General TV stuff New Series

Doctor Who fan complains to BBC shock

Like thousands of other people, I complained to the BBC the other day about them fucking up the climax of The Time of Angels – pointing out that it was unnecessary, ill-timed and just plain stupid.

I imagine the Beeb has an entire wing of television centre given up to complaints from Doctor Who fans by now, especially given events like the Day of Action where Gary Leigh and Ian Levine redialled the duty officer’s phone number one day in the early 90s.

But it’s misleading to suggest that only Doctor Who fans could, or should, get annoyed with intrusive adverts, trails and other assorted modern irritations. Which is why I rolled my eyes at the Beeb’s response to my original complaint, where the corporation apologised to ‘all Doctor Who fans’.

That isn’t the point. I wasn’t complaining because ‘my programme’ had been ruined, in the same way that I wasn’t complaining when something similar happened at the end of Casanova a few years ago because it was a programme that was especially dear to me.

There shouldn’t be any of this uber-trailing on the BBC for various reasons, at least when it comes to drama. Drama that requires a suspension of disbelief, or requires a certain emotional investment or attentiveness in what’s on the screen.

Either the Beeb recognises the importance and quality of its own programming or it sees it as a commodity to be leveraged.

There’s a natural reaction, created by years of fan stupidity, to write this off as ‘Doctor Who fans’ going off at a tangent again. But why should only fans complain about insensitive trails and continuity during programmes?

We own the BBC, and we should point it out when the BBC gets it wrong. And if they don’t listen we can always deploy Ian Levine and his smashed-up telly.

My complaint


An intrusive cartoon trail for that Graham Norton show showed over the most important bit of the climax of this Doctor Who episode.

Ignoring the fact that it was tonally completely jarring and took the viewer totally out of the moment, it seems totally unnecessary as you insist on squashing more trails and voiceovers into the credit of the programme.

I’m a big supporter of the BBC, but it’s not a commercial entity so I don’t understand the necessity to ape the worst aspects of commercial channels.

Please stop sabotaging your own programmes like this.

BBC response


The ‘Over the Rainbow’ trail in ‘Doctor Who’ should not have played out on Saturday and we apologise to all ‘Doctor Who’ fans whose enjoyment of the show was disrupted. We recognise the strength of feeling that has been expressed and are taking steps to ensure that this mistake will not happen again.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

New Series

BBC idiotically sabotages its flagship show

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.

BBC ruins Doctor Who