Weekend News Update

Peter Fincham, new controller of BBC1, has been in the limelight this weekend. At the International TV Festival in Edinburgh, BBC1 was named Channel of the Year – thanks in no small part to Doctor Who, according to Digital Spy:

BBC One scooped the top honour after a year of success with format revivals, including Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing. “To me it confirms what a strong state the channel I’ve inherited is in,” said new channel controller Peter Fincham, before inviting his predecessor – Lorraine Heggessey – up on stage to take the credit.

“I had an absolute ball running BBC One and I consider myself extremely lucky to have run the channel for five years,” she said. “What we tried to show is that pubic service broadcasting could remain a strong force in the digital age.”

And in Monday’sIndependent (purchase of the article is required should you wish to view it after the date of publication), Fincham is interviewed in-depth. Again, mention is made of Doctor Who, which he seems very happy to be inheriting:

Here step forward programmes such as the recent Doctor Who series, which brought family viewing into the Fincham household where there are four children aged from eight to one.

“It was a bit lost on the one-year-old but not on the other three, who are fanatical fans of Doctor Who and, echoing myself 40 years later, have been running round the house saying, ‘exterminate, exterminate’, which I loved,” says Fincham.

Before Doctor Who, people were saying that family viewing was dead and that people will increasingly watch alone in their bedrooms. “It’s a perfect example of what television is full of – the false prognosis. This genre is dead. This way of viewing is dead. In five years, television will be piped through radiators and we will all watch it. The reality is that the way we watch television is changing hugely but the appetites, the tastes the audience have, in many ways don’t change although they have to be reinterpreted,” he says.

Finally, quick off the mark following the decision to bring DV Doctor Who content to mobile phones and palmtops, and no doubt in the wake of the Rose leak, The Guardian reports that BBC shows are also being prepared for Internet transmission. Jana Bennett, the BBC’s director of television, suggests World Wide Web simulcasts of BBC1 and BBC2 shows as well as an interactive programme suggestion system such as that used on Amazon.com:

“The wake-up call was also the much anticipated Doctor Who arriving on people’s screens over the internet via a leaked DVD from Canada.”

The new sketch show Titty Titty Bang Bang, plus Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, and the Johnny Vegas comedy Ideal, will all be made available over the internet before being shown on television. Clips will also be made available on mobile phones.

Where will it all end? No doubt either the total and utter destruction of the human race either through war, famine and pestilence, or via a Cyberman-inspired evolution which will enable us to download content directly into our brains.

Cybermen enjoying episodes of Doctor Who, eh? What a bizarre concept…


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