BBC no longer interested in the type of audience Hyperdrive used to attract

OH NO, WHAT A SHAME. Kevin Cecil, posting on the Camden Lock forums, has confirmed that the BBC have turned down a third series of the pitiful Hyperdrive. To quote:

Sorry everyone but there won’t be a third series of Hyperdrive.

The BBC said that they really liked it and that we should be very proud of it but not enough people watched it to warrant making more.

We’d like to thank everyone on this board for their support of the show. We’re very pleased that we got to make two series. We really enjoyed doing it.

Sorry.

Kevin (aka Robot)

I’m sure not many people here will be too sad to see it go. In fact, only one person will be sad to see it go, and that’s the person who runs Camden Lock. But maybe, just maybe, this frees up a space in the schedules for a “half-hour sci-fi sit-com” slot?

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32 Responses to BBC no longer interested in the type of audience Hyperdrive used to attract

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  1. I am lol’ing as I read this.

  2. No more Hyperdrive?

    What will I do for Sci-Fi comedy now? I might have to try that Red Dwarf thing I keep hearing about.

  3. I might have to try trimming my pubes with some garden shears while wearing a space helmet.

  4. GLEEEEE!

    Am I the ONLY one who genuinley thinks something good is happening?

  5. And now the good news…
    They’ve bought StarHyke….

  6. Actually, it makes the recent DJ statement even more significant…

    Given that they have cancelled Hyperdrive on the basis of poor viewing figures it takes away one option of how they saw Dwarf’s audiance.

    Clearly the kind of audiance they were no longer interested in wasn’t volume…..

    It’s now between, the audiance ‘then’ are now long gone or senile or perhaps we smell of cabage and have converted to Last of The Summer Wine!

  7. Scifi-comedy has been dying a slow death now for a fair few years. The failure to secure funding for the RD movie, the rejected proposal for Series IX, the rather unimpressive H2G2 movie and now the cancellation of Hyperdrive, a show that honestly shouldn’t have been commissioned in the first place…

    It seems the only place you can find scifi-comedy now is online, in webcomics and the like. I will resist the urge to plug my own comic here, but things like Starslip Crisis and Good Ship Chronicles have been filling the Scifi-comedy void for me as of late.

  8. *Relocate your business to Peterborough* Eh!

  9. Actually this kind of casts ‘that remark’ in a fresh light. Whoever said it may well have been aware that Hyperdrive wasn’t getting renewed. They could well have seen Hyperdrive’s audience as being Dwarf’s old audience. Ergo Hypderdrive has done even more damage than we first imagined.

  10. … and there goes “but but but… you *are* doing Hyperdrive!” …

  11. ‘Give him another series you swine!’
    ‘Yeah, give me another series you goit!’

    Let’s just concentrate on getting Dwarf back. Hyperdrive has had its day. Red Dwarf hasn’t.

  12. Maybe they are keen to pursue other projects…or maybe they are needing that slot for ‘To the Manor Born’.
    I don’t really get why they are bringing that back because the ending of that programme was great for the ending…I would have thought it would be great to have a few specials with it after they got married, but that’s it.

  13. Yes, it did cross my mind that the BBC may view Sci-Fi comedy as being a dead duck rather than just Dwarf when I read this….

    Having said that, there are so many other factors to look at with other style shows to dismiss a whole ‘genre’ on the basis of one ‘relative’ miss…

    I’m sure if you look at the ratings of some non-comedy Sci-Fi shows prior to Dr Who using the same principle, some could argue that Sci-Fi itself had a declining interest. Surely quality should be the major issue and Dr Who speaks for itself.

    God only knows what thoughts the BBC have going through their collective minds, but the axing of Hyperdrive could be percieved either way I guess, good or bad…

  14. But Hyperdrive was shit, that’s the difference. If it was a great sci-fi comedy show with good ratings and the BBC didn’t give it a 3rd series just because they don’t want to make that kind of show anymore I would be REALLY pissed off.

    Look at Who, I have a strong feeling the axe will fall after series 5 (5 is confirmed, although RTD and Tennant are likely to be out of the picture). With all the BULLSHIT at the BBC I can see them axing it to save money as soon as they can (i.e. as soon as the ratings drop when the new showrunner fucks up on series 5 and people don’t take to Tennant’s successor…..god I’m such a NEGATIVE IDIOT_) Anyway, when Who does eventually get axed they will give a similar bollocks reason like ‘we don’t see the audience for this show anymore’.

  15. > I have a strong feeling the axe will fall after series 5

    I have been thinking the same.

  16. G&T Admin

    If Who is axed after Series 5, then I’ll eat my genitals.

    Quote me on this in 2009/10, when it gets commissioned.

  17. Have you seen how many fucking Who toys there are out there? Like, just action figures alone? That’s saying nothing of the REST of the merchandise, the DVD sales, the constant press coverage… Who is not going anywhere. Anyone who thinks it’ll die out simply because of RTD leaving (which is, by the way, by no means a given ANYWAY) is a fool. The brand is bigger than him, it’s bigger than Tennant, and in these unstable-for-the-BBC times it’s about the ONE thing they can rely on. They won’t can it after five, and like John, if that happens I will eat my genitals as well.

  18. I totally expect the numbers to fall when a new Doctor is cast and/or a new showrunner takes over. I expect some responses to use ‘different’ and ‘worse’ interchangably. I expect the Beeb to panic a bit, to shuffle the schedule, to spend more on promotion to compensate.

    What I don’t expect is cancellation. A limping behemoth is still a big fucking animal.

    It’s very similar to the Bond series. After the Connery peak, anything can look like ‘failure’, but the franchise goes on. You just have to ride the bumps…which is easy when even the ‘off’ periods are still getting good numbers compared to the competition.

  19. > But Hyperdrive was shit, that?s the difference. If it was a great sci-fi comedy show with good ratings and the BBC didn?t give it a 3rd series just because they don?t want to make that kind of show anymore I would be REALLY pissed off.

    The news on the official site that Doug hasn’t contacted the BBC since 2004 make this debate rather moot now I guess.

  20. Sigh. While I’m glad I won’t have to endure the possibility of more Hyperdrive, I can almost see this as another nail in the coffin of Red Dwarf.

    “Oh, we can’t make more sci-fi sitcom, we tried with Hyperdrive and not enough people were watching, so that’s proof that nobody wants to watch that sort of thing”.

    Or they deliberately canned Hyperdrive to silence all the cries of “Well if you’re making this you have an audience for Red Dwarf so make more you bastards!”

    Sacrificing yourself to prevent more Hyperdrive IS a noble thing to do mind you, but still…

  21. > Sigh. While I?m glad I won?t have to endure the possibility of more Hyperdrive, I can almost see this as another nail in the coffin of Red Dwarf.

    ?Oh, we can?t make more sci-fi sitcom, we tried with Hyperdrive and not enough people were watching, so that?s proof that nobody wants to watch that sort of thing?.

    Or they deliberately canned Hyperdrive to silence all the cries of ?Well if you?re making this you have an audience for Red Dwarf so make more you bastards!?

    Sacrificing yourself to prevent more Hyperdrive IS a noble thing to do mind you, but still?

    Huh?

  22. Sacrificing Red Dwarf to prevent more Hyperdrive?

    No?

    Oh, well. It seemed amusing when I wrote it. It’s Friday. I’ve had a long week.

  23. That Camden Lock website is a cracker.

  24. Are you going to write to Points of View, si?

  25. Regarding Who, just because there’s loads of merchandise and its really popular with the general audience NOW doesn’t mean they will keep producing a huge-budget (for the BBC) series if its quality and/or popularity drops. The casting of the next Doctor is so damn crucial it’s unreal. They could get away with replacing Eccleston with Tennant because the show was still so fresh and series 1 was brilliant. People weren’t going to stop watching because Eccleston left, there was still so much to get out of the show (and also Billie staying was a big plus point)

    When Tennant leaves there might be a lot of people (not people like myself who would watch any Who regardless, I’m talking about the general public – don’t you just hate them…?) who decide ‘d’you know what, I don’t like this new guy or the new assistant, I don’t think I’ll bother with it this Saturday’. The show will be 4 series’ and 3 specials old when Tennant leaves, with him only missing out on the first of those series’. RTD, of course, has been there through it all and is penning the specials.

    Tennant and RTD ARE the series. OK, Who actors and producers have changed over the years, but this time it’s so much different. Who will not be allowed to slip into mediocrity like it was during the classic series. You just know that the BBC would have no qualms in dropping it like a stone if it showed even premature signs of wear.

    I don’t want it to be axed. I want a great new showrunner (who hopefully keeps some of the current writers, although Moffat is almost certainly going to miss series 5 and beyond due to him being hired to write the upcoming CGI trilogy of The Adventures of Tintin in collaboration with Spielberg and Jackson), a fantastic new Doctor (not James Nesbitt, for the love of all that is good and holy in this world) and for all the faithful viewers to stick with it through what could be a temporarily trying time.

  26. > Regarding Who, just because there?s loads of merchandise and its really popular with the general audience NOW doesn?t mean they will keep producing a huge-budget (for the BBC) series if its quality and/or popularity drops.

    And while that’s certainly true, Who is too big to be dropped quickly.

    Once the Beeb have spent a lot of time, and kudos, on a first series, they will throw more money after a second chance. Robin Hood, Chalk and Hyperdrive are all examples of shows where the anticipated audience was such that they chased it a second time, even after it failed to show up.

    This is, of course, contrary to the ‘won’t give a show a chance’ myth. Only, not really, cos it only applies to the ‘hey, look at me’ shows. Remember how Chalk was going to be the new Fawlty Towers? Robin Hood the new Who? Hyperdrive the new…well, you get the idea. (Low-expectation shows can still be canned in a blink. Which is ironic, since they’re the ones that could really benefit from a second chance – the quirky, under-produced things that find their feet in accidents and mistakes.)

  27. G&T Admin

    I really hope Chalk gets a DVD release. I loved it. And a Moffatt commentary would be fantastic – I’d love to know how he felt about the episodes these days.

    If Moffatt takes over Who it might suddenly get a lot more likely. After all, Dark Season and Century Falls got a release after RTD took over Who

  28. There is no chance in the next 5 years that Doctor Who will get dropped.

    Its bright, colourful, loud, quiet, hilarious, sad.. etc. It is all things to many different people and brings in the audiences (not neccesarily ratings) that other programs, executives, advertisers would kill for. There is nothing else like it and never will be.

    I also think people are missing the point about its future, a new Doctor is always event television and a new producer may well come on board at some point, but do you honestly think RTD will stop writing Doctor Who stories? Of course not, he’ll be like Mr Moffatt and do one a year I expect.

    As stated in Media Guardian by RTD this past week, Doctor Who is setup to go many years, with small gap years along the way. Whilst its looked after and invested in, it will come back time and time again.

    Also Doctor Who costs less per hour of drama to make than Spooks, Waking the Dead and other high profile drama series. Considering the money it brings into the BBC, there is no way they will let it sink without trace. It is far too important in an age of a leaner BBC

  29. Andrew:
    It?s very similar to the Bond series. After the Connery peak, anything can look like ?failure?, but the franchise goes on. You just have to ride the bumps?which is easy when even the ?off? periods are still getting good numbers compared to the competition.

    And then you reach a point where – because of how cash-strapped the parent company is – “good numbers” aren’t enough to be the Return On Investment the company critically needs, and it gets dropped for an extended time…

  30. > There is nothing else like it and never will be.

    Pah. It’s good, but there’s stuff like it for every generation. New Who borrows heavily from Buffy, which was also “bright, colourful, loud, quiet, hilarious, sad”. There have plenty more that did this kind of job throughout the history of TV (well, okay, colouful wasn’t big before the late 60s…), and there will be plenty more.

    > I also think people are missing the point about its future, a new Doctor is always event television

    It is right now, but so was The X-Files. Does that mean popularity can’t tail off? Did you miss how Who got canned in 1989?! How it hadn’t been event TV for years before that happened? Event TV is dictated by the age, and it never, ever stands still for long.

    > As stated in Media Guardian by RTD this past week, Doctor Who is setup to go many years, with small gap years along the way.

    Again I say ‘pah’. Davies is a splendid writer, a great producer, and seems to be a hell of a decent guy. But he will, quite happily, say anything at all to the press about Who if it’s in the best interests of the franchise. It doesn’t have to be true, as we’ve repeatedly seen. He’ll stick so long as he wants, then he’ll go. Could be about budget, about his own fees, about scheduling, creative control, or even just a decision to move on, but he will eventually go and have to be replaced.

    > Considering the money it brings into the BBC, there is no way they will let it sink without trace.

    Again I say: that’s a very short-term view, and kinda misses how Who vanished for over a decade. Like John said, it’s all about the return. Nobody’s suggested the Beeb would let it sink without trace – but many a good show has been ruined, and ultimately died, thanks to people trying to save it in the wrong ways.

    And if Robin Hood is anything to go by, the first way to deal with falling ratings is more explosions and bigger cleavage.

  31. —> It is right now, but so was The X-Files. Does that mean popularity can?t tail off? Did you miss how Who got canned in 1989?! How it hadn?t been event TV for years before that happened? Event TV is dictated by the age, and it never, ever stands still for long.

    I’ve been a Doctor Who fan all my life and it is has remained incredibly important to me, I was 9 when it went off the air, but stuck with it ever since. I agree Event TV may be dictated by the age it airs, however if you look into the details of Doctor Who, it only really suffered a ratings crash when McCoy was put up against Coronation Street, both Davison and Colin Baker actually had good comparable ratings for its time. Poor ratings was used as an excuse amongst many, but if you buy the Survival DVD you hear a first hand account from everyone on what really happened. I think its fair to say the BBC couldn’t be arsed with it after 26 years and had no way of investing in it the way big American shows could be. If it had remained invested in, it would never have gone off air.

    I know Davies will move on, he has to, but when he does one would expect the BBC to have someone ready to take over as its an important franchise they would not want to be tarnished or broken easily.

    Also with regard to the money it brings in, for many many years it was a brand that regularly sold enormously well, in terms of TV sales or videos etc. However that only died away when there was no new product to release. A big surge occurred in 1996 when the McGann movie came out, and died away when again when no new series emerged. It has always been a winner in the UK, despite what people might think.

    Obviously a lot of people are not as passionate about Doctor Who as I, and indeed I am not blind to its faults. I would be far better debating this to your face than in writing! However when you look at how the program is being treated today, I think you are making a mistake by implying it will go the way of other shows. Year on Year it is increasing its audience share. In a world of digital televsion no other show can claim that. Neither can any other show claim to know it will be on in 2010, that scale of commitment is rarely seen.

  32. I think fandom may be blinding you to some realities but I take your points Still, I never suggested the Beeb would just ‘let’ a downfall happen, in fact I said quite the opposite AND refuted it subsequently.

    What I object to, just in terms of a realistic view, is words like “no chance”, “never will be” “always”. Increasing an audience share is great, but it won’t continue indefinitely. Hell, the channel’s ‘support’ is already seeing the budget dropped year on year.

    And it’s inconsistent to say that the show died over a small couple of year period in the late 80s, then say this certainly can’t won’t happen again. It’s inconsistent to say the show was always a moneymaker, even in its low period, and that that will always drive production, when that demonstrably didn’t happen in the late 80s.

    Whatever factors you believe befell the show before, they – or others – can happen again. Audiences do tire, and do take against things they used to like…as well as changes of tone.

    Say Moffat takes over. Should be great – but he may be lousy as a showrunner, we don’t know. So say that series suffers when combined with new Doctor casting that doesn’t quite work for people, and ratings fall off. There’s a shuffle at the top, execs start to worry about toy sales, and Tony Jordan is handed the job – because people at the top consider him a safe pair of hands.

    Tony wisely decides to ignore his soap background, watches every back episode he can, and tries to make the show about fascinating science, morality, about other worlds, beings and cultures. The budget stretches stupidly thin, production values drop (not helped by the budget being reduced for the sixth series on the trot), and people find the tone smug and distancing. The drop-off continues, not helped by the fact that they stuck by lead casting that didn’t work for the public…

    You see what I mean? All good intentions, and seemingly-smart decisions. Nobody ‘letting’ anything happen. But you can’t force serendipity in perpetuity. Luck runs out.

    I don’t hope for such an outcome – and I agree, it’ll take several failures to kill Who again, rather than the one or two most shows get – but it’s not invulnerable, not within 5 years.

    Still, I stick by what I said first: “What I don?t expect is cancellation. A limping behemoth is still a big fucking animal.”

    (Plus, hey, my favourite hypothetical: the Beeb go for the well-known ‘Connery fix’ – they pay a popular Who actor to reprise the role, give him the writer he wants to run things. But it’s on a one-series only promise. Fascinating times they could be.)

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