You can always trust the BBC to fuck something up when it comes to Doctor Who. It must come as a constant surprise to them that someone at the Beeb keeps re-commissioning the damn show, as they seem to do their level best to spoil it at every other turn.
Whether it’s the Radio Times trying to spoil it for everyone; Graham Norton’s appearance half-way through Rose; dicking about with the show in the schedules; or the latest trick of not only squashing the credits to trail the upcoming Saturday night drivel but adding in an animated Norton (him again!) mincing about the screen during the Doctor’s climatic monologue at the cliffhanger in The Time of Angels.
I can think of another couple of occasions the Beeb has utterly pissed all over its won programming in the past: once when it had those little animated green blobs that promoted the CBeebies channel during a pivotal moment in one of the last episodes of Farscape; an a not-unrelated moment when the credits of the final episode of Russell T Davies’ Casanova, which has Peter O’Toole slowly dancing, were rudely interrupted by a BBC continuity announces shouting about Phil Mitchell’s return in EastEnders.
It’s hard to think of anything more jarring, or any point in the story more inappropriate. It shows how clueless the BBC when it comes to its flagship show, a show that is a massive money-spinner for the BBC that it has seen fit to cancel on two separate occasions and virtually ignore for the best part of two decades, as if it were an embarrassment.
A show that RTD had to virtually stake his professional reputation on to get it back on the air at the BBC. It makes you grateful that the likes of Davies and Steven Moffat and David Tennant cared so much about and made sure it was ruined by interference from BBC honchos who listened to focus groups that told them that family drama was dead and shite like The Joy of Text was the way forward.
Would it matter if it were over the top of Total Wipeout or Strictly Come Dancing? Probably not. But Doctor Who is not like either of those shows, and it doesn’t lend itself to BBC1’s current trails for its Saturday night line-up either.
While the Beeb seems to have every idea of how to milk Doctor Who for all it’s worth, it seems utterly clueless when it comes to handling Who. The more things change, the more they stay the same.