonic, so the only equivalent was fiddling on a computer. I remember in the Sixth Doctor era, he didn’t explain a whole lot either – once, he even told Peri that he’d explain how he survived an explosion later. And he never did. Think it was in Timelash. Don’t quote me on that. I’d rather have the sonic than that.

      Also, without the sonic, the Doctor gets locked up a lot. If suddenly either him or his companion can lock-pick (like in Carnival of Monsters – in which I liked the lock-picking quirk), people complain about that too. It seems a double-edged sword.

      Also, like any sensible grown-up, I have a sonic screwdriver. It’s just too good to resist. ;)

      I personally like the sentimentality in Who. And sci-fi is full of sentiment too. Just look at Ray Bradbury, whose work I adore. But I guess not everyone will like everything.

      I’d love an hour of Doctor Who each week too; the 45 minutes slot does seem odd. But I suppose at least hour-long specials are semi-regular and feel a bit more… well, special, for that extra 15 minutes.

      Negativity will always be around, sadly, but I still firmly believe that even the worst of Who is the best of TV.

      Let me know what you think of this season’s Cyberman story though; be interesting to see if your hopes are renewed. (Love the Cybermen myself. Creepy stuff, but I think Nightmare in Silver was rushed.)

      Thanks for commenting. :)

      • avatar Chris says:

        Hey Philip

        On Nightmare of Silver, I liked it. I would say its the best Cybermen story since the series was renewed, but still feel the ones from the Classic era (Tenth Planet, Tomb of the Cybermen, and Earthshock) still top it. But at least this one actually featured the Cybermen. The two stories featuring Classic villains (this and Cold War) were quite good which sadly I can’t say for the past two Dalek episodes or really any Dalek story in the new series.

        The Sonic Screwdriver is indeed a neat gadget (the 4th Doctor’s one is my favorite) but like any cool device it can still be overused. I pointed out the lightsaber from Star Wars as an example. In the original trilogy the lightsaber was used sparingly because of the limitations of the time. But it was effective because when someone took it out one got all excited for what was going to happen. In the prequels the lightsabers come out so many times that there’s no excitement.

        Back to the Sonic Screwdriver I just find annoying how many times its in the Doctor’s hand and constantly hearing that buzzing sound. It would be nice for the Doctor to use his own observational skills rather than depending on the Sonic. Also its strange how The Doctor can tell so much from the tiny display screen. Didn’t know it could display someone’s entire medical condition on such a tiny screen =)

        About that Sixth Doctor example, yeah I think Eric Saward was getting a little lazy in the script editing department which probably had something to do with his relationship with JNT breaking down and JNT trying to be in charge of the writing (he himself not a writer therefore he was hesitant about hiring experienced writers). I’m a Colin Baker defender and do like his stories but I will admit that Twin Dilemma and Timelash were absolute crap.

        On sentimentally, its fine but too much can become overbearing. Emotions and relationships were much more subtle in the Classic Series which I rather like because when they happen they feel real. Sometimes in the New Series they feel rather shoehorned in and at worst soap opera-ish. Also there’s the construction of the scene. The First Doctor’s farewell to Susan is a poignant moment in the series. The look on William Hartnell’s face as he gets into the Tardis, the looks he exchanges with Barbara and Ian, the complete lack of music and of course that wonderful speech. If done today it would’ve been too overblown with dramatic camera angles and over the top music. Sorry but I’m not a Murray Gold fan. I think it would be neat if different composers were hired for individual episodes and there was more of a focus on synths rather than orchestra.

        Anyway, those affectionate moments are more rewarding to me than the some of the scenes in the New Series. Once in a while we get those subtler moments but most of the time they’re pretty sappy. But there are some good moments particularly The Doctor’s speech to a sleeping Amy in Big Bang. For the first time I got a sense of the old man in a young man’s body which I felt was missing from Eccleston and Tennant’s tenure.

        And then there’s the sad moments. Another example from the Classic series: the death of Adric. Again played straight. The buildup to it is pretty intense with again no fancy camerawork and a minimal score. Even though I knew ahead of time of Adric’s fate I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens. Acting and editing really make up of the scene: the dying Cybermen slowly creeping onto the bridge, the Doctor frantically trying to get the Tardis console to work, Adric trying to break the last computer sequence, the ship getting closer and closer to Earth, the look of terror on the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan’s faces, and the last of shot of Adric clutching that rope thing that belong to his brother. Again not overblown and no choir drowning out everything. On regenerations, I know that everyone cried over the 10th Doctor’s regeneration but I think the Third Doctor’s regeneration was probably the saddest because the Doctor literally dies on screen and is somewhat dead for a minute. Again no music just great performances from Pertwee and Sladen.

        So sentimentally: good but needs to be used sparingly because sometimes there’s so much at times that I think even Steve Spielberg would say to tone it down =)

        • avatar gavinio says:

          I didn’t cry when Tennant regenerated so there! I was quite glad he was going because I simply didn’t take to him as a Doctor. The only time in the new series I’ve had a tear in my eye was in School Reunion when K-9 was destroyed! I’m a hard Yorkshire lad you see – we don’t do emotion! We’re the Cybermen of the UK.

          • avatar Chris says:

            I shouldn’t have said a “everyone” but “a lot of people.” =)
            The destruction of K-9 was me probably the most emotional I got watching the RTD era of the show which is saying something that I felt more emotion for a robotic dog than any of the Rose goodbye scenes or anything else going on during that period of the show.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          Hey Chris,

          That’s fair enough. I do agree with your views to some extent. (Apart from Nightmare in Silver. ;P)

          The sonic can be overused, yes – I think it was in The Rings of Akhaten, certainly – but I do think people get too caught up about this. I don’t think it really ruins a story, as some people say in comments. It’d be nice to see the Doctor using his observational skills to pick stuff up, but I think it’d probably slow down the pace too much for casual viewers. Mind you, in Partners in Crime, when the Doctor had that weird gadgety-thing to track down the transformations into Adipose, people were alright with that. So maybe something similar would be beneficial in future eps? Essentially a sonic that’s not a sonic.

          I feel that the RTD era was more littered with sentimentality and ‘soap opera’ traits than Moffat’s. I’m not an RTD basher; I just think they’ve toned it down. A Christmas Carol is a beautiful example of this: a good tone and an excellent pace. But each to their own. :)

          I didn’t cry when the Tenth Doctor regenerated, but not because I didn’t care for Tennant; he was exceptional, as is Matt. But I was too bogged down by the story to feel that much. It felt like the Tenth had died at the end of The Waters of Mars… :/

  53. avatar Dr Hula Hoop says:

    I don’t like it any more because it’s dull, dull as dish water. Who is the impossible girl? Who cares? Some giant bag of nonsense dreamt up by Moff. I think Matt Smith is a brilliant Doctor but annoying companions like Amy Pond, her wife, Old Man River and now the midget hair-tosser seriously cramp his style. Why should we invest in guesswork as to where the story arc will be going when the payoff is usually a load of unintelligible old cobblers?
    The Doctor’s name. Again, who cares? Big thing this season, forgotten the next.

  54. avatar Dr Hula Hoop says:

    I’m not being funny but you have put words in people’s mouths too, saying it’s gone downhill and cancel it now aren’t the same things. I think it’s gone very formulaic and the formula seems to be batshit. I never compare it to past seasons just watch each episode for what they are and so far all of them seem to be like a shot in the arm of some super adrenalin-crazed monster-mash to the sound of pom pom pom pa pom pe pom pom every Saturday and a tagged on so-called story-arc which will just reveal the tip of the iceberg of next season’s.
    I don’t see why that has to b mentioned in the same breath as cancelling the show though, just pass it on like a football manager, Mark Gatiss would make the show too comedic and he’s always been second best in the imagination department to Moff but Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who would be a thing to behold.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Crikey. Where to start?!

      I know a friend who hasn’t watched Who in ages, but she wants to know about the Impossible Girl.

      Similarly, the Doctor’s name is something we all want to know – yet don’t want to know. The show is called Doctor Who! This whole season hasn’t been about the Doctor’s name anyway. The last episode is.

      Lots of people care. And lots of people love these characters. Look at the comments on this very page. Just because you don’t doesn’t mean others don’t. You’ve put words in people’s mouths too.

      Also, search the web. I know saying things have taken a downhill slide and ‘cancel it now’ aren’t the same. However, if you look around, people are saying both. I’m not gonna name names. I don’t think that’s fair. But if I hadn’t seen comments saying the BBC should cancel it (or similar phrases like ‘this has had its day’), then I simply wouldn’t say it – and certainly not in an article I know will garner plenty of comments, will cause a stir and will give fuel to nay-sayers as well as those fully behind the show.

      Thanks for reading though and for commenting. Glad you like Matt Smith – something we can agree on. :)

  55. avatar Phillip Lamb says:

    I’m afraid I’m one of the people who’d like to see Moffat go so we’re all clear but I’m curious, as a fellow writer, what your opinions are on the quality of writing at the moment as this is one of my main complaints with him and not one I’ve seen addressed; not just his own but when he green lights terribly poor episodes with poor dialogue a la The Curse of the Black Spot etc.

    I think the majority of the negativity stems from the fact that he comes across as pure ego, e.g his comments on women, his refusal to listen to criticism and his thinly guised insults towards anyone who brings up a plot hole with him. Us Brits are notorious for hating the big successes who forget where they come from and who they should thank and at the moment, Moffat seems to be ignoring fans wishes and pandering to a small clique on Tumblr who seemingly only watch it to make gifs and quote lines and get excited over sexual relationships between the Doctor and companions (something I believe takes the magic from the show and something RTD will never get my forgiveness for!). If you’ve never encountered them, I recommend you don’t go looking for them… They are… tediously ignorant of the show’s core values in my honest opinion.

    Moffat just has this incredible ability to ignore established canon and then even contradict his own lore for the sake of a plot device or two. He also seems obsessed with making his mark on the show which makes me fear that he will actually give a name to the Doctor (something I think will destroy the show as the Doctor’s charm of being an eccentric meddler somewhat aside from the companions and completely enigmatic has been stripped away with his relationships with that everlasting Rose character and far too much delving into his thoughts and emotions).

    I just feel he is trying to hard to outdo himself and unfortunately has ideas that he fleshes out in his head but doesn’t necessarily get across all too well. Doctor Who works best when it’s at its most simple: The Doctor arrives and saves the day by meddling in events and leaves. We don’t need River Songs or Impossible Girls, they’re becoming quite dull to many of us now.

    Please understand this is opinion. I’ve deliberately not referenced examples as there are plenty out there as these are a lot of the negative community’s complaints, ones I feel you haven’t truly addressed and would like to hear your opinion on.

    Ta.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Hi Phillip,

      What did you think of The Name of the Doctor? I’m relieved his name wasn’t revealed too! :)

      Basically, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the writing. I think it’s been incredibly strong. Even The Curse of the Black Spot isn’t as terrible as people think: ignoring some plot holes, I do genuinely enjoy it. (Plus, Amy as a pirate. Crikey.)

      But yeah, I think the writing is strong; brilliant, actually. Great dialogue and clever plots. That’s not been the case with all Who stories, however much I love all eras of the show.

      Also, it’s not all down to Moffat. There are script editors in the production crew. He seems to be a scapegoat.

      Moffat’s ‘ego’ is an interesting one. Firstly, I don’t think he has a massive ego. He has guts, confidence and determination and those things can be seen as ego, in my opinion. He has ego, sure – but only the amount everyone working in TV has. They have to have confidence in what they do or they wouldn’t get anywhere. I was told once at a comics convention that if someone asks you what your work is like and you go, ‘yeah, it’s alright,’ they will have the same belief in your material as you do: very little.

      And I genuinely think that’s the case.

      His refusal to listen to criticism, I think, is fair enough. If you had worked your whole life to get somewhere and you go on the internet and see people going, ‘it’s rubbish,’ how would you feel? You’d lose confidence in what you’re actually doing – and that’s bad for both you and what you do. Plus, everyone has a different opinion. They say a camel is a horse designed by committee. I’d worry what Doctor Who would be like if it listened to every criticism. It probably wouldn’t get made.

      Remember, Sydney Newman didn’t like the Daleks…

      His views on women are his own – and I think wholly misrepresented. Why would he have a problem with women? He’s written some very strong women, his wife is incredibly successful (and rightly so) and so is his mother-in-law. I don’t know where this (mis?)conception of his views first came from, but I simply don’t believe it.

      I know the Tumblr people you mean. You get them on Twitter too. I figure, as long as they’re passionate about the show, that’s alright. I personally don’t enjoy fan-fiction (for reasons I won’t explain at length, but it’s basically because many people just wanna shove the Daleks and the Rani in because – - well, because), but I like that they love the show so much to devote so much time to it. In another life, I’m sure I write fan-fiction with the Daleks, the Rani AND the Cybermen. Just because. :)

      I don’t get what canon he’s ignored, really. I know the crack has engulfed certain events, but I think something like that had to happen. If everyone knew about the Daleks, that would shut off a lot of story opportunities, including ones that came before Journey’s End, like Dalek, which was supposed to happen in… 2012, was it? Can’t quite remember.

      The arcs are controversial, true. But I think an audience needs a consistent draw. There’s a reason why season openers and finales get higher viewing figures.

      Have you got a blog or anything, by the way? I’d be interested in taking a look; the writing community is an important one and I think that, however opinions differ, that at least encourages debate such as on this article (which I’m very happy about), and I think everyone can learn something from each other. :)

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. I appreciate all input. :D


  56. I think season 7 (both parts) is the best as of now, and I don’t dislike a single episode of it. Moffat is doing a great job, and I don’t know where all the criticism is coming from. I approve of the above blogpost!

  57. avatar Juliet says:

    I love Doctor Who. We all have our favorite Doctor (for me, David Tennant) but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love the show. I am from South Africa and Doctor Who isn’t big here so I struggled to find the show but once I started I never looked back. Those people who criticize must just remember that absolutely nothing is perfect. It is a whimsical show with a strong core of drama and loads of fantasy mixed with bit of truth and what-ifs. Don’t kill our show with your negativity. Embrace the show for what it is! Absolutely Brilliant. Allon-sy!

  58. avatar David F says:

    Just wondering: Has anyone in this thread had his or her fears assuaged a little by The Name of the Doctor?

    Anyone who was totally down on the anniversary, and thought Moffat would ignore the classic series, feeling a little reassured after this episode?

    Maybe not everyone, which is fair enough, but some people must be, surely.

    • avatar Endy says:

      just for the record I thought that was probably the best series of Doctor Who so far. Every episode got at least and 8 or a 9 out of 10 for me. In other words for me there was not a poor episode. I am at a complete loss why some people hated this year so much. The media have a go because that is what they do, but not sure what is upsetting some fans. At a loss to be honest.
      The last season which was for me as faultless as this one has to be season 4 with Catherine Tate. I was so disappointed when it was announced she was to be the regular companion.and yet she was brilliant. Lucky I kept an open mind.
      There are so many misconceptions going on.
      The Radio Times are not covering it like they used to!. As I said before two covers in eight episodes? Articles most weeks. Drama of the day most weeks. What other show gets this level of interest.
      The Ratings are falling!!!!! An average of around six and a half million and another 1.5 to 2 million on I tunes is hardly falling ratings. The show keeps on breaking records here and all over the world.
      The idea of fans attacking the show is new and shocking. What? It has always been the same and always made me sad. I cry a lot.
      The 50th is not being celebrated!!!!
      Last nights episode in fact the whole of THIS YEARS EPISODES have been celebrating and I love it, although part of me is looking forward to just looking forward again for a while
      We have stamps, special books and magazines, special multi Doctor audios,not to mention a before the beginning story coming up from Big Finish, something live,, 3d who (OK not my cup of tea but still), cinema Who, a special, a docudrama, some great DVD releases lots of toys and collectibles and that is just what we know about so far..
      I am like a big daft excited child by all of this and big apologies if this sounds sort of patronizing but I can’t help it,. I genuinely feel sorry for all the grumpy cross grown up fans for whom all this is not enough. I feel like they are missing out on a chance to party.
      This year the fiftieth year of Doctor Who. It is the biggest anniversary ever. Most of us will not see the like of it again. Even those of us around for 75, should remember the good Doctor may not be so much in the public domain as he is just now.
      All I am saying is embrace this year love every minute of it, it may never be this good again.


      • excellent points Endy!

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        I agree, Endy. It’s a good year to be a fan! :D

        But I do genuinely think the Radio Times’ coverage has decreased since the last editor moved to Reader’s Digest. Yes, it gets more than other shows, but I reckon it has gone down, simply because in the past, there used to be more double-page spreads and things like that. Also, notice that even when DW is on the cover, it’s not particularly dwelled on in the editor’s section, which I think is a bit odd.

        Still, that aside, I agree on 99% of your points – and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the series. :)

        • avatar gavinio says:

          You’re slightly out with your ratings figures though Endy. Final ratings for recent episodes have only been around the 6.6m figure with the overnights only being around the 4.5m mark.

          Name of the Doctor so far has 5.5m overnight rating so a slight improvement there.

          The Crimson Horror – 6.47m finals
          Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS – 6.5m finals
          Hide – 6.6m finals
          Cold War – 7.34m finals
          Rings of Akhaten – 7.45m finals
          Bells of St John – 8.44m finals

  59. avatar FourandElevenForever says:

    Philip
    Thank you so much. I absolutely agree.
    Living in Switzerland it was never easy for me to watch Doctor Who (Baker was my first when I was on holiday in GB a long time ago and I never forgot). Now I get it on BBC and love every single second of it – even if it’s not a scientific-logical-brillant one. But most are. Matt Smith: You are doing a great job. Go on with it!

    Watching Doctor Who is just fun. Isn’t that enough???

    To all the others: Go and try. Don’t just talk. Go and try to be better in getting ideas, writing and directing episodes with an overall idea of a plot, and acting… Do you really think it’s that easy?!

    • avatar Endy says:

      Sorry gavinio my ramblings confuse even me sometimes, my ratings were an aprox average finals for the last few and not far out. I think the early part of any series tends to be better. 6.5 million plus a couple of million or so more on I player is a result most shows would die for that is all I am saying. Overnights are useless these days, unless you are a Daily Mail journalist short on material and let’s face it have you ever read that paper?…
      .

      • avatar gavinio says:

        I don’t read newspapers at all. What’s the point? It’s yesterdays news. They are an outdated media now there’s the internet!

        There are reasons behind the drop in ratings such as good weather, lighter evenings, the growth of iPlayer as a viewing method but you also have to include people losing interest for whatever reason that may be. I’d love to see the show back in the Autumn/Winter slot of my youth because I believe the ratings would higher – both overnight and final ratings. I’ll be interested to see if Name of the Doctor even gets 7.5m viewers for the final ratings. At the moment it could possibly be the lowest rated finale since the series return, for which there has to be bigger reasons than simply the approaching summer.

        • avatar gavinio says:

          I meant to say one of the lowest rated finales.


        • At the moment it could also be the highest.

          We simply don’t know until the final figures are in.

          But with an AI score of 88, there’s no point in being pessimistic. Or gloaty.

          • avatar gavinio says:

            I’m being neither. Just reporting the state of play in a factual manner. AI scores mean nothing in connection to ratings – they never have and never will.


          • I never said AI was relevant to ratings. But they mean a lot to the BBC.

            And yes, you are veering on “gloaty”. :(

          • avatar gavinio says:

            And you’re veering on being overly judgemental, pompous and a bit of an ass…

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Thanks very much. :)

      I say it’s time for a Doctor Who set in Switzerland!

  60. avatar gavinio says:

    Your website has just lost a long time devoted reader because of that attitude.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      Blimey ! I can hear Mr Cawley crying a river from here !

    • avatar Bob James says:

      What can one say, gavinio? Bye, Bye! So Long! You won’t be missed. And as to calling Christian a judgemental, pompous, bit of an ass, you are way out of line. If you want to see anyone who is all of those things, you need only look in a mirror.


    • I’m sorry you’ve taken that stance. I’m a big believer in making a decision and taking a viewpoint based on the available facts.

      I hope you can find somewhere online or off where you feel at home discussing Doctor Who.

      • avatar BOJAY says:

        Gavinio can always talk to himself………..

  61. avatar Endy says:

    Hang on I am loosing the plot here. Can anyone tell me what a mid season episodes finals were season 3 or 4 plus also I player figures.
    If the final episode last week got say 7.5 million and 2 million hits on I player that makes 9.5 million watching the show . I am pretty sure it has never enjoyed better viewing figures than that outside of specials and the odd episode here and there.
    More and more people including me, no longer watch live very often. Other shows with high ratings are often viewed as background noise shows, but ones people really like are more and more recorded or accessed by I player. If people do not catch on to this soon it could cause big problems because overnights particularly for good tv are going to keep on going down as people choose to watch what they want when they want to. That is the future.
    With 9.5 million viewers or even 8 million Doctor Who is doing very well indeed and is smashing records all over the world. And a hell of a lot of DVDs about to get sold again to boot.
    That is If I am right and I will be pretty close
    5.5 overnight plus about 2 million time shifted and probably 2 million on I player is 9.5 million isn’t it?
    Tell me gavinio dealer in facts how they come out as bad figures. I have even forgotten the quater to half million who will watch it on BBC3
    If you don’t like the show fine, but please please do not infer ratings are bad when they are not. Also you really should start reading papers,because you obviously do not realise its talk like that that which gives the unimaginative scribes at tabloids like the daily mail the fodder to write the rubbish they just have
    And whilst most of us fans are celebrating a show knowing that it is still enjoying suprisingly consistent ratings of around 8 or 9 million even after nearly nine years back on TV and is top of I player yet again, Joe Public now believes the show is failing because the daily mail said so.
    They used to say careless talk costs lives or in this case terrible press and damage to a show I think we all love.
    Sorry if I sound a bit grumpy but I love this show so much.
    I am getting near to the end of watching or listening to every first Doctor story one a night as my way of celebrating this special year, (I was there watching the first episode in 1963)
    I have enjoyed doing it very much and understand the early Who much better and very much enjoyed watching them again, but do you know some of the stories are terrible …….. in my opinion. Thank goodness nobody else noticed, or we would have nothing to worry about now.


    • I was also a first watcher in 1963 and have also started watching all back episodes (currently getting to the end of the Tom Baker years). There have been some great serials amongst them – The Aztecs, The Invasion, The War Games, Inferno, The Daemons, City of Death, The Talons of Weng Chiang The Masque of Mandragora – but also many so-so and some just terrible eg The Sensorites, The Gunfighters, The Dominators, Underworld. Not all of the classic series was classic, and the same goes for the current series. If you don’t like an episode, keep watching, a better one will be along soon.

      • avatar Philip Bates says:

        That sounds like a really enjoyable mission! :)

        I quite like The Sensorites and I think The Gunfighters is brilliant, especially given its scope in such a limited studio. Just a shame about that damn song! The Daemons is way too slow for my liking. But I’d rather take the not-so-classics over stuff like Britain’s Got Talent and Keeping Up With The Kardashians!

        • avatar zarbisupremo says:

          Michael, you’re a man after my own heart.

          What are the Kardashians for ? What is their purpose, eh ?

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      That’s a good point about background noise, Endy. As much as I don’t like iPlayer, it does at least show dedication to a show – that someone has searched for it because they wanna watch it, not because they want something on the telly while they’re on the computer.

      I think if The X-Factor disappeared in five, ten years, there’d be brief moaning then people would move on to another show. If Doctor Who disappeared, people would actually care and be very vocal consistently. I think TV Execs and ratings buffs sometimes forget that.

  62. Pingback: My First Sub-Editorial: Negativity | Philip Bates, Freelance Writer


  63. While I agree that the RTD era had some silly moments, daft explanations and wild endings. They are excellent reasons why it was a better era than Moffat’s. You had endings and explanations. Whereas with the Moffat era, you get brilliant build ups. Good mystery’s, but then nothing. Each and every time Moffat try’s a different story arc, the audience gets all excited, you wait right up until the last episode, and bang. Nothing gets explained, arcs unresolved, mystery’s not solved and major plot holes. You say that RTD had daft endings, well lets not even go there with the Tessalecta rubbish, or River being Amy’s daughter. Those two alone beat anything silly that RTD did.
    Now we come to the latest finale, Name of the Doctor. Yes I enjoyed it, but it to was full of plot holes. I will reserve final judgement until the anniversary, as that is supposed to be part two.
    Of course another reason why people can’t stand the Moffat era, is because of the series splits. I mean whoever thought of that, needs kicking out of the TARDIS into the vortex.
    Another reason was Amy Pond. She had her fans sure, but lest we forget certain polls that said she was the most annoying and unconvincing companion ever to grace Doctor Who.
    Moffat as a person has got to be taken into account as well. I have never seen such a egocentric megalomaniac like him. If anyone disagrees with him, then they are stupid. If they disagree with him on set, then they are sacked. You only have to look at his Twitter conversations to see what he thinks of fans. Having said that, I disagreed with certain people threatening his children etc. Bang out of order. Which is why he left Twitter.
    Then there is his constant lying. I mean, who does he think he is kidding. Not only does he lie, but he thinks it’s clever to. Good role model for children, I don’t think.

    Then we come to the man himself, The Doctor, or rather Matt Smith. Personally, I found him to be excellent. Better as time went on, and it seems such a shame that he’s moving on so quick.
    To me though, he will be seen as Mr Missed Opportunity. A fantastic actor, wasted. Makes me wonder why he left so quick.
    I just hope that if Moffat stays, he does not repeat mistakes he made with Matt Smith. Or Doctor Who as a whole. It will be a difficult enough for someone to fill his shoes. Please Moffat, don’t make it any worse. Or do the decent thing, and let someone else take the reigns.

  64. avatar The_Lex says:

    OK. . .I’ll admit, I haven’t read all the comments above. . .but anyway:

    I could go for either replacing Moffat OR bringing RTD back to share showrunning duties with Moffat. My biggest complaint about Moffat is that he can pull off great one shot episodes, but a whole season feels too expansive for him to either (a) keep a direction without staying on the road too long and exhausting the audience’s patience or (b) dropping a bunch of plot/scenery hooks without following up on them.

    I’m all for the complicated plots that Moffat introduces, but I feel like they drag on too long. Unlike many people out on the ‘Net, I don’t think Moffat has plot holes in his seasons. We just haven’t reached the point in the show to have the important hooks filled in. The other ones that don’t get attention don’t get deemed important enough to get filled in.

    The last point displays a trend that I’ve seen in science fiction a little: introduce a plot/scenery hook then let it hang. I guess it’s supposed to create some illusion of reality. We have so many things in our own lives that happen or we see, but we don’t get good explanations. A lot of times, I find that annoying, but it’s a trend and works for some people. Sure, whatever.

    The reason I say bring RTD back to have showrunning duties shared is the world building aspect. Moffat gets a bipolar with his plot/world building. He can get tunnel visioned with his plots. That has to happen. A TV show or movie with a limited amount of time has an economy to it. A story needs to be told, after all.

    When that happens, though, the narrative can take over a little to make character decisions and elevator logic feel contrived. I noticed it most recently while watching “Day of the Moon,” a very epic story. In some ways, a great display of characters influencing plot influencing plot and vice versa.

    The Doctor was able to find the Silence because he could trace the link back to Amy. He could trace the link back to Amy because the Silence took the recorder still mentally connected her out of her hand. The Doctor put the recorders in their hands because they couldn’t remember the Silence, so they needed the recorders to remember the Silence. It works a little too cleanly and contrived. This logic too much follows the “don’t show a revolver in the first scene unless you’re going to fire it in a later scene.”

    I actually have the same criticism of Iron Man 3. The beginning felt too contrived as a set up for the later end game. The narrative was supreme and dictated the behavior of the characters. It’s like the characters had pre-cognizance in the beginning of what would happen to resolve things at the end.

    At the same time, I feel like Moffat has too many hanging plot hooks. What’s her name on Demon’s Run who helps the Doctor and has met him before (I want to see that story!). The last picnic of River Song and the Doctor (we get to see the hectic of that night in First Night/Last NIght, but I want to live through the emotional roller coaster of the Doctor of that night more. . .and also, what the Doctor went through when he told her his name).

    But Moffat’s hanging plot/scenery hooks also tease of a larger world/universe, but we don’t really see it. RTD did an awesome job SHOWING us the world. All the companions had family. Ten interacted with politicians in this world and an alternate universe. The Master became Prime Minister! The Slitheen started taking over the government. Simon Pegg’s character manipulated the News Satellite to influence Earth/History for the Daleks. Nine and Rose got exposed to aliens that came together to watch Earth explode. The Doctor lite episode when we got to see that small support group of Doctor fans. Moffat even did a great job introducing us to London in WWII & the Time Agency (but I guess that might have been RTD’s influence). With Donna, we got to see the Ood rebel to become free. The Sontarans brought Earth practically to its knees with the help of a brat’s private school.

    Even back in Series 5, I remember talking about how Moffat felt like he constricted his world. In some ways, i found that refreshing. Lately though I’ve been wanting more of RTD’s expansiveness. It’s kind of like the fans of Watchmen comic criticizing the movie. The comic provided a lot of context while the movie didn’t provide enough of it.

    In other words, Moffat is too economic with his plot & but not generous enough with his world building by bringing up hanging plot hooks. Hanging plot hooks are good here and there, but when it’s a regular thing, it gets a little old.

    And as tempering statement(s): I feel like Series 5 was as close to perfect as any Doctor Who series. I also felt that Moffat was a breath of fresh air after RTD. RTD wasn’t economic enough with his plotting and was too expansive with his world building. . .and he much too elevator logicky with his season finales.

    But alas, the above are my explanations for why I feel like Doctor Who has gone downhill a bit. And I’m like you, trying to be a professional fiction writer some day. So I guess this could be something of a criticism from a crafty writer side?

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