April 04, 2005
When I am not busy being a Doctor Who fan and a Doctor Who Blogger, I work as a Communications Manager for a grad school in Toronto. One of the things I do in that capacity is prepare press releases from time to time.
When I produce a press release on anything, it is standard operating procedure that I need to have the permission of anyone I am quoting—regardless of whether the quote is something they’ve said or something I’ve ghostwritten for them. If I did not do that, there would be grounds for a serious reprimand, and depending on the seriousness of the matter, outright dismissal.
Which makes the BBC’s admission that they had not consulted Christopher Eccleston in writing a press release on his departure from the series all the more mystifying to me. This was a major press release. Whatever the situation, whatever the ticking clock, if you don’t have the signoff of the major parties in the release, it borders on either incompetence or negligence or both to put something out in their name.
This is made even worse by the admission that “the BBC ... did not consult [Eccleston] about that statement and also broke its agreement not to reveal he planned to film just one series” This means that even more sign-offs weren’t done: with the drama department, with the series producers, even their legal department.
A gaffe like this is incredibly serious. Because it will come to bite you on the ass. And this time it did.
That press release provoked a shitstorm in the press and online like nothing else. Eccleston was horsewhipped from pillar to post in the media for leaving because of typecasting, even though a number of people over the past week have tried to point out that the “typecasting” reason for leaving was an unattributed remark—it wasn’t even provided as a quote—and that Christopher Eccleston has made no comment whatsoever on leaving the role.
They had good reason to point this out. Because Eccleston didn’t say it. Nor has he given any reason for leaving even still, though we now know it was on the cards since at least January.
In the days that follow, there’s going to be a great deal of sober reflection, but none more sober than the person in the BBC Press Office who started this in the first place.
Posted by Graeme on Monday, April 4 at 6:17 pm
April 02, 2005
Open the Toronto Star’s Starweek magazine today and this is the first thing you’ll see.
“Alien Slayer. Time traveller. Lady killer. He’s unlike any doctor you’ve ever seen before.”
Posted by John on Saturday, April 2 at 8:38 am
April 01, 2005
Something to consider here in the midst of all the craziness in the past week…
If you include Rose (which if you’re Canadian is easy to do since it doesn’t start til Tuesday) then between now and 2006 we will be getting 27 new episodes of Doctor Who. 27 new episodes made for TV. 27 forty-five minute episodes.
27 episodes is the the same length (more or less) as 54 ‘classic’ series episodes.
The loss of the lead actor has I think made many more obsessed with the trees than the forest, and it’s a very impressive forest indeed.
Think about it. 27 new episodes by the same production team over the next two years. That, as the Ninth Doctor might say, is “fantastic”.
Posted by Graeme on Friday, April 1 at 8:36 pm
March 30, 2005
Before everyone gets ready to draw knives to use on themselves or Christopher Eccleston, consider this: this show would have never have been treated seriously by the BBC, the press and possibly the viewing public without an actor the calibre of Eccleston to bring the series out of the starting gates. And now that he has done that to thunderous applause, the show could be poised to go on for a long time.
Risks can be taken in casting the next Doctor and by leaving during the first season an audience can quickly identify that the show is bigger than the actor. Another year, lower ratings, Eccleston wants to leave…who’s to say it wouldn’t be cancelled when he wanted to give up. But by committing to the series and showing what can be done and leaving early, it’s in fact validated the next season that was greenlighted today and ensured a future for Doctor Who beyond him.
So maybe instead of looking for the end of the world, we should just look forward to The End of the World instead and marvel at how bloody talented this man is, and how lucky we are to have him as the Doctor.
Posted by Graeme on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:05 pm
The return of Doctor Who to British screens Saturday was such an incredible success that the BBC have decided to commission a second new series of the show (the 28th season of Doctor Who overall) after just one episode, it was publicly announced today in Britain by The Stage newspaper. And that’s not all. In addition to another 13 45minute episodes for 2006, there will be, prior to that, a “Christmas special” for December 2005, which apparently will be 60 minutes long.
This is of course fantastic news, but entirely expected (even before the ratings were in). The only surprise is how quickly they announced it during the broadcast of the first new season. BBC Head of Drama Jane Tranter indicated that she hoped the new series got 6.5 million on its debut, so she was obviously blown away by the 10million viewers it got on Saturday night. She will also not confirm that Eccleston and Piper will be back (though I personally expect them to be), hinting that she didn’t want to spoil the next 12 episodes (which are still to be aired in the UK). We will have to wait and see what happens, but in the meantime…......celebrate and rejoice!
Posted by John on Wednesday, March 30 at 10:39 am
March 29, 2005
While everyone here at the Doctor Who Blog are eagerly anticipating the North American Premiere of the New Series on the CBC (April 5 @ 8pm). I thought it would be nice to take a look at some 1960s Doctor Who, and how one fan has taken several classic black & white clips from the series and colourized them. I’m not a fan of colourization in film…however these stills are just gorgeous! This first one is a cool before and after image that gives you a sense of what he’s done.
The web site is: http://www.gmendias.com/babel_fish/ and on there you’ll find some great photos, images, screen captures, and motion picture clips that are a unique and colourful look back at the origins of Doctor Who. Funny how different fans do different things. Here is yet another example of a talented Doctor Who fan doing something just for the fun of it and for the entertainment/enjoyment of other fans.
Right on, Stuart Humphryes!
Posted by Rod on Tuesday, March 29 at 1:02 pm
March 28, 2005
Back when word of Doctor Who being broadcast on the CBC began to get out, someone said to me, “Maybe it will make the cover of TV Guide”.
“Never,” I said, “will that happen. A couple of local listings magazines will cover it but it will never have a major article in TV Guide. Even the Canadian Version. And if it did it would never make the cover.”
Today I stand before you to say, I know not of what I speak. And aren’t we all glad? Because…
HOLY MOTHER OF THE MOXX OF BALHOON!!! DOCTOR WHO IS ON THE FRONT OF TV GUIDE!!!
Posted by Graeme on Monday, March 28 at 11:46 am
As pointed out by viewer Larry, the London News Review has a little article about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and its influence on modern artists. I don’t agree that the incidental music sounds like bad library CDs from the 90s - I really like the music in Rose - but I agree that without Delia Derbyshire and the rest of the Radiophonic Workshop crew we might not have Aphex Twin’s intimate and alien melodies from Mars.
Posted by John on Monday, March 28 at 8:22 am
March 27, 2005
According to the BBC, Doctor Who is a ratings success! Garnering an average of 9.9 million viewers with a peak of 10.5 million, the newest incarnation of our favourite show beat ITV’s offering, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeway, convincingly. The rival show pulled in an average of 7.2 million viewers, peaking at 8.5 million.
This is the extremely good news. Not only does it mean that the BBC have finally won the Saturday night ratings battle, it also means that Doctor Who will almost certainly be renewed for a second season.
Guess I was wrong to have any doubts about how well the new series would do. I should have had more faith in the Great British public
If you haven’t already been celebrating the return of the good Doctor, now’s a very good time to start.
Posted by John on Sunday, March 27 at 8:48 am
Next to, of course, the really big news of the weekend, another exciting thing to happen was a massive write-up on the series in the Review section of The Globe and Mail. The article brings up a few of the hoary chestnuts (crappy props, wobbly sets, fans called Whovians, Daleks are robots that haven’t conquered stairs) but on the whole it’s an upbeat preview of the new series.
The presence of a giant write up in Canada’s most prestigious national newspaper demonstrates—as if we needed such proof—that the Doctor Who juggernaut is getting warmed up to conquer Canada like it has the UK. And with a TV Guide cover feature coming later this week, Canadians are going to get a taste of the excitement the Brits had in the days leading up to a new series…
Posted by Graeme on Sunday, March 27 at 5:18 am
The Doctor Who Blog's mission is to provide witty and insightful commentary on the world of Doctor Who in all its various forms. And to make several bad puns and references to jokes Tom Baker once made.
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