(So, the story so far: Doctor Who fans concerned about the lack of an announcement concerning the commissioning of Series 7 were dismayed to find an article in Private Eye revealing that the broadcast of the next run would be delayed. BBC personnel moved to dispel talk of cancellation by confirming that Series 7 had been commissioned, but omitted to mention the likely scheduling, and made their announcements via Twitter rather than an official BBC Press Release.

Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has been going steadily greyer and more incomprehensible, fending off messages on Twitter using the copy/paste function on his laptop.)

Now you’re up to speed: the saga rumbles on today, with the BBC News site publishing details (two days later) of BBC One Controller Danny Cohen’s Q&A sessions at the Church and Media conference, where we first heard that the 2012 episode might be delayed/pushed back in some way.

The following is presumably supposed to be the BBC’s polished response to rumours that started after the event on Tuesday. However it features a few contentious points that have caused showrunner Steven Moffat to response on Twitter (see below).

According to the BBC, in an article titled “Sherlock’s success means less Doctor Who in 2012” Cohen said that “not all of the commissioned stories would be transmitted in 2012.”

“There will be some episodes, but there won’t be a full series, so we won’t have a 13-part run.”

Also, when questioned about the number of episodes that would be aired in 2012, given Moffat’s involvement with Sherlock, Danny Cohen responsed:

“He [Moffat] needs enough time to get that done and then start work on the next series of Doctor Who. So there will be [Doctor Who] episodes, but not as many.”

“There’s only so many hours a day he can be awake. The man has to sleep and eat, and he’s got a family.”

“Steven Moffat is the creative driving force behind Doctor Who. He also, rather magically at the same time, created and got to air Sherlock. So we have to get that balance right.”

“There’ll be more episodes again in 2013, for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. So that’s a big year.”

But to top it all off, Steven Moffat responded to suggestions of a conflict of interest between Sherlock and Doctor Who, stating on Twitter:

The scheduling of Dr Who has got NOTHING to with Sherlock. On the plus side THE BBC SPELLED MY NAME RIGHT!!!!

So why the :facepalm:?

As we’ve been stating on this site for several weeks now, all this needed was the BBC to let fans and interested parties know that there would be a break, and the issue could have been put to bed and we could have moved on. Instead it has been allowed to drag on in the most embarrassing and shoddy manner.

Whether true or not, the BBC could have attributed the delay to the Olympics, or the new studio complex in South Wales, but instead nothing like this has been forthcoming. The BBC One Controller has said one thing, the showrunner has indicated that this is inaccurate.

It has got messy, but not only that, this is one of the most inept displays of public relations from the BBC in a long time.


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