Published on September 28th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Doctor Who Fans Unimpressed by #SaveTheDay [UPDATED]

Doctor Who fans have been left… well, what can you say… down-heartened by the uninspiring Twitter hashtag #SaveTheDay revealed before tonight’s premier episode of Atlantis on BBC One.

You can click play above to get an idea of just what was presented following the announcement earlier today.

Whether or not the “sting” would have caused a spike in Atlantis’ viewing figures or lead to a mass turning off of TVs across the country in disappointment isn’t yet known, but we think the following tweet sums up the mood pretty well…

Clearly #SaveTheDay is intended to be part of a clever social media campaign to promote The Day of the Doctor and the show’s 50th anniversary, but it is now over two months since a trailer for the episode was played at the San Diego Comic Con.

(With thanks to Joe)

Sunday Morning Update

Compare the clip above with this:

If you were one of the 12 people who made it to the end of Atlantis, this is the full-length (for want of a better term) teaser you would have seen. Good, isn’t it?

So what in the name of the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe’s piles was the BBC thinking by splicing the teaser around the televisual equivalent of propofol? How many of Doctor Who‘s core audience were watching TV at 9.25pm, when the clip above was screened?

I really, REALLY want to get behind this. But on first viewing it is yet another anniversary year misfire by whoever is in charge of pushing Doctor Who to the masses.



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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+.

63 Responses to Doctor Who Fans Unimpressed by #SaveTheDay [UPDATED]

  1. avatar thebutler says:

    Oh, is that why it’s trending?

    • Do you genuinely, honestly, as a Doctor Who fan, think that a recycled hashtag is worthy of the show’s 50th anniversary?

      • avatar thebutler says:

        It’s only september. Wouldn’t want to get overexcited too soon. ;)

        • Forget the month. Answer the question :)

          • avatar Bob James says:


      • avatar Neu 75 says:

        No, but a 75 minute special on it’s actual anniversary in a few weeks time is, I would have thought. Called publicity, darling…

        • Would an eyestalk have hurt? A seal of Rassilon?

          A Vworp?!

          It’s unimaginative. Darling.

          • avatar thebutler says:

            The original theme tune was a nice touch.

          • It was, but it came a bit late in the day. Like, after most people had smashed their TVs in order to escape Atlantis.

          • avatar Neu 75 says:

            Only to some spoilt 8 year old brat who doesn’t have any patience. Darling.

  2. avatar vortexter says:

    I bet most casual viewers didnt have a clue what that was even for. Epic fail!

    • avatar Grant says:

      How stupid do you think the average BBC viewer is?

      • avatar vortexter says:

        Well they do watch ‘Mr’s Browns Boys’…

  3. avatar Christine says:

    Just a bit disappointed as probably everybody else!

  4. avatar thorterr says:

    A comic con trailer for the uk wouldve been nice

    • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

      It was called a Comic-Con Exclusive for a reason I suspect!

      • avatar thorterr says:

        Well im a bbc licence payer and some American kid got to see the trailer 2months ago?

        • avatar David F says:

          Those people paid lots of money for Comic Con tickets and transportation, and it was correct of the organisers to make sure they had enough treats to justify the cost. And tickets were available to all nationalities.

          If there’d been a British convention at which a trailer was shown, would you be protesting on behalf of deprived Americans? Americans who are also paying for television services that allow them to watch Doctor Who, exactly the same as you do?

          You pay your licence fee, and you get all the available television programmes. You’ll get The Day of the Doctor, and all its advertising, just as everyone else will. No one’s been cheated. The trailer will contain nothing but the barest bones of of the episode, and watching it won’t bring forward the actual show.

          • avatar BOJAY says:

            Well said, sir.

  5. avatar vortexter says:

    The home made fake fan trailers on youtube are more inspiring than this.

  6. avatar Keith Andrews says:

    The show’s not on for 2 month’s, it’s simply just not important. Fans expect too much of the BBC- Dr Who is just one programme. I love it to buts, but really can’t get obsessed by trailers or lack of them.

  7. avatar Spider-pope says:

    Feth, some people are acting like this was meant to be the trailer. It’s a little bit of publicity for a show not due for another two months. As for casual viewers not knowing what it’s for: Thats the point.To get them wondering “hmm what is that? I’d best go on Twitter and follow it”.

    • avatar Al says:

      I think a lot of people missed the word “sting.” An example of a sting was the reindeer eating snow outside the TARDIS at Christmas 2009, or the TARDIS appearing briefly on screen with the phrase “It’s almost time … but not yet” which was all folks had to go on for the McGann movie for quite a while. The fault lies with the websites that characterized this as a trailer when it wasn’t. I will agree however that exactly why neither the BBC nor BBC America have released the DOTD and AAITAS trailers from ComicCon yet is beyond me. Must have been one heck of an exclusivity contract they signed with ComicCon.

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        I think that should read AAISAT! The show is titled An Adventure In ‘Space And Time’ not ‘Time And Space’. So many people seem to have a lot of problems realising this, not just your good self :)

        • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

          There’s a terrible quality video of the AAISAT trailer out there….like I say, it’s bad quality, but it is out there……and there’s enough to glean that it will be brilliant.

          • avatar James Mclean says:

            I think the issue is not that we don’t expect publicity stings 2 months before the event, but the fact the BBC hyped this to ramp up viewing ratings around a show that has cost a lot and was suffering whispered of badness well before airing.

            Most people won’t know what a sting is. Avid TV people and maybe longterm Whofans may have learned, but the average guy, and even the average Who fan will have tuned in in the hope of seeing nothing and just ended up being a manipulated statistic.

            However you want to swing it, the way the sting was proper PR’d, the use of it as a bookend to crutch a show and the fact there was literally nothing to see, is poor show.

  8. avatar Al says:

    Doctor Who News Page is reporting that they’ve shot a trailer with exclusive footage that’s supposed to air soon, so they’ve got a few things up their sleeve, and I’ll be shocked if we don’t get either a minisode or a scene preview for Children in Need.

    • Is it? How remarkable. We reported the same.

      • avatar BOJAY says:

        Show off. Sarcasm is the essence of wit.

  9. avatar Ian says:

    I was disappointed with the hastag, but then seeing 23.11.13 hearing the Tardis & original theme cool!

  10. avatar vortexter says:

    I wasn’t expecting a 5 minute trailer tonight.But I was expecting more than a few gold words against a plain black backdrop.

  11. avatar Bob James says:

    I can’t wait until the actual Special is broadcast, so that everyone can start bitching about that instead of the (lack thereof) trailer! Everyone can start loading their weapons now, and everybody will have something to do while we wait!

  12. avatar Grant says:

    Why stop at complaining that we didn’t get to see the trailer when the Comic Con crowd did? I’m personally offended that Comic Con got to see Matt Smith live – Smith owes it to the license payers to visit every household in Britain, one at a time.

    *Or*… everyone could stop bitching like children and just wait for the damn special.

  13. avatar Lozzer says:

    Jeez, I’m in no rush to see the trailer but that was just pointless. It didn’t even raise a look of disaproval from my Dr Who hating wife – that can only mean fail. Nevermind, better luck next time BBC.

  14. avatar BOJAY says:

    And that chick (if it’s even a chick) in the twitter post, seen above, “sarah jane smith”, as she refers to herself, those are the kind of “fans” who I just wish, even for once, would make good on their threats.

  15. avatar David F says:

    I’m a bit worried by how much expectation we’ve built up about this special. The BBC is just going about things in a normal, orderly fashion, but we’ve whipped ourselves up into a state where nothing is enough, and an almighty backlash is brewing. Not because the BBC has done anything wrong, but because we’ve set up our own ideas of what we’re entitled to see.

    I don’t much care about this sting. It’s small and insignificant, and wasn’t meant to be anything more than that. The BBC probably saw it as a starting pistol. Not exciting in itself, but simply a signal to us that we’re entering the last stage of waiting. A cheeky little poke in the ribs. (I don’t actually understand what hashtags are anyway, so I’m baffled, but it doesn’t matter.)

    Trailers exist for the following reasons: a) to alert people to the release of a movie or TV show, b) to build up expectation among the fan base, and c) to inform people, over the preceding two or three weeks, or the broadcast date and time. On the first two counts, it’s utterly unnecessary, and on the third, not yet applicable (and we know the date anyway).

    I don’t want to see a trailer yet. It’s stupidly early. It would only give our brains too much time to write our own stories around what we see, and then be disappointed when the final result didn’t match them.

  16. avatar Geoff says:

    I agree with David’s comments above. I love Doctor Who through to my bones but I don’t expect the BBC to trail any show 2 months ahead of its broadcast. Why on earth would they, it’s far too early. I expect a trailer of sorts from the start of November onwards and I’m fine with that. Scary thought: in two months time all this will be over!

  17. avatar David F says:

    Are fans are supposed to be disappointed because the BBC only showed a hashtag, or because the hashtag they showed isn’t very good?

    There was never a promise of an amazing revelation in the first place. Merely a report that an early aspect of the promotional strategy would be dripped into the schedule. It wasn’t broadcast in place of better things. It was a tiny addition to all the better things that will follow.

  18. avatar Bob James says:

    I agree that the expectations have grown into an out of control beast. We should be excited, and expectant, about what’s to come. I personally trust Moffat and company to give us something fantastic. I’ve waited 9 months, so what’s 2 more? I still think that there might be a caution on the BBC’s and Moffat’s part about an extended trailer giving too much away. We already know we are only aware of what we saw of on location shooting. Moffat has suggested that there is going to be much more, and I don’t think it’s his usual “carnival barking” going on here. He and the BBC are very much aware of the place and importance of Doctor Who celebrating 50 years, an importance and place that extends well beyond the UK now. UK fans bitch about not getting a trailer. How do they think we US fans felt in 2005 when the UK was experiencing new Doctor Who for the first time since 1996, and we had to wait, because SyFy in it’s infinite wisdom passed on the US rights to broadcast because they considered the show to be “too British”? Way before BBC America. I personally got my first opportunity to watch by purchasing the Series 1 DVD set from Amazon Canada. That’s what I had to do or I just had to wait. So the attendees of SDCC got a glimpse, so what? In just 2 more months the world gets the whole of it. Sometimes the minority (and God I hope it is a minority) of Doctor Who fans make me ashamed of the association with them. The venom, the bile, the abuse hurled at Steven Moffat all through the year. First the story arcs are too long and complicated, then the resolutions are too abrupt and incomplete. Too much Sonic Screwdriver. Who the hell is Clara, and why the hell is she so poorly developed as a character? Some of Series 7 so bad it’s unfit for broadcast. Why are we only getting half the amount of episodes? Bitch, bitch, bitch. Ingrates on parade in forums and in comments sections. At least I only had a go at Eccleston about his snobby non involvement. Some “fans” seem to be too busy bitching about, well, everything, to even appreciate anything we’ve been given here. Doctor Who is half a century old this year, and seems set to keep moving forward. We’re getting an Anniversary Special, a Christmas Special, and a film about the show’s origins, much merchandising, and many conventions as part of the celebrations. I am utterly overjoyed about all of it. It’s such a shame that there seems to be a lot of “fans” who don’t deserve any of this. And maybe, just maybe, it’s not meant for them anyway.

    • avatar David F says:


      I simply don’t understand this idea that the trailer is late. I just don’t know what mental process would lead to that conclusion. It would go against all precedent to release a trailer for a TV show this early. It would be defiance of everything the entertainment industry knows about marketing. They have a schedule, and they know what they’re doing. The gap between now and November the 23rd would be unchanged by the showing of a trailer.

      This hashtag revelation is being judged as if it’s meant to be a trailer, but it isn’t. All it aims to do is make us prick up our ears and think, “Oh, look. It’s already October. Looks like the publicity machine is beginning to stir. It’ll wake up soon.” But instead of judging this on its own humble aims, the internet is raging in disappointment about . . . Actually, I’m not clear what it is people are disappointed about. I think there’s just a generally negative atmosphere of entitlement.

      • avatar James Mclean says:

        Because it was PR’d knowing full well that many would tune in either not knowing what a sting is, or hoping the sting would carry something exciting, and it was done to conjure viewers for a new show the BBC has very little confidence in. This is why people are irritated. Nothing about patience. It’s about a PR drive that milks expectation rather coldly.

  19. avatar Alex Skerratt says:

    I think human psychology plays a certain part in this. When presented with a blatant social media campaign, with the originators saying, “Make this go viral and get it trending!” our stubborn streak makes us go, “No – *you* get it trending!” (That’s how my brain works anyway…)

    Plus it was somewhat naff. A lot of build-up to nothing yesterday, with an announcement of a trailer for the trailer for the 50th – scraping the barrel a tad!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Completely agree, Alex! I’m cynical of all these viral campaigns. I got annoyed when Have I Got News For You…? had the hashtag #HIGNY after the titles! I just think, if a show is worthy of trending, the fans will somehow get a hashtag together, whether that be #HIGNIFY, #PaulMerton or even #AlexanderArmstronghadbetterbepresentingagainthisseries.

  20. avatar Matt Walker says:

    Th BBC did something similar back in 2005 I recall. It was a brief scene of the TARDIS dematerialising. A bit of a teaser, methinks. The negative reaction to this is quite extraordinary. It wasn’t that long ago that Dr Who was still in the long grass and hated by the BBC and ignored by the public. Now it is at the heart of the Beeb’s programming and talked about in broadsheet newspapers. If all we have to complain about are these little teasers, we are doing quite well. And I will remind people of that next time Dr Who falls out of favour.

    • The 2005 situation is quite different. Back then, we got a short space-to-earth zoom of the Powell Estate (perhaps on New Year’s Day?) followed a few months later by the teasers you suggest, then multiple playings of the to camera, in character monologues that were in vogue at the time by Chris and Billie.

      I think the reaction to last night’s full teaser – which in its entirety isn’t as bad as what was presented at 8.25 – is fair enough. Forget the various complaints about lack of classic episodes and special trailers. The BBC couldn’t even be bothered to give us the full teaser until 9.25.

      How many of the core audience of Doctor Who viewers are watching TV at 9.25pm? How many of them were bored rigid by Atlantis and switched off early?

      It might be argued that splicing the teaser in this way was a cynical move by the BBC.

      • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

        I completely agree. And ‘Atlantis’ made ‘The Time Monster’ look like ‘Blink’.

      • avatar Matt Walker says:

        Well, your memory is better than mine, Christian! However, were significant trailers shown 8 weeks prior to transmission back in 2005? I can’t recall that being the case. I think whether or not hardcore Who fans are watching the stings is irrelevant. The BBC isn’t there just for us fans. And I can’t remember them ever showing a trailer for a drama two months in advance.

        If by cynicism you mean the BBC strategically placed the stings to boost Atlantis’ viewing, I don’t quite see that as cynicism. More common sense I would have thought. Besides, the schedulers would anticipate significant overlap between the two shows’ demographic.

        I completely endorse some of the comments below regarding patience, and it concerns me that a number of fans sound so ungrateful regarding the anniversary special.

        • My memory is only so good because I had to write it down in Ultimate Regeneration.

          I think there are two ways of looking at this. One is that trailers are rarely aired, as you say, two months before a show goes out.

          The other is that Doctor Who has considerable past form for this, from SDCC in 2011 and 2012 to end of season trailers showing select scenes of the forthcoming Christmas special (as much as 6 months away) and Christmas specials previewing the following series, usually 3-4 months away.

          2013 has been the exception, not the rule.

  21. avatar Luke says:

    Nobody said we were getting a full trailer, just very short teasers. They were described as “stings”, which are just a few seconds of music and one or two images. Nothing more. They’re supposed to make a casual audience sit up and go “eh, what’s that?”

    They’re exactly what we were promised and they do the job.

  22. avatar Koth says:

    That second trailer wasnt shown in Wales. I saw the first one again!!!

  23. avatar Howard Railton says:

    It was dire.

  24. avatar Den Orman says:

    Hmmm. I’ve been a die-hard Who fan since I was 4, in other words I’ve waited 44 years for this anniversary. I prefer deferred pleasure (I almost don’t want it to happen at all!) and I fully expect a glimpse here, a tease there… it really doesn’t bother me that a bunch of people have seen a trailer at a convention somewhere, I’d rather not see anything at all until the Saturday before to be honest.

    I think everyone’s being a tad ungrateful, there’s 55 days to go folks then we get the special and a regeneration a month later. A few years ago we had no Who at all and I for one was quite certain it would NEVER be back… let’s just chill and nibble the Who snacks slowly and with relish as they are thrown our way :)

    • avatar Geoff says:

      Spot on Den.

  25. avatar DonnaM says:

    If the BBC were to start really “pushing” the episode now there’s a risk the majority of their audience (not the obsessive Doctor Who fans like us) would be fed up to the back teeth of the hype long before the broadcast date. The “sting” was a something and nothing and in my opinion their mistake was publicising it in advance.

    If it had caught us by surprise, we might be saying “Oh, some publicity at last!!” rather than whingeing that is wasn’t anything to write home about.

    What does Doctor Who get – 6-8 million viewers? It’s a good figure for something that isn’t “reality” trash these days, but it means the majority of the UK population doesn’t watch. It’s no in the Beeb’s interest to start trailing one episode six weeks before broadcast.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      The “majority” of the UK population don’t watch anything – if we go by the ratings something like 40 million of us are doing something else at any one time – TV is pretty much a minority past time now.

  26. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    I suspect the BBC thought “Atlantis” was going to go down a storm and be a big winner on the night – not flop like Mark Addy diving into a swimming pool… The point of the evening was to launch a new hit Saturday night show, and the “stings”, while not very good, would never have been designed to steal it’s thunder. Sadly, it turned out to sound more like a balloon being burst – but the people behind the first (of what I am sure will be many) promotional push weren’t to know this.

  27. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    I need a trailer like the TARDIS needs artron energy.

    This has gone on long enough!

    While not exactly overjoyed about the SDCC thing myself, I don’t really care about that trailer being shown in America first. It is an exclusive convention and the trailer was a convention exclusive if you get what I mean. And that convention ain’t cheap to be fair. So it is nice for those fans and well deserved for those who could attend.

    HOWEVER I think a lot of UK fans are right to feel aggrieved at the continuing delay of anything tangible to promote the special. Non-UK residents might feel they pay for Doctor Who as well – yes, of course, through merchandise and what have you but……

    UK Who fans pay for all that as well as a standard license fee on top of that. Also as the license fee has been paid by all viewers of British television since the BBC’s inception, the parents and grandparents etc of UK TV viewers have paid in to the TV license for Doctor Who since its launch, so there’s a kind of cultural investment going on here. For a lot of, particular older, UK fans, Doctor Who is woven into the fabric of British society, so for that, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that UK fans feel they have been slighted. Many UK fans are a bit like Silurians here resenting the Jonny Come Lately Americans…when in fact only a tiny number of US fans saw it anyway, but the it stands to reason that UK fans feel they have some entitlement to more.

    I don’t think many American fans really understand what the UK TV license is….nor how much it is…so there is a repeated financial as well as emotional investment to Doctor Who. During the wilderness years I kept paying my TV license hopeful that Who would return…and I think that hope is one of the things that kept me paying…. Many non-UK fans don’t realise that if you own a TV you have to pay – even if you chose to never watch the BBC. UK fans feel they own the BBC. Which in effect, we do.

    Just to round off, I would like to emphasise I hold no resentment to the trailer being shown at SDCC. But there is a case for UK fans feeling the show is more ‘theirs’ and this is why they feel resentful towards the SDCC trailer. But the lack of trailer is a bad joke now, it’s been so long, and something could have been put on the website for fans a couple of months after SDCC…. and this ‘save the day’ stuff is – let’s politely say – ‘balderdash’ for fans….we’ve been saving the day for fifty bloody years!!!!!!!!!

    Let us not forget though that it’s not made for fans, and Who never should be. However even for a casual viewer that hashtag was the dampest of squibs. What about a spinning gold TARDIS or something? Harrumph. Lame.

  28. I just don’t think they should have made such a big fuss, just put it out there. Making a big announcement for something that led to nothing really was pointless and let people down. Not enough substance especially with such high expectations for the 50th.

  29. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Just saw one of the “stings” on BBC America, during The Doctors Revisited.

  30. avatar Bob James says:

    As did I. It was the longer, 11 second version.

  31. avatar Anthony says:

    In honour of Steven Moffat and his, erm, relationships at BBC, I prefer to shorten the hastag to: #STD

    • Now that’s what I call Doctor Who satire.

  32. avatar Geoff says:

    Personally I was fine with the “stings” having seen on Facebook that’s all they would be. The bad thing has been the empty promises – whatever happened to Doctor Who hardly being off our screens during this year or getting more episodes in 2012 because of the split 2011 run?
    Last year was pitiful with only 5 episodes and a Christmas special and it doesn’t help the shows ratings to keep messing about like this. I do wish that Steven Moffat and the BBC wouldn’t say something that gets fans hopes up only to leave us disheartened – of course that is going to lead to complaints. Fingers crossed things will improve and hopefully the series will be returned to a regular schedule.

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