Doctor Who Confidential: cancelled

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Science Fiction Doctor Who Spinoff Series Doctor Who Confidential: cancelled

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    This really doesn’t have much of an effect on American viewers, since we never officially got to see this behind-the-scenes series accompanying each episode anyway, but Doctor Who Confidential ends with the episode accompanying this year’s Doctor Who season finale (that means next week). No more after that, unless the folks behind it convene to do anything strictly as DVD extras.

    The reason given is a reallocation of priorities and money on BBC3, which aired the series immediately after Doctor Who itself. Like everyone else, the BBC is on a budget crunch.

    This is disappointing; DWC was never afraid to relate stuff back to the original series, and must’ve been educational for younger viewers who knew nothing of the show’s history.

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    Most of my Dr. Who viewing is via NetFlix streaming so none of the Dr Who Confidential was available. However, I did see Dr. Who confidential when I watched the DVD of “Planet of the Dead” recently. Good stuff. I hate to see it go away.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Wow, what happened to all the Doctor Who spin-offs? Torchwood is unlikely to return, Sarah Jane Adventures is definitively over (not due to the network, though) and now Confidential is getting the axe. Now I’m curious what the show’s ratings were like. It must have been dirt cheap to make, considering there’s no production expenses other than a guy with a camera interviewing people between takes. At some point in time I hope they will decide to introduce a new series or two set in the same universe. Who wouldn’t love to watch a U.N.I.T. series?


    Even Big Finish’s attempt at a UNIT audio series only lasted one “season” of four releases, so I’m not even sure that spinoff has legs.

    We know that Who will be around through its 50th anniversary season… but with all the stuff you’ve just noticed falling by the wayside, maybe it’s time to concentrate on making the next couple of seasons really good so we have a shot at watching Doctor Who beyond that. Yes, it’s insanely popular and they’d be mad to ditch it, but in the new, budget-conscious ethos of the BBC, it’s also insanely expensive.

    Unless, of course, the thinking of the 1990s has been reversed and everyone would suddenly be okay with making it in the U.S. for a healthy chunk of each season, sort of like how the Highlander TV series used to schizophrenically dash back and forth between Vancouver and Paris with little explanation.


    Steven Moffat speaks out about the Confidential cancellation in the latest Doctor Who Magazine:

    @Steven Moffat wrote:

    It seems hard to grasp. All shows have their time, and all shows end, but not, in all sanity, while people still watch and love them, and going by the numbers and the outcry, this show was watched and loved everywhere. I’m not supposed to say it, but I’m going to anyway: bad day, bad decision. I know these are strained times. I know we’re all at sea and the night is colder – but you don’t start burning the lifeboats to keep warm. Or to put it another way, you might want to think about the future if you’re planning to live there.


    Wow. Granted, it’s the Sun, but they’ve scooped the rest of the world on quite a few Who-related stories. [LINK]

    Doctor Who’s Christmas Confidential canned
    BBC bosses waste £50k scrapping show

    Top brass canned the BBC3 spin-off series — which showed behind-the-scenes footage, clips and interviews — in September. But writing in the new edition of Doctor Who magazine, series producer Gillane Seaborne claimed a Christmas edition had already been made. She said: “The biggest regret is the episode of Confidential we’ve filmed for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special which now won’t be shown. So I guess in the fine traditions of Doctor Who, we now have our very own missing episode.”

    Industry experts put the cost of an episode of the show, which was presented by Alastair Sooke, at around £50,000 but “possibly more”.

    So… let me see if I’ve got this right. The Sun is saying that the BBC just spent blew a heap of money on something that might see the light of day as a DVD extra (something that’s usually bankrolled by the for-profit publisher of the DVDs)?

    Tom Baker and his action figure think that’s ridiculous.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Do you have any idea how dirt cheap £50,000 is for a TV show that will pull in millions of viewers? This makes me think that an executive at the BBC really wanted the show killed off. To be able to spend so little for a program that would bring in heaps of money in advertising fees is the goal of pretty much any network here in the US. Consider that back in the ’80s, Star Trek: TNG cost something like a million and a half dollars per episode. And here’s a show that’s following an expensive sci-fi program that’s getting a whole lot of that show’s ratings, but costs about the price of the catering bill of the show it’s following. If they film a documentary, do they even have to pay the people appearing onscreen? Or just acknowledge them in the credits? Which in that case would make it cheaper than any reality series on the air. No actors, no sets, just grab a spare camera and roll. Maybe the BBC thought it was cutting into DVD sales, since there’s plenty of people (like me) who buy DVDs more for the extras than the program themselves.


    The actors are already being paid for Doctor Who, and Confidential… well… just happens to keep showing up on set and on location. So you’re right, it’s a drop in the bucket. There are probably single effects shots that cost 50,000 pounds.

    The BBC has now responded, saying that there was never a Christmas episode of Confidential. I guess those folks just showed up and filming documentary footage out of sheer habit.


    Oh… it’s because it wasn’t reeling in the young’uns. [LINK]

    We know we weren’t alone in wishing that The Fades’ recent BAFTA win would reopen a window for the show’s possible renewal, but according to BBC Three controller Zai Bennett, it’s not to be.

    The reason? In addition to the 15% pro rata cuts to the channel’s budget, it’s a question of viewer age.

    Speaking at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Bennett explained that his vision for BBC Three is as a home for new talent appealing to 16-34 year olds. The Fades, though popular with an older audience, failed to impress the coveted Young Adult demographic, and so it had to go.

    Pre-watershed content, drama, and sensationalistic factual programming have been phased out on BBC Three, and the search for an identity as a home of novel programming was part of the decision to axe Doctor Who Confidential. After six series, it was also felt that there were few new avenues for the making-of show to explore.

    Yeah… because young viewers don’t watch Doctor Who* and certainly wouldn’t have tuned in for Confidential anymore**.

    * Really?
    ** Really!??

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Oh for God’s sake. The 16-to-34 demographic are basically social retards who illegally download TV shows rather than waste time watching television when they could be Twittering and updating their Facebook page every few seconds. I know that advertisers try to aim to younger viewers because older viewers have already made up their minds on what products and brands they like. But in this day and age, brand loyalty doesn’t mean jack shit anymore, people just buy whatever’s on sale regardless of brand. That’s what happens in a crappy economy.

    There are other BBC channels they could have shifted the program to, they didn’t have to kill off a dirt-cheap program that got pretty good ratings because the network’s trying to attract the least intelligent demographic they can. I hate to be the one to tell them, but that 16-to-34 demographic isn’t all that great, and people over 34 will happily buy new products that they see on commercials… if that product is good, rather than a cheap piece of crap. Which, come to think of it, is why they don’t want to advertise to us. They can’t pawn off their cheaply made Chinese junk to us at premium prices, but young people won’t work it out that they’re being ripped off.


    Since the BBC doesn’t show advertising (at least in the UK), I’m not sure that angle really tracks – they’re not trying to advertise to anyone. They might as well, though, with the slavishly chasing after the Young Male Demographic. If they had even bothered to show Confidential on BBC America, the correlation might be more significant; as it is, it’s just a silly, short-sighted programming decision.

    And I hate to tell the broadcasters of the world, but the 16-34 male demographic is a bit too slick to fall for their outdated Madison Avenue playbook anyway. Some of them are too busy making their own neat little shows (see also: the Glitch thread) than bothering to watch anyone else’s. If anything, you’d think the Beeb would be chasing down the older demographic – the ones who are more likely to write their MPs and insist that the TV license fee be left right where it is. The younger generation, as you pointed out, has moved on to other media and can’t be bothered to worry about preserving TV as we presently know it.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Is there an outlet for DW Confidential in the US? Because I just watched an episode on my local PBS station. I didn’t think the show aired on this side of the pond.


    BBCA never bothered to show it to the best of my knowledge. Was it an older DWC episode accompanying an older DW episode? They may be bundling the two for sale to PBS stations: buy Doctor Who, get Doctor Who Confidential free! Take up nearly two hours on your schedule for the price of one!

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    No, it was the recent episode where we discover that River is Amy and Rory’s daughter. They talked about that a lot, and what was written on the Doctor’s baby bed.


    That’s still an older episode. I suppose last season’s been sold to PBS already now that BBCA has gotten their big ratings for premiering the episodes out of the way. Around the time Smith was starting as the Doctor, Oklahoma PBS was still showing the Tennant + Rose season.

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