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Published on February 27th, 2014 | by Nick Kitchen

Doctor Who: Not So Big In Finland!

Doctor Who? It’s a question that British TV fans have been asking for 50 years now. It’s also a question that modern Finnish viewers are asking for a different reason. In case you were unaware, dear reader, the annual BBC Worldwide Showcase is going on in Liverpool this week. This event gives the Beeb the opportunity to show off their original programming for purchase in other international markets.

The folks at the BBC had the chance to speak to some of the several hundred buyers about how some of Britain’s finest shows are faring in their respective countries. Of course shows like Sherlock and Downton Abbey are doing well across the globe, but what about the adventures of our good Doctor? Great in Turkey, China, and Latin America; not so great in Finland, according to Tarmo Kivikiello of YLE:

Doctor Who is funny because it’s such a huge brand in Britain. We have tried. We bought the whole series and really pushed it but no, no reaction. There are a couple of fans and they really love it. But if you have 10 of those fans it’s not enough.

In case you were wondering what kind of programming the people of Finland prefer, the answer is Downton Abbey and older ITV offering, Heartbeat. It would seem that we Whovians have some work to do in Finland!

So, dear readers, do we have any Finnish Whovians amongst us? Are you surprised that reruns of Heartbeat out perform Doctor Who? Sound off below!

(Via BBC News)


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

48 Responses to Doctor Who: Not So Big In Finland!

  1. avatar Ryan says:

    They might not be fans of the tv show, but surely, they must be fans of the Big Finnish audios

  2. avatar Copain says:

    Ryan x)

  3. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Heartbeat? Of all the programs in the world to lose out to!

    • avatar Teroro says:

      Yeah, well, Heartbeat has been on Finnish TV for ages (at least 12 years straight), New Who has been in for two episodes. The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor.

      ”Not so big” yeah. But problem is that here in Finland, people start watching Doctor Who when they hear about it from their friends etc.

      Only company that is ready to show DW in Finland is YLE which doesn’t cut their programs to advertise, and hasn’t yet decided when they start to show New Who from the beginning. They have given us promises about it for six months or now, but because there is lack of knowledge about this, their site doesn’t get too many comments about it.

      • avatar highteeeee says:

        YLE has actually shown all episodes of New Who, since series one with The Time of the Doctor being the latest episode. They’re rerunning all series this summer and then moving on to series 8 in the autumn.

  4. avatar Paul says:

    The Finnish reaction is mirrored here in Japan. NHK did run the first couple of series from Eccleston on, but in their infinite wisdom they put it on in the middle of the night and, strangely enough, it failed to catch on. I’ve shown it to my students at a university here, and they love it though…

  5. avatar drewboynton says:

    Just one more reason to hate Finland? (Shaking fist at sky: “Finnnnnlannnnd!!!!!!!”) :)

    • avatar drewboynton says:

      Just kidding! I love Finland! No one hates Finland! Hating Finland would be like hating fluffy kittens, pizza, or David Tennant–it doesn’t happen!

      • I think it might be time to break THIS out…

  6. avatar ~WhovianFromFinland~ says:

    Well I’m finnish, and I absolutely LOVE everything about Doctor Who! And I’m quite sure that there’s more than 10 whovians here. Not as much as there might be elsewhere, but that’s just because they don’t show Doctor Who on finnish tv-channels. I think YLE should start showing the classic series too, and not just the new one, because the classic series is just AWESOME!

  7. avatar Christine says:

    Not much difference with the Netherlands, then. There are of course some fans (much more than 10, but still not so many), but I expect hardly enough. But luckily for us, we can watch BBC 1 directly, so the (small) fan base is still catered for.

  8. avatar Coopergreg says:

    Fair enough, it can;t be popular everywhere! We shouldn’t complain – how many Finnish programmes do we get in the UK?!

    I work for a Finnish company in the UK (not Nokkia!), and a couple of my Finn colleagues have heard of the show (mainly through periods worked in the UK), but it sounds like they are not a massive Sci-Fi watching country,

  9. avatar mace says:

    “Pushed” Doctor Who in Finland? Ha, what a joke!

    YLE (finnish ‘BBC’) aired the excellent first series in 2006 (Torchwood also) with the best doctor (Eccleston) ever and then they just forgot it! Then suddenly last year they showed the rest of the seasons straight through from S02-07 + all the specials and I only noticed it by accident and way too late it was in the air again. And why? No promotions what so ever and stupid early evening slot with the likes of Heartbeat and children programming.

    On the other hand nobody in the whole of Finland couldn’t have missed Downton Abbey, Sherlock (which was of course stunning) or Call the Midwife because those shows they really promoted every possible ways imaginable..

  10. Hello, Finnish whovian here. I know that in Finland there is least 915 fans because our group (Doctor Who Finland) has 915 members!

  11. avatar lyric says:

    Um, excuse me; there are almost 1000 fans joined in the Doctor Who Finland Facebook group. And lots more that are not avid fans, just like to watch the series. There might be ten die-hard fans who write to YLE, but make no mistake; they are informing the other 990 of their answers.

  12. Well excuse me but we have at least 1000 fans and that number is just from facebook group so there are many many others who watch the show me included :U

  13. avatar Maeglóth says:

    Why to say you hate Finland? We do have Dw fans here but we’re not making a huge show of ourselves. And actually had to point out i have no idea what this “Heaetbeat” is.

  14. avatar Kela says:

    Hello, Finnish Whovian here! *waves enthusiastically* I follow the show over the internet so I suppose that’s part of the reason why YLE think there aren’t enough of us… We don’t want to wait for it to be shown on TV, we want it NOW! I’m not surprised Heartbeat is doing so well though, since it’s on right as people get home from work and are relaxing in front of the TV…
    Anyway, we do exist! Though it pains me to say that in all these years I’ve been walking around with my DW bags (currently the 50th Anniversary edition), the only people who’ve ever commented on it have been expat Brits.

  15. avatar JV says:

    Finnish Whovian here. Big fan, have seen every episode ever made (all 800), more than once, and all the spin-offs… but never a single episode of Heartbeat. Weird to know I’m a rarity…

  16. avatar Salko says:

    Such a lie. YLE should really check their facts before blurting out such stupidity. Try more like over 1000 fans. Saying there’s only 10 fans is just such belittling. Those might be the active ones who write constantly to them demanding more Doctor, but elsewhere there’s a whole group of us Whovians YLE probably knows nothing about.

  17. Well I’m from Finland, and I could call myself a Whovian (seen all of “New Who” episodes, and currently watching the Classic Who ones). We actually have a Facebook group called “Doctor Who Finland” with over 900 members (and growing)! So I’m just saying that there are almost 1000 Finnish Whovians, and that’s just those who are on FB. Take that :3♥

  18. avatar highteeeee says:

    I’m from Finland, and I am a Whovian. I can say, that Mr Kivikello was exaggarating a bit. Sure, the show isn’t very big yrt, but it’s steadily growing and there’s certainly more than 10 people watching. The reason why Heartbeat is so popular is because we have so many older people in our country. They aren’t interested in Doctor Who. And the youth hasn’t heard about the show yet. But it’s growing.

  19. avatar Lauri says:

    There are more that 10 finnish DW fans…..i am part of finnish Doctor who fandom

  20. avatar Essio says:

    Bah! I’m pretty confident when I say that the Whovian fanbase is much larger than Kivikello claims it to be (of course he didn’t literally mean that it only has 10 Finnish fans, but my point stands). I believe most Finnish Whovians either watch DW online or download the episodes to their computers (me and some of my friends do this mainly because we HATE the Finnish subtitles). The viewer ratings aren’t reliable, either, since the show aired during the summer holiday and nobody’s really watching telly at home then (most Finns travel or go to festivals or summer cottages at summer). YLE also does a really bad job at advertising its programmes – maybe because it’s funded by the government.

    (To top it all, the Doctor Who Finland Facebook page [which isn't an official fanpage, mind you] consists of nearly 1,000 members and that excludes every fan that hasn’t got a FB account, hasn’t found the group yet or simply doesn’t want to express their interest in Doctor Who that way. So yes, I’d say that Doctor Who is much bigger a thing in Finland than what Kivikello has claimed.)

  21. avatar Emilyyy says:

    hahahaah, that’s bullshit! :DDD ofc we have Doctor Who fans here in Finland! Not just so much than YLE expected…..So please, don’t hate us!

  22. avatar Minna says:

    Me and my daughter and quite many of our friends and family are huge fans of Doctor Who. Please, don´t hate us Finns! :)

  23. avatar Emilia says:

    10 fans only… there is more that here in Finland.

  24. avatar Meri says:

    That’s weird. Doctor Who is the most popular scifi series/movie in Finland and it’s huge among 12-18 years old (and then there is the older fans, but most of them have already seen all new episodes when they were finally shown in Finland).

    But that’s really strange news. Few months ago Yle said that they would publish the new series too. And suddenly they just cancelled it.

    • avatar highteeeee says:

      YLE hasn’t cancelled anything, just pushed back. Series 1-7 will be shown during the summer, followed by series 8 in the autumn.

  25. avatar Danya says:

    There is actually quite a lot Whovians in Finland, even in my school there is a picture of 10th Doctor in our café. Most of my friends love Doctor Who, or at least watch it. But I think the problem is that most Whovians here have watched the show from internet, like Netflix and stuff, and there is even a Facebook group called Doctor Who Finland, which has almost thousand members already. So 10 fans? More like thousands, since all Finnish Whovians ain’t even members of that group. So I have no freaking idea what YLE is thinking. Reruns of Heartbeat? Well, maybe it’s the fact that elders watch more TV than young people, since we usually use internet for watching TV shows.

  26. avatar Shikoo says:

    Hellooo, a Finnish Whovian is present… I have been a fan of the show for almost 8 years now, and have greatly enjoyed these last few years with YLE showing the episodes and all. I’m really thankful to them for this, because I have gotten so many people to watch and enjoy the series because of it!
    I think the number of Finnish Whovians is definetely escalating and fast. People are starting to tell their friends about it, and I expect that a lot of people will be dragged in front of the TV this following spring, when YLE is going to run all the NewWho episodes.
    We will rise! YLE has a really positive attitude, I think, and we fans will pay it back by watching the episodes. They give us the show time and time again even though there aren’t that many of us (as of yet). We’ve even made the news once! Finnish Whovians are really great and active. Just you wait!

  27. avatar Iceberry says:

    Only 10 fans in finland? There are much more than that. I personally know like 15 and I know two DW groups and each other have like 1000 fans.
    I have watched every episode on DW, and I LOVE IT! Now I go watch K-9 tales again, I just love that robot dog <3 Bye (And sorry my bad english)

  28. avatar Frodo says:

    We have here more than 10 -.- Almost 1000

  29. avatar M says:

    Hi! I’m a Finnish Whovian and have been since 2005 when I was 11 years old (I am now 19). I read some of the classic Who inspired books as a child and my parents have watched the show for ages (my father used to watch the 4th Doctor as a kid). My little sister is also a Whovian and I many people from my school are also huge fans, and most of them aren’t even in the facebook group that has almost 1000 members… The number of fans is increasing all the time, back in 2006 there might’ve been only ten fans but now because of tumblr and other sources the show is becoming more popular fast!

  30. avatar - says:

    One reason why there’s so small amount of fans might be because people in Finland haven’t grown up with the TV show, I think. I would give anything just to go back and be able to watch Doctor Who as a kid but then I would face the problem of not understanding English. Or at least not being able to read the subtitles fast enough. (also the fact that not so many parents have watched DW here before -> they never told their children about the show) (and it is understandable since there’s almost no advertising of it at all in Finland)
    But saying there is 10 DW fans in Finland is far from correct. As said in the comments there’s over 900 fans in facebook’s Doctor Who Finland group. Still, that’s not all. I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for a long time and I just recently found out about the group. And I believe there are many others like me. And some of the fans might not even be using social media.

    But hey, I really like the idea of YLE finally catching up with DW series. The fanbase is growing all the time in Finland, keep that up!

  31. Finnish Whovian, You Are Not Alone!

  32. avatar R says:

    I’m a Finnish Whovian too and I agree with several of the writers before me: Doctor Who is hardly promoted at all in Finland. And the way YLE showed seasons four to seven all at once last spring and summer, one episode per day, didn’t do it justice. Also the early evening slot was really stupid.

  33. avatar Finnish Whovian says:

    I am whovian from Finland. I don’t watch the episodes from YLE because I want to see them right away. I also have all the new episodes on dvd. So there are more than 10 whovians in Finland

  34. avatar Niila says:

    There are 918 people in the Doctor Who Finland facebook group. That’s a bit more than 10. Just sayin’

  35. avatar NewToWho says:

    I’m Finnish and I have only been a whovian for like two months now and it definitely wasn’t for YLE that I started watching the show. I started to watch the show because of a youtube video I saw (Teens react to Doctor Who) and we bought netflix soon after I had seen that video and I was so happy to see that DW was there. I’m currently on season 7 and after that I’m going to watch the classic series from netflix. And before I started watching my new favorite show I didn’t even know about it. I’ve never heard about Doctor Who anywhere in Finland and I thought that it had never even aired on TV in Finland, which proves that YLE really doesn’t try that hard to get audience for the show. And one of the problems might be that not many young people watch YLE cause they think that they only show shows that they’d never be interested in. At least that was the case for me. And I know that YLE doesn’t really advertise their shows but I think they could gain more interest in shows like DW via social media.

  36. avatar :) says:

    I’m Finnish, I live in Finland, and I love Doctor Who! I am in the Facebook group mentioned above, but I know several people who watch the show and aren’t in the group – including my husband, a hardcore Whovian. So it’s definitely much, MUCH more than a 1000 people.

    • avatar Minna says:

      me too!! I love Doctor Who (&Torchwood) but only heard about finnish group with this conversation (sorry guys and gals). So more, more, moooaaarr than 1000 :)

  37. avatar Kushisama says:

    I’m finnish whovian and brony too. I do not know how much it is here, but more than it was ten. perhaps more than a thousand.

  38. Definitely not true. Doctor Who is a big thing for a lot of people here, and lately even the younger folks have started forming fandoms around the series. British stuff in general has an audience.

  39. avatar Kushisama says:

    I’m Finnish whovian.

  40. avatar hidoineko says:

    I am a whovian and from Finland! And yes, there’s a lot of us if Finland. I am also in facebook group mentioned earlier, and i know there’s more fans that aren’t part of that group.

  41. avatar Nick Kitchen says:

    Hello, Finland! Thank you all for saying hello and letting us know the true state of all things Doctor Who in Finland. Sounds like it’s starting to get traction there. If you’re new to the site, we hope you’ll stick around! Plenty of things to keep you informed and entertained as you journey further into the Whoniverse.

  42. avatar Nukkis says:

    Not so big in Finland? Well, it’s not bad thing, we are getting newest season without ads in completly free channel (YLE) in 24.8. ;) Yes, just one day from premiere!

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