Please note that this article is now out of date: Doctor Who Series 7 has been commissioned!
Over the weekend we brought you the news – from Matt Smith’s own lips – that he was off to LA to look for work. This came in addition to rumours and suggestions that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were also auditioning for new roles, which lead us to the conclusion that Something Is Up at BBC Wales.
And despite some of the more bizarre “ostrich” comments both here and on Twitter we’re pretty sure that the BBC isn’t being straight with Doctor Who fans concerning the timing, scheduling or even commissioning of Series 7.
Our suspicions have been further aroused by an interesting story in the latest issue of Private Eye (dated June 10th, available from your local newsagent or supermarket or via www.private-eye.co.uk) which details the departure of Piers Wenger to Film4, blames the Series 6 split on poor budget control and scheduling, indicates concerns over the likelihood of the second set of episodes from the 2011 run being ready in time for a Christmas DVD release (something that you may already have heard)and even goes so far as to claim that producers Tracie Simpson and Peter Bennett refused to return to the show after being dismissed, something which may or may not be related to their working relationship with Piers Wenger and Beth Willis.
You will need to buy the new edition of the magazine this week to get the full story, but the following ties in with what we’ve already suspected (and been “informed” by other sources…):
Programme chiefs in London were horrified to learn recently that BBC Wales is proposing not to make a full series of Doctor Who in 2012, but instead to put the programme on hiatus and merely bash out four “specials” as it did in 2009. Which will leave an enormous hole in the BBC1 Saturday night schedule and a bigger one in the profits of BBC Worldwide, and will mean the corporation will be paying lead actor Matt Smith to spend most of the rest of this year doing nothing.
Now let’s just put all of this into perspective. Private Eye isn’t exactly famous for its fandom of Doctor Who. They’re a satirical/investigative journalism periodical that has been a thorn in the side of the British Establishment for years, and rightly so; long may they continue.
Private Eye has no real interest in whether Doctor Who is continuing or not, and any claims of pro or anti-BBC bias can be roundly dismissed as their editor, Ian Hislop, is a star of Have I Got News For You and makes various documentaries for the broadcaster.
The situation, therefore, is this: the BBC needs to come clean, sort out the questions over Matt Smith’s future and stop keeping us in the dark about the issues raised by Private Eye.
(With thanks to Michael and Strobes)
Announcement Update (Or Lack of…)
Premier PR have just told me that the BBC are not planning on making any announcement regarding this matter. Premier PR deal with the majority of Doctor Who PR from DVD releases, Doctor Who: The Adventure Games and other games to the show in the media, so…
It looks as though anything concerning this story is going to be left up in the air for the time being. This isn’t a complete surprise and it will likely remain this way until either the BBC make an official announcement in their own time or have their hand forced 2005/2007 style and the story is jumped on by the press.
Either way, Doctor Who fans need their minds putting at rest.
The BBC finally came clean this evening and announced via Twitter that Doctor Who Series 7 has been commissioned.