There’s an article on the Metro website where Steven Moffat dropped a bombshell! At the Hay Literary Festival, he claimed the BBC thought Doctor Who ‘wouldn’t succeed at all’ without David Tennant. According to Moffat, it was Russell T. Davies who once again came to the shows rescue! ‘I think there were plans maybe to consider ending it. It was Russell T. Davies saying, “you are not allowed to end it”‘. So RTD not only brought the show back from the Wilderness, but may have also staved off cancellation. I find it unlikely that they seriously considered axing the show for a second time, but you never know…
I remember waiting 18 months for a new series of Doctor Who once as a kid. I didn’t mind that much, and although Trial of a Time Lord wasn’t a very good series, at least it was back to being on at the same time of year, every year. Even if internal BBC politics meant that I had grown taller than usual in between.
I was used to the usual 9 month waits between series, as a child they didn’t seem as interminable as they do now. Even the 7 years between Survival and the TV Movie, and the 9 between that and Rose didn’t bug me too much.
Perhaps that’s more to do with the times we live in. The world has become a far less patient place. Because these days I HATE waiting for more Doctor Who. I HATE that Easter moves every year and that the series seems arbitrarily pinned to a date that can be anything from the end of March to the end of April. Just pick a date and have done with it!
I started to slightly hate waiting for Doctor Who at the end of The Christmas Invasion. Ok, it was only a few months, but they went and showed a trailer for the new series, making it worse…..and there’s Easter off in the distance…….and it’s moved……
I dealt with the Easter thing (although, New Earth wasn’t a strong start, sorry Russell), and got on with the fallow periods where you knew the series wouldn’t be on. Until 2009, the year where Shakespearian commitments for David Tennant, and the slow handover between RTD and Moffat meant only 4 new episodes, with Planet of the Dead rushed out into the world at Easter, and a 7 month wait for The Waters of Mars, during which I, knowing full well that there was a whole new series of Who being made with a new Doctor, silently, internally screamed “Just ****ing PUT IT ON!” more times than I could have possibly anticipated.
Things seemed to go back to normal in the early Matt Smith era, I can honestly say that I didn’t mind the split series the first time round (apart from people at work asking me “Why have they split the series?? How long is it off for??”), but once Christmas 2011 was over, what felt like the longest wait began, the road to Asylum of the Daleks.
I grew and shaved off several quite bushy beards. I got into and out of a relationship. I began to externally scream “Just ****ing PUT IT ON!” at my housemate (who has nothing to do with the black arts of BBC scheduling or the Doctor Who production office, but was very understanding). Nine whole months. No Doctor Who. And I couldn’t see why, until last year.
Basically, Steven Moffat, right from the outset of taking over as showrunner, had the date of the 50th anniversary in front of him, immovably set in stone, hence the transmission creep from series 6 onwards. His plans for Matt Smith’s Doctor were set up to end in a particular way, topping off the craziness of the anniversary year.
I got it, during the surprisingly painless wait between The Snowmen and The Bells of St. John. I realised then, that whatever happened during the year would happen when it happened. The War Doctor rocked up, and I was more than happy to wait 6 months to see what the deal with him was. The anniversary has been the whole reason for the last few years of shuffling transmission.
Now, there’s no milestone to meet, no need to mess around with the transmission pattern. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes his debut this year in a full, uninterrupted series at….
It’s not on until Autumn this year.
Oh well, maybe we’ll get Marco Polo at Easter instead.