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Published on July 5th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

BBC Cancels Future 3D Projects

One of the most curious aspects of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary has been the decision to produce the adventure in 3D, one of the most faddish of visual trends that has been in and out of fashion since the 1950s.


In fact, the trend seems to recur every 30 years or so, and this time around has been backed up by a surprising selection of 3D TVs for the home – some of which can even be viewed without stupid special glasses!

However despite the impact of a small number of 3D movies, once again the desire to produce films and TV shows that can be viewed as if the audience was really there is flagging. Now, I’ve seen various reports about how audiences aren’t convinced by 3D, or feel nauseous after prolonged exposure. I myself have noticed that with a 3D TV there is too much that is in focus, which seems to overload things somewhat.

But what of the BBC? In an age of austerity and ex gratia payments under scrutiny, what are they doing about their 3D project, of which Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary is only a small part?

Well, dear reader, it seems that they’re cancelling it. Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s head of 3D, was at least realistic:

“I have never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK.


“Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV. I think when people watch TV they concentrate in a different way. When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing – I think that’s one of the reasons that take up of 3D TV has been disappointing.”

The BBC’s pointless 3D experiment will conclude with the Doctor Who 50th anniversary in November.

Of course, this is hardly a surprise; do you have a 3D TV?

(Via Radio Times | thanks to Phil)


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

15 Responses to BBC Cancels Future 3D Projects

  1. avatar Royston Munn says:

    to be fair with the cost of 3D tv’s in the first place,it just isn’t a viable purchase for most familys as there really isn’t the tv stations to sit and watch! yes you can get your movies in 3D but you can go to the cinema to do that!

    • avatar Christine says:

      Ha, ha, no. But I’ve got the glasses!

  2. avatar krumstets says:

    I have a 3D TV ( Well my flatmate actually) and have seen several films and it’s quite good.
    I hope they show the 3D special on TV so I can sit there in my funny glasses. .. & a glass of wine of course ~ it is a celebration after all.
    I think if the price of filming 3D came down and if the price of the TV’s along with the glasses it would be more popular.

  3. Kind of wondering how it will be shown over here in the US.

  4. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    I was a 3D sceptic but after buying a 3d TV I’m an evangelical convert. There’s no hassle in wearing the Roy Orbison glasses – I have to wear glasses to see anything anyway!

    I think it works better for some than others and games are particularly good. 2d to 3d converted films look rubbish with cardboard cut out people over 3d backgrounds (transformers 3) but genuine 3d films directed with 3d in mind (Hugo, Avatar) are fantastic. I’m really looking forward to the anniversary special in 3d, and I’m surprised the BBC isn’t pursuing it really.

  5. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Isn’t anyone going to ask, ‘what is it with the glasses’?!

  6. avatar sonofskaro says:

    I can’t see 3D. It’s either too blurry or too dark.

  7. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Sadly, if they insist on only showing it in 3D here in the states, I won’t even be able to see it. I hate 3D, it’s always a pain in the butt, except for avatar, the glasses always hurt or just plain suck.

    • avatar lewis seymour says:

      They’ll have to make a non-3D version for showing in other countries (and to all us Brits without 3D TVs) – otherwise no one will be able watch it!

      • avatar Wayne says:

        Lewis…if you don’t have 3D then would it possibly show like any other “normal” show?

  8. avatar David F says:

    Moffat, presumably obliged to promote the idea of 3D, said something like, “It would be terrible if some other show did it first.” But it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be terrible at all. It would be irrelevant.

    I hope the need to show off 3D technology won’t overload the episode with contrived shots of things flying towards the camera. Utterly cynical marketing plot that will die out, the same as every other wave of 3D in entertainment history.

  9. avatar Bob James says:

    I have 3D capability on my television, as an option, but I haven’t really used it. I’ve only seen it used effectively on the big screen in theaters a few times. The program or movie really has to be filmed in a specific way to really put the 3D to use, and in my experience, it hasn’t really been used well that often.

    • avatar Barry says:

      Rassilon’s Collar! What a load of miserable whingers. I’m actually using the Dr Who special as an excuse to buy a 3D TV. I’m quite excited about it. And if there ain’t no Daleks firing at me out of my telly or similar “contrived shots” I’m going to turn miserable whinger myself and start a campaign till there is!

  10. avatar Glenn says:

    Yes I do have a 3D tv, and I enjoy the effect immensely brings the characters to a larger than life effect!

  11. avatar Mike R says:

    I saw The Hobbit in 3d in the theaters, and then i watched it on a very nice Sony 3DTV and it was 10 times better than in the theater, I was truly blown away. Even to switch a 2d program to 3d was incredibly nice, but again the price is ridiculous for one. But with that said it was nice enough to save up for. And best believe after I see the 5oth in theaters i will be watching it again on that TV to see the difference.

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