Doctor Who News The Crimson Horror 1

Published on June 14th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Private Eye On Who Problems

The current issue of Private Eye has summed up the recent disasters faced by the Who production team of late.

Private Eye

The issue, dated  14th- 27th June, politely notes several ‘balls ups’ that have marred recent Doctor Who, most notably the memo sent out to the BBC’s commercial branch and some external licensees that (oops!) announced that Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, has quit the show. It goes on to explain that while the broadcaster put a day-long embargo on the terrible news, it leaked on Twitter early (at about 10pm, instead of the expected midnight announcement), mainly thanks to The Daily Mail’s annoying effort on their front page.

Yes, it’s not been great for Moffat and co., who also suffered from the Series 7 Part 2 DVD, featuring the then-unaired finale, The Name of the Doctor, being sent out to nearly 300 customers a week or so early. The finale was so secret, even preview copies were cut short to keep the internet free of spoilers.

Doctor Who Series 7: The Name of the Doctor

Most fans were very good and behaved admirably. Steven Moffat even applauded them.

However, John Hurt revealed a spoiler too, as Private Eye notes:

“…to his local paper, the Eastern Daily Press, while publicising, er, the revamp of Sheringham Little Theatre’s Film Club.”

The magazine, edited by Have I Got News For You…?’s Ian Hislop, sadly mentions that (and this will hurt, Whovians):

“This will mean that between January 2012 and June 2014, when under Doctor Who’s previously-accustomed schedule 41 episodes would have been broadcast, the BBC will actually put out a grand total of 16.”

You can read the full article and thus cry yourself to sleep here, or pick up the latest issue before 25th June. But look on the bright side: we might not have got so many episodes recently, but what we have got – including Asylum of the Daleks, Hide and The Crimson Horror – have been top quality.

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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.



59 Responses to Private Eye On Who Problems

  1. avatar Al says:

    Philip has it right – quality over quantity. And also let’s not forget the period of July 2008 to March 2010 in which we had a grand total of 5 specials (one of which was a two-parter) and a minisode. And the world didn’t come to an end.

    • avatar Al says:

      And if you want to play the “number of episodes” game, count how many episodes of Sherlock there have been, yet people don’t seem to be complaining.

      • avatar DoctorTerm says:

        Well actually…

        Us Sherlockians hate how there are only 6 episodes. Yes, we’re glad we have any, but most, if not all, of us “complain” about how few episodes there are.

      • avatar Jenna says:

        Where have you been? People HAVE been complaining.

      • avatar rarapatracleo says:

        Actually, lots of people are complaining.

      • avatar Michaela says:

        People have been complaining, though…

        • avatar STLShawn says:

          I’m complaining.

    • avatar Phil Stewart says:

      That’s not a fair comparison, you are deliberately avoiding the two series in 2008 and 2010! I do think that halving the number of episodes in the 50th Anniversary year is a bad idea. Don’t know who’s fault that is though… I would guess that that the budget has been slashed, and Steven is trying to do the best with limited funds. That, and running two shows is two much for him…

      • avatar James Mclean says:

        Then perhaps he shouldn’t be running two shows? I think for me this is the crux. Doctor Who is a British institution and a major franchise for the BBC, if you can’t manage it, then don’t run it. I don’t mean that in anyway to dismiss the hard work/love Moffat has for Doctor Who, but he’s carrying two major flagships of the BBC, and I think the loss of Doctor Who – and Sherlock – from having to juggle the two is doing neither franchise justice. Given Sherlock is his own creation, I think, personally, he’d be better off supporting that franchise, and Doctor Who should move to a separate producer/writer heirarchy and away from “showrunner” – a concept that doesn’t fit with how BBC produce shows. Moffat’s a fine writer, I just don’t think ANYONE should be handling two vital flagships at the same time, and I think what we’ve seen over the past few years is an indication why even the best will suffer from such attempts.

  2. avatar vortexter says:

    I love Private Eye but they’re only repeating what we only know. Problems behind the scenes? they’ve always been there since the Hartnell years. But we don’t care and like the article above says we concentrate on the positive. I’m a Whovian – I’m in a constant state of anticipointment. But when the dust settles we look at what we’ve got: Matt Smith as a great Doctor, the prettiest female companions in science fiction and a fifty year legacy to draw on. For every duff tale there’s three classics to replace it. Keep it coming, We’re here for the long run.

    • avatar Al says:

      If someone at the BBC comes out an says “to heck with it, there are too many problems – we’re cancelling Doctor Who” then I will care. Until and unless that happens, I couldn’t really care less so long as whenever we get episodes they’re good quality, and so far the good episodes have far outweighed the not-so-good. Vortexter has it right – for every duff tale, there’s three classics. In a hit-to-miss ratio comparison between Doctor Who and Trek (any of them), I think DW would win hands-down.

      • avatar vortexter says:

        I am going to count the last 8 episodes here.
        The Bells of St John: Excellent and well written and a great series opener. 9/10
        The Rings of Akhaten: Drivel! And badly written drivel too.! 1/10
        Cold War: The closest feel to an old classic episode for a while. 8/10
        Hide: Judging by the reaction of the fans its a classic. 9/10
        Journey to the Centre of the Tardis: Very enjoyable but lame ending. 8/10
        The Crimson Horror: Superb and hits every right note 10/10
        Nightmare in Silver: Average but realistically nothing seriously wrong. 7/10
        The Name of the Doctor: A fitting end to the series with flaws 8/10

        That’s a good success rate.

        Matt Smith is superb and JLC will shine next year now her story arc is out of the way and she can just be Clara. I think the problem is the honeymoon period is over for the show and now the critics are vocal but taking a step back we have things pretty good. I don’t think it’s attitude at the BBC that has the shorter seasons, its lack of money for a high end show like Dr Who needs for its effects. And considering the Mill and Millennium effects are no longer around the shoe couldn’t have probably been served well if there were more episodes around anyway.
        I want a full season and yes, the anniversary year has not been served episode wise well but there are more positives than negatives.

        As a confession, I disliked a lot of the RTD years. It was only Tennant and Tate and Agyeman who kept me watching with occasional good scripts.* But looking back now I enjoy them more as time has passed.

        *Please don’t take that as me starting an argument for the RTD fans! If you love it great, its just my opinion so don’t judge me. I love Timelash (9/10 on the vortexter scale) for goodness sake!

        • avatar James Mclean says:

          Only contention I’d have is that the shorten seasons are due to BBC/money, from what I’ve heard, I don’t believe that’s the case at all. I don’t believe the BBC have been thrilled by these shortened seasons themselves, in fact I recall another Private Eye expose conveying the lack of cordiality between BBC and the production. There has been some great stuff from Doctor Who this year and I think Moffat and his team have done a good job addressing some of the issues they may have previously had this year, but I think the issue here is indicative to the production, not the BBC. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the next era of Doctor Who when Moffat departs will be reigned in, with the “showrunner” mantle dissolved and we’ll get a more conventional situation with the show’s headman being a producer by trade, not the series writer.

          • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

            Seem to recall someone on Kasterborous saying they’d written to the BBC some time ago about the split seasons and the response they got was that it was not a budget issue but had been decided by the Production Office for “artistic” reasons.

            I would not be surprised if you were right re the Producer and I wonder if Brian Minchin’s appointment may herald a more normal production structure in future. Classic DW seemed to manage quite well with a strong Procucer/Script Editor format, and it has been interesting to see that – in a supposedly writer driven show – the role of Script Editor has been very diminished – given that some stories have clearly been underwritten, this has been a poor move.

          • avatar James McLean says:

            Not sure why I can’t reply below Lewis, but yes, I agree, Minchin or people like him seem a far more logical candidate for the show’s future. From all the stories I’ve heard these past few years, I think the BBC would want a producer next, not a showrunner, which seems to have created too many loggerhead situations they’d prefer to avoid.
            As for the reason for the split, several sources have indicated to me it was due the production not the BBC, and not because of money.If this is the case, its more reason the BBC will be keen for a producer not a showrunner. Incidentally, they only really got a showrunner initially because RTD was both producer and a writer, which is a rare combo. I think the mistake was passing that same combo onwards. I didn’t do RTD much good in the long run (he was burnt out by his Specials year and caused him issues on finalising Children Of Earth’s script), and would only go on to pose similar issues for his successor, which indeed I think it has.

  3. avatar Ian says:

    Asylum of the Daleks was not quality! Appalling rubbish. Rather watch Time & the Rani. The Daleks did not kill one person, so much for being ruthless. As for this article, maybe it will embarrass the BBC and they should realise we should have more WHO!

    • avatar Emma says:

      Well they did, they got Clara if you count that, albeit in the past before the Doctor got there.

      • avatar James Leslie says:

        How do you figure they didn’t kill anyone? What do you call all the people hollowed out and made into puppets, the people used to bait the Doctor, Amy and Rory in the first place? They certainly weren’t survivors.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        And the crew of the ship she was on, if I remember correctly. I guess we don’t hit “ruthless” until we get to a certain number………

        • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

          Didn’t they die in the crash?

          However – “Asylum” was a good episode – mainly because of JLC who made a real impression straight away.

  4. avatar John Shandler says:

    Private Eye are spot on. And we are not getting quality over quantity. We are getting neither. The most alarming thing is that we have had Matt Smith, one of the best ever Doctors, who was under contract for four years. Four years. In that time he has only had three seasons in that time. Private Eye have been right about the stuff going on behind the scenes, the fact that we would have less episodes and the multiple executive producer exodus.
    Moffat is the problem. He is out of his depth. Good episode writer. Disastrous showrunner. Time to go. Whithouse or Chibnall, step up ASAP.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      Yes it’s absolutely all Moffats fault It’s not like the BBC have been forced to slash their budget massively and move whole hog to another city to try to claw back some money or anything.

      Or do you honestly think that Moffat cut his own budget and arranged the scheduling so that his show, the program that he has invested a huge amount of time and effort into, only gets 1 series in 2 years?

      Given the state of the economy and the BBC at the moment we are bloody lucky to have gotten the amount of Doctor Who that we have.

    • avatar David Cole says:

      “The most alarming thing is that we have had Matt Smith, one of the best ever Doctors, who was under contract for four years. Four years. In that time he has only had three seasons in that time.” – Ditto Tennant.


  5. I remember lots of problems (similar to these) that RTD had a few years ago. Now, a few years later, no one remembers them and no one cares. What remains of that time is good episodes.

    We’re having less episodes now? Yes, we are… so be it, And I agree with the writer of this article, they’re mostly good episodes, and that’s what matters. We get even less episodes of Sherlock (like 3 every two years?), but I hear no one complaining (well, almost no one :-) )

  6. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Happy Anniversary! You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can never, ever, please an internet fan.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Or ignorant, clueless armchair showrunners……………

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Thirty years ago Moffat and Davies and Gatiss were probably all sitting at home writing letters to DWM slagging off the show and saying how they could do a better job than JNT. Chris Chibnall certainly was!

      Not being part of the BBC/TV world does not necessarily negate the opinions expressed. I may express an opinion about our economy and the current Government – not being part of Parliament would not mean that my opinion was invalid or unworthy of being expressed.

  7. avatar authorman94 says:

    Something about this doesn’t surprise me, and I do bet there’s way more than just what Private Eye reported, there was the whole “Steven Moffat is a dictator” thing that by the sounds of it, is at least grounded in reality. That said, with him saying he’s nearing the end of his run, I do wonder if the show got a new showrunner (and new Doctor and companion) whether the ratings would increase or the BBC would show more interest in it, but since I’m not an exec, I don’t whether that would do any good or not.

    With all this stuff coming to light, I am fearing a return of the way the show was managed in the 1980′s, with the BBC out to kill it and a showrunner who isn’t delivering them “the goods”. I do hope that’s just me panicking, but all this behind the scenes stuff does make me wonder…

    • avatar vortexter says:

      I suspect he has plans to leave and will leave when Smith does. He wont announce it immediately.

      • avatar authorman94 says:

        Matt has already announced he’s leaving though, and yet Moffat still seems to be working on it (as far as I know, I’m just a punter and not a BBC insider). I imagine Moffat and Jenna are doing Series 8, but with his “take it one year at a time” and “my time on Who is nearing it’s close” comments from March, I do wonder if Series 8 is going to be their swansong. But as said, just speculation on my part, not any definitive statement.

        • avatar vortexter says:

          In the classic series the old producer would often work on and set up the incoming producers scripts but I don’t know if that’s the set up here. I don’t rate Moffatt as the best producer but he has made some classics. He is sloppy and has been mentioned before moves on to his new ideas without wrapping up the old plot points (Exploding TARDIS, Baby crib, and a dozen others)
          I would like to see a non-fan take the roll on and less of the story arcs and more story and plot.

          • avatar authorman94 says:

            I would love someone who isn’t a fan to take over the showrunner post, as well as having a non-fan be the Doctor, since it would make the new series be more accessible to people who wouldn’t watch Who (although I’d be happy not to repeat the whole RTD-romantic plots that got a bit thin after a while), as well as having scripts that feature less references to the past and less returning classic monsters (Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, etc.) since one thing I would like to see is more new ideas tried, some historical stories, some episodes that feature sci-fi concepts that haven’t been explored in Who before, things like that. But hey, that’s just me, and you’re more than welcome to disagree with me.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      The show is nowhere near the environment that was present at the end of the Eighties. Michael Grade was openly hostile to it, Jonathan Powell had no interest in it, and the viewing figures had fallen (actually fallen, not just in a noisy little minority’s imagination.). There was no RTD or Steven Moffat waiting in the wings to revitalize the show, and it thus became an expensive liability to the BBC. It now enjoys around 77 million viewers across the globe, and is seeing more success in the worldwide market than it has ever before attained in its history. There is unprecedented revenue from broadcast rights globally, and large revenue pouring in from licensing and merchandising. All of this does not diminish the fact that the worldwide economy is in difficult straits, and the BBC, like every other business enterprise or licensed service has to be very frugal and judicious about how it spends its money. The BBC has a lot more than Doctor Who, or an ignorant, whining, paranoid minority of its fans to consider in all of this. Different times, different circumstances, and a whole different environment. Don’t start planning any funerals yet……..

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        Calling people ‘ignorant, whining and paranoid’ because they have concerns about the show shows the level of debate you are willing to engage in. I have had abuse directed at me when I have said what was going to happen with a reduced episode count, spilt seasons, yawning gaps between seasons and the lack of production for the 50th months ago. Cue abuse and screams that I couldn’t possibly be right. Well, I was. Hardly ignorant. What convinces you that you are so right about everything Mr James? Or am I being paranoid for asking?

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I never contested any of your heads up on the reduced episode count, split season, gap between series, etc., as I don’t recall coming across them in this forum. You were right, and it’s unfortunate you were subjected to abuse and screams. So I never accused you personally of being ignorant, but the paranoid and whining bits I will have to stand by and apply. There are “fans” out there crying over nothing more than the reality of how and when Doctor Who is made now and how much of it is made currently. They have the right to be upset about these things, but that doesn’t justify the ignorance of thinking that the program is burning down just because they are unhappy. Whining about this won’t change anything. This does not portend doom for the show, it is merely a sign of the times. I also cite ignorance because what’s happening right now is nothing like the late Eighties, and the BBC has given no indication that they feel Steven Moffat has not “delivered the goods”. What I stated above are all facts that can easily be confirmed upon simple investigation, both on this website, and internet sources found through any search. You seem to be on the defensive because of your previous encounters with abuse and screaming. If you feel that I am abusing you or screaming at you personally, I am not. And there’s that paranoia thing with you happening again. I never claimed to be “right about everything” because I wasn’t talking about everything, just the points I cited above, and your whining at me accompanied your paranoia.

      • avatar Mark Lenton says:

        Doctor who makes money for the Beeb, any other ‘business enterprise’ would be doing the sums and realising that in difficult economic times you can make more money by making more things that make money.

        Successful companies also listen to their customers and not just dismiss their concerns as ignorant and whining.

        But of course if you like having less DW on screen and think it is the best way to exploit a money making franchise, then that’s fine. Continue to be happy with less and less DW for your money – but don’t slag people off as ‘clueless armchair showrunners’ – they may have more clue than you.

  8. avatar Joel Mellor says:

    I would say unhappy anniversary. No new season, just last season’s leftovers. One one hour special, despite Moffat’s insistence that ‘we will be taking over television’ and asking ‘why talk in the singular?’ when asked about what was going on in the anniversary year. And no classic Doctors in the special.
    Moffat lies, promises things and doesn’t deliver and leaves plot holes galore (exploding TARDIS from S5 is one example- still we don’t know why!).
    I’ve got to say I agree with John Shandler. Private Eye have reported things that have been going on behind the scenes for months now, all of which fans on Kasterbous have been denying is true- and it is. People were in a state of denial about the reduced episode count. (Not in the anniversary year! No! It cannot be!) Then, when it turned out to be true, we are told we are lucky to have what we get.
    I cannot see that argument. Should we have been satisfied when Doctor Who was off the air from 1989-2005? No, of course not. So why should we be happy with a reduced episode count? No- 14 episodes is what is required. I honestly don’t think that the BBC are behind this. Danny Cohen is on record saying that Moffat needed more time to produce more episodes as he had a lot on his plate with Sherlock, which Moffat angrily denied was the case. I know who I believe.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      And Moffat has responded to Danny Cohen’s statement, calling it rubbish. That was almost two years ago. AGAIN: The BBC makes all decisions in regards to what shows are commissioned, and how many episodes are commissioned. But by all means, retain your point of view. You need not let reality interfere with it.

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        Two year ago, yes. But it was season 7 they were talking about. Never let a simple fact like that interrupt you.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I was referring to Series 7 in my above comments. Both the series split and the reduced number of episodes were portended. Nothing regarding Series 8 (if that’s the point you think you’re making) had been announced then, because you don’t commission Series 8 before you’ve commissioned and produced Series 7. I stand by my statements above because they are true. So, there are no facts interrupting me, simply a grasp of facts perhaps escaping you.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      And I’m sure Moffat deeply cares about who you believe. Really.

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        Now you claim to know what Moffat is thinking! Scary stuff. Clearly you are the repository of knowledge and opinion for all things Who.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          See, there you go again. Do you assume he knows or cares what you’re thinking? About who you believe? I’d bet that between my supposition and you’re accusation (that I actually claim to know what he’s thinking!) towards me regarding that supposition, that my supposition would fall more along the lines of the truth. I’d be flattered by you thinking that I am clearly the repository of knowledge and opinion for all things Who, but that wouldn’t make sense because I’m not, nor have I ever claimed to be. Did you feel for some reason that I had? Must have been your imagination. And there’s that paranoia thing again. The needlessly fearful assumption that I had made any such claim as perhaps an attempted slight towards you. And you’re still whining.

  9. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    There have always been periods in the show when it has had behind the scenes problems – but we just haven’t been aware of them at the time. The John Wiles era in the 1960s, the 6th Season, the strike hit 17th Season when Graham Williams also became so ill he couldn’t produce the show and JNT was doing it uncredited. The 20th Season was hit by strike action, the hiatus, the cut down McCoy years … this is just off the top of my head! Nothing changes. The show has no more problems now than it has ever had – and despite a rather lacklustre 7th season and disappointing Anniversary year, it is in a far more secure position than it has ever been in.

  10. avatar Doobledoo says:

    Great. I already knew of this 16 episodes thing (all of series 7 + the 50th anniversary special and Christmas special), but seriously, they don’t seem to be “hitting this year very hard” as Moffat said they would. I loved series 7, but the number of episodes that we have missed out on this year is absolutely outrageous. If the 50th anniversary special really is only 90 minutes, let’s hope that they’re planning to make the Christmas special (Matt’s Exit) as long and epic as David Tennant’s Christmas special exit.

  11. avatar Joel Mellor says:

    Actually Tennant had three season and a year of specials. Tennant wanted time off, the fans were told why. Problem managed. Matt Smith gets three seasons over four years, no explanation why- but ‘we are getting more Who than ever before!’- badly managed in a PR sense.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Actually the “Specials” year came about to enable the changeover of production teams. RTD and his team departing and Steven Moffat and his team coming aboard, as well as a new Doctor, as Tennant had decided to depart. It enabled David to do the RSC productions, and if I recall, the break also worked out because David was also recovering from some back surgery he needed at the time. I’d be inclined to agree about the current run of badly managed PR. The BBC has never seemed to excel in that area.

      • avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

        Actually, I’ve seen plenty of evidence to suggest Doctor Who was intended to end as a series with the Stolen Earth then move over to a model occasional specials. It’s certainly a sensible stopping off point for the series. I consider everything after then as a bonus.

        • avatar Mark Lenton says:

          Plenty of evidence – where… very interested…

  12. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    Before his unfortunate exit, George Entwhistle – the former Director General of the BBC – claimed that DW’s 50th anniversary could be the hook for events as big as their Olympics coverage…

    Hmm. The decidedly damp squib of the anniversary year has been the biggest disappointment this year. Hopefully November itself will make up for it.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      There was a rather nebulous claim made by the BBC that suggested that there was much more celebration (events? conventions? episodes?) coming that just hadn’t been announced yet. I hope that’s true. I’m going to wait that out and hope for the best. If all that remains is the Anniversary and Christmas Specials I’ll manage to live with that. We also have the Mark Gatiss film about the show’s creation and early years coming as well.

      • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

        I am looking forward to that. It looks very good from what little we’ve seen.

        A lot of the “problems” are caused by poor communication and PR – these aren’t new or unusual problems (every TV show gets them) but DW is so high profile that information needs to be very carefully handled or it causes panic at the slightest hint of trouble!

  13. avatar Ian Gettings says:

    I think 7b was such a disappointment for the anniversary year. The behind the scenes issues (Caro Skinner leaving abruptly) and the leaks have been symptoms of wider problems. The news that Matt Smith is leaving was sad, so maybe we had our expectations raised too much. Am just hoping the rumours of missing episodes might be true, though am guessing that is going to be another crushing disappointment. Though to be fair, that’s not the fault of the current BBC team, I guess. It’s been a bit of a depressing Who year so far – thankfully it’s not an anniversary year or anything ;)

  14. avatar Neu 75 says:

    What you are paying for your TV license is the same as last year and the the year before and will be the same next year and the year after. That’s a 16% drop in real terms. People wondering why there aren’t as many episodes as before should consider this before thinking that the showrunner not addressing a particular plot point in a series broadcast three years ago is “ruining” the show…

  15. avatar STLShawn says:

    Love the BBC mindset::::
    We have a property that makes money, let’s not make many episodes to avoid actually spending money,,,, then let’s whine about dvd sales dropping.

    If I had fans wanting to buy what i produced,,,,, i would produce as much as possible.

    spend a dollar, make two dollars,,,, but someone at BBC has decided “let’s not spend that whole dollar at once, then i look good for saving money”. I’ve seen accountants and CEO’s do this so often because they have no intention of being around before the shoe falls.

    What’s next,,,, selling the studios in Cardiff to make it look like you made a better profit this year (then of course, leaving the bbc before they have to rent studio space).

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Except the BBC is not a commercial organisation – it’s primary remit is not to make money (all profits must go back into the organisation, it has no shareholders unless you wish to count the licence payers as such). Nor is DW it’s only property – it has many TV and Radio programmes, of which DW is just one, and it would be wrong, simply because DW is successful, for other programmes to suffer in order to make it.

      The BBC’s budget is being squeezed – the UK Government has frozen the licence fee while expecting the BBC to take on funding for the World Service (close on £300,000,000 a year!) and S4C in Wales. It is true they make mistakes that cost money – moving staff out to Manchester is an obvious one – but they have to manage within the budget they get from the licence, and are restricted in how they raise other finances and I fail to see why DW should not also be expected to operate within a budget set for it, whatever it may be.

  16. avatar Bob James says:

    BBC Worldwide is very much a commercial organization, following in the footsteps of BBC Enterprises, its predecessor. Within the UK, strictly speaking, it’s subsidized within a government context through licenses payers. That aspect within the UK is non commercial in the sense that all funds from license payers are not profits per say, but used to fund and commission programming. BBC Worldwide (and now BBC America here stateside) then takes that programming and sells broadcast rights on a global scale (which includes dvds and merchandising), with BBC America also beginning to produce its own original programming, which is marketed through cable or subscriber television services. So there is a commercial, profit generating arm to the BBC’s operations. How that all breaks down I haven’t a clue, but revenue brought in is distributed towards the production and commissioning of existing programs as well as the commissioning and production of new programming and content. Doctor Who is currently, between broadcast rights being sold, licensing and merchandising, a MAJOR generator of revenue for the BBC. It’s present on an unprecedented global scale more than it has ever been before. It would be nice if that revenue all went back into Doctor Who, but alas, that’s not the case. The BBC spreads that out across the entire spectrum of its production of commissioned programming and content. How that translates into a reduced episode count for Doctor Who is down to the process of funding we, the viewing public are not privy to. That has nothing to do with Moffat’s workload, or any sign of the BBC withdrawing enthusiasm or support for Doctor Who, and everything to do with crunching numbers and budgets based on decisions made by BBC management. I would love for them to be more transparent about these processes, but currently they choose not to be. We get misinformation, misdirection and often bumbling PR, and that’s not helping us understand anything.

  17. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    It would be interesting to see what budget the BBC have to make an episode of DW these days . The first episode in 1963 cost £2500, so roughly £10,000 for a four parter.

  18. avatar Bob James says:

    I’d imagine that would vary from episode to episode. The variables of how many FX are needed, how much location filming needs to be done, what additional sets need to be built, the size of the cast, etc. I’ve read stories where it has been stated by the production team that they wish they had more to spend, but judging by what we end of seeing on our screens, it seems like the budgets are well adequate nowadays.

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