Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Doctor Who – End of Time Broadcast Discussion

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  • #107719
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > It?s got to be highly unlikely the show will end for good after 13 regenerations right? How are they going to explain that one away?

    I expect to be corrected on this one, but I read something recently whereby someone asked Moffat about ’13 regenerations’ and he dismissed it as a line, once mentioned in the show in 1976 (or similar).

    I like the idea the they all get given 13 as a kinda of probabationy period and only the really, really shit Timelords fail to make it past that.

    Also meant to mention this before but when Rassilon first used his magic glove was anyone else desperate for the old backfiring time-gaunlet trick to put in an appearance?

    #107720
    Andrew
    Participant

    I was actually thinking about Torchwood’s ‘Risen Mitten’…

    #107721
    Dessie
    Participant

    >Also meant to mention this before but when Rassilon first used his magic glove was anyone else desperate for the old backfiring time-gaunlet trick to put in an appearance?

    I thought something like that would end up killing him off. I was a bit gutted when it didn’t happen.

    #107726
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I expect to be corrected on this one, but I read something recently whereby someone asked Moffat about ?13 regenerations? and he dismissed it as a line, once mentioned in the show in 1976 (or similar).

    I think it was referred to in the McGann film too. I.e. the Master wants the Doctor’s body because he has used up all his regenerations. (Mind you The Doctor was nearing the end of his even then if you think about it, but a few is better than none.) That being said, it’s uncertain how much of the McGann film events are considered to be in continuity. That incarnation of the doctor certainly happened as it’s referenced in the series, but the minutia… I’m not so sure. (He also describes himself as being half human in that film and that’s never been mentioned at all before (as far as I know) or after. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t true of course…)

    I’ve read a fan theory (come to think of it, I think it was one of you guys on this site or the main Red Dwarf forum) that the 13 regenerations rule might have been something established by the Time Lords rather than something intrinsic to their species. A way to issue some kind of ‘mortality control’ on their own people, I suppose. I.e. now they’re gone (more or less.) time lord regenerations are indefinite. If we don’t want to discount previous continuity, that theory works for me.

    #107765
    Dessie
    Participant

    I like the idea that after 13 regeneration’s the council decide if you get to keep going.

    #107773
    pfm
    Participant

    The show will likely be over before we get chance to see the 13th Doctor so this won’t even be an issue. I think we’ll be very lucky to get to series 8 tbh, extremely fortunate to make it to series 10 and beyond where it’s most likely the 13 regenerations issue would be brought up (say Matt does series’ 5-8, 12th Doctor for series’ 9-10).

    It’s interesting that RTD mentions in the commentary that he fought to keep Doctor Who the top of the BBC’s agenda every week it was on air. If the average viewership drops for series 5 you’ve got to wonder. Would they accept 5 million?

    #107790
    Carlito
    Participant

    I reckon so. Surely it has more value to the BBC than simply getting big ratings in the UK of a Saturday night? I’m no expert on Who but I’d imagine it has great international value, does well on DVD and makes BBC and Worldiwde a ton of merchandising moolah too.

    Plus, 5 million viewers isn’t to be sniffed at nowadays. They’d have to seriously plummet for cancellation to be on the horizon. Worst that could happen while it’s still a healthy or reasonably healthy ratings draw would be a budget decrease.

    #107793
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Who are you calling Plot holes?

    Don’t worry Karl – I thought it was funny.

    (EDIT: Hmm replying to the bottom of page one like it just happened. I AM CLEVER.)

    #107794
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Worst that could happen while it?s still a healthy or reasonably healthy ratings draw would be a budget decrease.

    Is that 1989? Hey, hi – Carl says don’t worry, it’s all going to be fine.

    #107796
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > Don?t worry Karl – I thought it was funny.

    *Doffs cap*

    #107797
    Carlito
    Participant

    > Is that 1989? Hey, hi – Carl says don?t worry, it?s all going to be fine.

    Is that 1989? Hey, hi – don’t worry about future planning, the TV landscape will be exactly the same in 21 years time, and no mistake.

    #107799
    Andrew
    Participant

    Thing is, the budget decrease being described has a potentially huge knock-on effect.

    A proper ‘well, your numbers are down’ money cut will affect the quality of the show (not to mention the quality of its costly promotion and publicity, not least because the writers, actors and effects the show can afford become less awesome. Affect the quality of the show and yes, you risk an even greater ratings dip. Because production value DOES pull people in, and absolutely gets seen as an indication of quality by wider audiences. And then there’s a harsher budget cut…and around we go.

    It may not be the same landscape – and I’ve no interest in doomsaying right now, without a single episode broadcast of a series I full expect to adore – but the basic economics remain absolutely the same. The comparison to the previous trap Who fell into is valid: it happens to shows now just as it did then.

    #107800
    Carlito
    Participant

    Yeah but this strictly hypothetical budget decrease wouldn’t have to be the death knell of the show; it is possible to create intelligent character and situation driven stories without stupidly expensive CGI or paying through the nose for unneccessary high profile guest stars etc. At some point you can allow a show to stand on its own two feet and ride the wave of its own acquired brand recognition and reputation; put it into cruise control for a little while, and save a few quid.

    Then inject some cash every so often just to give it that little boost, like filling a hot air balloon… at some point you stop releasing the gas and simply let it float, then hit the gas again when it starts to sink. Nowt wrong with that.

    #107801
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Like a balloon and… something bad happens!

    #107802
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > to create intelligent character and situation driven stories without stupidly expensive CGI or paying through the nose for unneccessary high profile guest stars etc.

    I’m guessing the point Andrew’s making is that those things are the sort of things that hit home with a general audience rather than your hardcore fanbase. Despite Tennant’s comments in Confidential I’m sure they could have found someone out there more than capable of delivery Timothy Dalton’s lines, but the column inches gleaned by being able to hype an appearance by someone like that and that buzz-factor that comes from people going “Hey it’s that guy from…”. It’s the Hollywood syndrome I guess.

    #107804
    steven87gill
    Participant

    For me Doc 10’s last words were a pretty poor choice for helping us to ”let go” of the character.

    #107805
    Carlito
    Participant

    Well, I dunno… as I’ve said enough times, I’m no avid follower of Who, so I guess I fall into the casual category… and being in the casual category, I was fully aware that this was Tennant’s final episode.

    However, I had absolutely no idea Timothy Dalton was going to be in it until I watched it. Maybe it just flew under my radar (although I do spent an inordinate amount of time on showbizzy/media-type websites). However my decision to catch it was more because of the reputation of the show and the hyperbole surrounding the outgoing actor rather than any guest stars / returning Time Lords / John Simm (although he’s always brilliant) / storyline elements.

    To a casual or first time viewer, the stories and guest/peripheral characters aren’t the draw – if anything they are pretty much meaningless to the uninitiated. It’s the hype and the reputation and the promise, and the trailers and the speculation… all things that can be achieved without spending megabucks on the show.

    I’m not even saying there will be a budget cut coming up; only that if this did occur, it needn’t be the end. They can still prosper without the indulgence.

    #107806
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Yeah but this strictly hypothetical budget decrease wouldn?t have to be the death knell of the show; it is possible to create intelligent character and situation driven stories without stupidly expensive CGI or paying through the nose for unneccessary high profile guest stars etc.

    There’s a massive difference between ‘good’ and ‘attractive to viewers’. Small, characterful episodes ain’t gonna have kids talking in the playground the way cool monsters and explosions will. It should be smart and characterful – and it bloody has been – but being JUST that…you’re thinking about some other show.

    Plus, as I say, someone has to write it. Someone has to act in it. The number of truly out-of-this-world writers and actors who, somehow, don’t command decent fees is pretty low. Even the ones you haven’t immediately heard of.

    > At some point you can allow a show to stand on its own two feet and ride the wave of its own acquired brand recognition and reputation; put it into cruise control for a little while, and save a few quid.

    This is exactly the kind of thinking RTD was so vocal about on the last commentary. Coasting the show is just…it’s the beginning of the end. The production team fight to keep it at the top of the BBC’s agenda precisely because when it drops off, it suffers. It’s bad for the show.

    Striving to keep Who appointment viewing is absolutely the right thing to do. Don’t talk about ‘stupidly expensive CGI’ as if the makers have so far been chucking cash to whatever high-bid contractor they get. And, as Karl says, don’t talk about guest stars as ‘unnecessary’ as if it doesn’t matter – they don’t hire just for the name, but the name and talent together. One makes the show commercially viable, one makes the show good. They’re not antithetical.

    The use of big actors, inventive writers, cool design choices and epic ambition ARE the show standing on its own two feet. It’s an ideas-based sci-fi adventure show.

    > Then inject some cash every so often just to give it that little boost, like filling a hot air balloon? at some point you stop releasing the gas and simply let it float, then hit the gas again when it starts to sink. Nowt wrong with that.

    Or like a person. Where, if you don’t feed them for a few months…oh no, hang on, they suffer permanent damage and eventually die. Then you’re just shoving food into a corpse’s mouth.

    There’s no need for metaphor – just look at what happens to a show that coasts on its brand. When has that ever been good for either the quality OR longevity of a programme?

    “Let it get less popular, just drift for a bit, then chuck some money in” isn’t a way to maintain quality or popularity. Its a way to run the show into the ground, put it on extended hiatus and leave it need of a revival. These things happen fast now – the landscape’s only changed in that it’s even less forgiving than before.

    #107807
    Andrew
    Participant

    > However my decision to catch it was more because of the reputation of the show and the hyperbole surrounding the outgoing actor rather than any guest stars / returning Time Lords / John Simm (although he?s always brilliant) / storyline elements.

    And why was there hyperbole? Because the Doctor had become a full, popular, must-see cultural icon once again. We were losing the Doctor who was with us through a hugely exciting few years of unmissable TV. You can’t divorce the excitement surrounding his departure from the show itself.

    It’s not just Tennant’s quality that made his farewell so important. It;’s the quality of the show around him.

    > To a casual or first time viewer, the stories and guest/peripheral characters aren?t the draw – if anything they are pretty much meaningless to the uninitiated. It?s the hype and the reputation and the promise, and the trailers and the speculation? all things that can be achieved without spending megabucks on the show.

    The hype, reputation and promise are intrinsically linked to the production method. Cheap-looking trailers (someone cheap cutting ’em, presumably, too) and bad word of mouth – “Used to be a cool show, armies of monsters! Now they can’t afford ’em…so I turned over to Primeval” -have a huge effect.

    Plus I think you’re mistaking what matters to you with what matters to everyone. Good stories and cool casting carry massive weight.

    > They can still prosper without the indulgence.

    Mistaking production value – which includes performance and writing as well as sets, costumes and effects – for indulgence is a huge mistake. And, as I say, fails to acknowledge the importance of audience appeal over ‘appeal to me’.

    #107808
    Carlito
    Participant

    I’m only giving my perspective, as a casual/new viewer, maybe a bit further removed from the show than big fans such as yourselves, less emotionally involved… but I don’t need every episode to be a big epic spectacular… I’ve been watching the first series of Ecclestone episodes over the last few days, and some of the best episodes are the more understated ones… and there’s a shortage of major guest stars (I’ve only noticed Simon Callow and Simon Pegg so far) to boot. Maybe their perceived importance isn’t quite as important as people think they are.

    You say one way to kill a show is to put it into cruise control and let off on the gas… I say, another is to push it into being such an expensive proposition it is no longer commercially viable to continue to produce.

    Successful US shows often suffer the same fate… budgets increase year on year, to the point where eventually no matter how popular the show may be, it becomes no longer financially viable to continue producing new episodes. Especially when you have plenty in the can to syndicate.

    #107809
    Andrew
    Participant

    > I?m only giving my perspective, as a casual/new viewer, maybe a bit further removed from the show than big fans such as yourselves, less emotionally involved?

    Insulting. I’m not arguing the point from a fan perspective, and I’m not sure where you got that from. I’ve mentioned my personal taste and preferences in Who episodes, have I? Argued rabidly from a perspective that wants the show to continue at top quality and to hell with practical considerations?

    Unfair to dismiss an argued position based on facts and experience due to some perceived emotional response.

    > but I don?t need every episode to be a big epic spectacular? I?ve been watching the first series of Ecclestone episodes over the last few days, and some of the best episodes are the more understated ones?

    What you need or don’t need still ain’t the be-all and end-all. Who’s arguing from the emotional fannish side here?

    Some of the best are understated, yes – but what was the popular perception? How are the ratings on the showboating episodes? Which stories generate the DVD sales and merchandise you consider important to the show’s future commissioning? (And boy is THAT a can of worms in itself!) Which had all the kids in the playground yelling and screaming the next day? Which caused the most things to be doodled on exercise books?

    > and there?s a shortage of major guest stars (I?ve only noticed Simon Callow and Simon Pegg so far) to boot. Maybe their perceived importance isn?t quite as important as people think they are.

    Eccleston is and was a huge name actor. He’s in every episode. Billie Piper was both good as Rose AND an attractive name at the time (albeit for novelty rather than expectation of performance). You also missed out Zoe Wannamaker, Mark Benton, Yasmin Bannerman, Penelope Wilton and Tamsin Greig – all of whom are great in the show.

    But were they hired for being names, or for being great? Far more the latter than the former, I’d argue. Because, oh yes, it’s more complicated than “HERE’S A NOTABLE CAMEO!’ You pay for the ability, not just saleable value. To separate these things so primitively, to ‘names’ and ‘not names’ is reductive and in no way useful.

    Not to mention scripts by RTD and Mark Gatiss, those famous low-rent writers…

    > You say one way to kill a show is to put it into cruise control and let off on the gas? I say, another is to push it into being such an expensive proposition it is no longer commercially viable to continue to produce.

    But nobody’s suggesting that’s at risk of happening. At all. Indeed, the Who budget famously got lowered each year.

    The point I’m arguing is your contention that a ratings fall leading to a budget cut is nothing to be concerned about for either the commercial or artistic quality of the show. When it demonstrably, provably is. A cycle of ‘coast along/cut the budget’ is as dangerous now (more so, in fact) as it was in the late-80s.

    #107810
    Carlito
    Participant

    > Insulting. I?m not arguing the point from a fan perspective, and I?m not sure where you got that from. I?ve mentioned my personal taste and preferences in Who episodes, have I? Argued rabidly from a perspective that wants the show to continue at top quality and to hell with practical considerations?

    Sheesh! Relax, I never specified YOU. I said “yourselves” ie. the users of this forum.

    #107812
    Carlito
    Participant

    I think we’ve strayed from my initial point anyway, which was that even if the ratings decrease (which is possible or maybe probable – regardless of the quality of the show – due to ever diminishing network ratings across the board caused by the sheer volume of channels available) it doesn’t mean they’d neccessarily cancel it, as it contributes to the corporation in other ways too.

    This whole budget cut debate stems from the simple remark that the worst that’s likely to happen is a budget cut rather than outright cancellation, and that a cut in budget doesn’t mean the show can’t still thrive through creativity.

    This argument is starting to make it sound as if Doctor Who couldn’t possibly survive without a big budget, which – as Red Dwarf, the show we all signed up here for, has proven – isn’t neccessarily true. Plus, from my limited knowledge, the show has had similar ‘boom periods’ in the past when the budget was smaller, the famous ‘wonky sets’ and dodgy monsters reputation, yet still did very well for many years. I don’t think Doctor Who needed big budget CGI and Hollywood actors in those days, why do they neccessarily NEED them now? It comes down to the choice really; in this hypothetical ‘ratings fall’ situation, would you as a fan or viewer prefer cheaper Who, or no Who?

    #107816
    Andrew
    Participant

    > it doesn?t mean they?d neccessarily cancel it, as it contributes to the corporation in other ways too.

    International sales rely on the same thing – popularity. DVD and retail income’s way more complex then you’re making it sound. “This will struggle TV but do well on disc” isn’t part of any in-house Beeb commissioning discussion…well, not a successful one, anyway. Not one that ends with a show being made.

    This mythic value it has to the corporation is fleeting, nebulous and forgettable without care being taken. It’s what happened before, and it’s absolutely possible for that to happen again.

    > This whole budget cut debate stems from the simple remark that the worst that?s likely to happen is a budget cut rather than outright cancellation, and that a cut in budget doesn?t mean the show can?t still thrive through creativity.

    It makes it HARDER, though – for the show to do bright, creative stuff, to remain true to its own genre (adventure show), and for it to find the same size audience. This idea that creativity is free when it comes to working within a major corporation is pretty naive.

    > This argument is starting to make it sound as if Doctor Who couldn?t possibly survive without a big budget, which – as Red Dwarf, the show we all signed up here for, has proven

    Only if you don’t understand the point being made. This idea that there are two kinds of budget ‘big’ and small’ – I’m talking about a funding drop predicated on ratings for a show that already suffers reductions when ratings are steady. I’m talking about context, relative factors. “You can technically make a Who series for little money, and it’s possible that it would entertain smaller audiences” isn’t remotely the argument. It’s whether that can happen when you understand the current TV landscape.

    Seeing Dwarf as ‘small budget’ and Who as ‘big’ is, again, too reductive to be useful. Time slot, history, public perception, causes of creation, causes of longevity, expectation in commissioning, placement within the station’s wider intentions…it’s not remotely a one-to-one comparison. (Not least the way Dwarf was denied continuation after it’s best-ever figures. This is what I mean about context and relative factors.)

    One example of thousands: Expectation. The BBC chief who keeps Who going at 5 million peak is the one who may as well clean out his desk. That’s a career in trouble. And nobody wants to put their career in the hole to save a show that wasn’t theirs to begin with.

    > It comes down to the choice really; in this hypothetical ?ratings fall? situation, would you as a fan or viewer prefer cheaper Who, or no Who?

    It doesn’t remotely come down to that choice. As I keep saying, this isn’t about some personal desire – “What I want” plays no part in the “ratings/budget” question.

    Nor, indeed, is this about creating longevity for the sake of it. ‘Cheaper or no’, again, reduces things to an unrealistic example. That choice will never, ever present itself that way. Not to fans, but not even, realistically, to a commissioner – since there are too many other factors beyond the price.

    It comes down to “Does a drop in budget predicated on dropping viewing figures pose a significant threat to the future thriving of the show?” And if you don’t think it does, you don’t know telly.

    #107818
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > and that a cut in budget doesn?t mean the show can?t still thrive through creativity.

    There just seems to be this sense of one or the other. As if a smaller budget automatically means the production will work harder, be more inventive and with a wave of a sonic screwdriver render that smaller budget unnoticeable.

    There’s the alternative arguement that the production team might allready be running at the very peak of their creativity in order to max out the budget they have. Lower it and the creativity actually suffers because they no longer have the money to make the ideas happen.

    Perhaps the BBC still want that action-packed finale, the production team daren’t scrimp on that episode and so the money that would have gone towards an understated character based episode gets cut instead, resulting in a potential great low-key episode being ruined when the carefully crafted atmosphere is broken by a set or character with truly hideous production values.

    > – as Red Dwarf, the show we all signed up here for, has proven – isn?t neccessarily true.

    Except of course that Red Dwarf used to be a prime-time show on a terrestrial and now whilst it’s surviving it’s on a satellite channel. Perhaps it’s just me, but that doesn’t carry the same prestige or weight as it would if the show was still on the BBC. No disrepect to anyone involved in Back to Earth, and more fool the Beeb, but I’m not sure that Dwarf fits entirely with that side of this discussion.

    > I don?t think Doctor Who needed big budget CGI and Hollywood actors in those days, why do they neccessarily NEED them now?

    Is anyone actual arguing for CGI and Hollywood actors for the sake of those things alone? I thought the point being made is that talent costs money. Less money means less talent involved in the show or that the talent goes elsewhere.

    The current Who formula of a talented production team and talented guest stars, some of whom carry a name and reputation with them is working well. If there’s a budget drop which results in that formula no longer being affordable then the lack of recognisable faces, fewer explosions, monsters etc overall becomes noticeable. The show might still be great, but if it’s not hitting with the same weight that it did one or two series ago then you’ve a bandwagon rolling down hill and picking up speed.

    #107817
    Carlito
    Participant

    > It comes down to ?Does a drop in budget predicated on dropping viewing figures pose a significant threat to the future thriving of the show?? And if you don?t think it does, you don?t know telly.

    In which case then, you’re saying they’d simply cancel it? I don’t really understand what it is you’re so eagerly trying to prove here to be honest. You’re suggesting that the budget continues to decrease anyway, regardless of ratings. And that a decrease in budget is detrimental to the show, which cannot continue to be a success without access to the budget it has enjoyed so far. Yet I see no marked difference in quality of more recent shows compared to older ones, budget decrease or otherwise. Looks better, if anything. So what’s your point? It becomes more about return on investment – about establishing how much money the show needs to viably create satisfying episodes in comparison to the likely viewing figures, as they continue to decrease in the multi-channel age, there needs to be a scaled comparison.

    A budget of (completely out of the air) ?1m may be worth 10 million viewers in 2009, but 6 million viewers may be considered of equal value (and therefore worth the money) in five years time.

    As for right now, it would be hard for a publicly funded broadcaster like the BBC to justify cancelling one of its most popular shows. There would be uproar. And from what I fathom, the situation was a bit different in 1989, in that it was no longer considered one of the most popular shows on the channel (and also that in those days it had been on for so long, it may have been considered ‘old hat’, whereas this revival has only just reached half a decade).

    > (Not least the way Dwarf was denied continuation after it?s best-ever figures. This is what I mean about context and relative factors.)

    According to a Doug Naylor interview I read a while back (source forthcoming, if I can find it) Red Dwarf wasn’t simply denied continuation after its best ever figures… he said shortly following series VIII that the BBC were eager to make another series every two years indefinitely (with Doug handing over to new writers), following the success of VIII. It was only after several years of trying to get the movie off the ground that a comeback was denied. Hence, if true, RD wasn’t denied continuation immediately following its greatest success, but rather years later.

    Disclaimer! I’m not claiming to know more about RD and GNP than a guy who worked for them, by any means, that’s just a quote from a Doug interview.

    #107821
    Andrew
    Participant

    > In which case then, you?re saying they?d simply cancel it?

    Again, no, that’s a total reduction of the argument to a binary either-or. I’m talking about a spiral of cause, effect and influence. There is no “simply” in any of this.

    > You?re suggesting that the budget continues to decrease anyway, regardless of ratings.

    I’m not suggesting it. I’m saying it flat out. It’s a fact. It doesn’t hold for the last specials, which I imagine will have been budgeted very differently, but series-by-series – yes.

    But you get all the implications of that, right? That some of it has to do with increased skill sets – as a team works, they get better at what they do. Technology increases yearly which has advantages. Stock sets – the TARDIS mainly – and costumes need only be built once and then get deducted… It’s way more complicated than ‘smaller budget, badder show’. And that’s before we get into inflation, where even a budget freeze is, actually, also a reduction. Except in areas where it isn’t.

    > And that a decrease in budget is detrimental to the show, which cannot continue to be a success without access to the budget it has enjoyed so far.

    No, no, no. That a budget reduction LINKED TO A RATINGS FALL seriously harms the potential future success of a show. Am I speaking Urdu or something?

    A ‘same team, plough on’ budget reduction, predicated on a department’s sense that the same CAN be done with less cash (and, apparently, mostly correctly) is one thing. A ‘new team’s show stumbles, audience down to 6 million by end of series, show moved to Thursdays and given a budget suited to that slot’ budget reduction is not even remotely the same thing. That the word ‘reduction’ is included both times doesn’t make them directly comparable.

    Also, your definition of ‘a success’ is different from mine, I suspect. ‘Good enough to watch’ isn’t relevant here. Slash the budget and watch the viewers fall away because the show is not as good. As the viewers leave, watch the corporation panic – you may get a final attempt to save, but in the end no exec wants it to be their fault. And worse – no exec wants to be the one to keep the show that’s back to being a punchline again on the commission list.

    > A budget of (completely out of the air) ?1m may be worth 10 million viewers in 2009, but 6 million viewers may be considered of equal value (and therefore worth the money) in five years time.

    Yes. Of course audience share is the better figure to use, of course when I attribute X million viewers to some future commissioner that’s based on that currency today. I used ‘five million’ that way you just used ‘one million quid’ – which won’t be worth the same in six years, either.

    What I’m saying – apparently on a loop – is that a drop in budget predicated on dropping viewing figures poses a significant threat to the future thriving of the show. But not ‘a drop of audience in line with yearly viewer migration’, and not ‘a budget cut in line with standard cost-saving on regular production’.

    Hang on, I’ll draw a picture instead. Back to the original statement:

    > Plus, 5 million viewers isn?t to be sniffed at nowadays. They?d have to seriously plummet for cancellation to be on the horizon. Worst that could happen while it?s still a healthy or reasonably healthy ratings draw would be a budget decrease.

    Extreme Hypothetical: If the series takes a ratings dive this season – a radical one, because the show somehow stops being to people’s taste under the new writer – your ‘not worrying’ suggestion that the budget might be cut in line with that lower audience means that a) the audience is SO much smaller, so suddenly, that the response from the channel has to be significant, down to, say, 5m, and b) it’s now even harder for a staff already struggling to win viewers over. Because, amazingly, the popular taste is what’s going to get the numbers back up. And now they can’t afford for it to be as good – because, yes, money DOES buy you a level of ‘good’. Good writers, good actors, good crews. We know this.

    Moffat quits, because the drop is so huge he knows he can’t tell good stories with it – he, frankly, has his own reputation to think about, plus they can’t afford him as showrunner anyway. So on comes Chris Chibnall, who’s more in the price range. Matt Smith decides it’s wiser to desert the sinking ship than be the man who sank it, and the Beeb take a strong hand in the casting process, plumping for someone inexpensive who can also guarantee a certain viewership. And Vernon Kay becomes Doctor Twelve.

    Oh, and the production is finding it hard to replicate the quality of even the cheap ‘banked’ episodes of the previous season, because the new team doesn’t have a history together, so everything’s three times harder and a third more expensive. (This bizarre idea that “If Dwarf can do it for pennies anyone can” – not all productions are created equal. What works for one group won’t for another. There’s a reason Doug and his people are able to do what they do, and it’s not something you just pick up.)

    If you’re talking about a budget decrease linked to a hard ratings drop – a soft drop won’t cause a notable decrease out of line with the regular set-up – the implications are ghastly.

    > Hence, if true, RD wasn?t denied continuation immediately following its greatest success, but rather years later.

    All you’re doing is proving my point – that these things are far more complicated than these simply summaries bely. Yes, I absolutely simplified – you’ll note I didn’t actually say ‘immediately after’, for example – since Dwarf wasn’t the topic for debate. But the expansion you’ve added doesn’t make the point – about complexity and relative factors – moot. Indeed, it only reinforces it. (As, indeed, do the broader reasons FOR Dwarf not being picked up, which had far more to do with perception, reputation and careers than it did ratings, cost or show quality.)

    #107822
    Carlito
    Participant

    You win, whatever. You’re not talking Urdu, you’re talking industry speak and then belittling somebody for not knowing exactly what you’re talking about. Excuse me for not going in depth on industry specifics that I don’t know the first thing about to support what was a fairly general comment.

    And, despite the lengthy diatribes, you’re still not really contradicting my initial point, which is that a ratings decrease would probably result in a decrease in budget, rather than cancellation. In fact, you seem to agree (to some degree).

    I never said it would be a wildly popular show in spite of a budget decrease, I said it was possible to still produce interesting stories and remain a creative success, which I stand by. This is turning into a bit of a strawman argument, I fear.

    #107823
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    >You win, whatever. You?re not talking Urdu, you?re talking industry speak and then belittling somebody for not knowing exactly what you?re talking about. Excuse me for not going in depth on industry specifics that I don?t know the first thing about to support what was a fairly general comment.

    Hey, you’re the guy who decided to have a detailed argument with someone who works in that thar telly, like. You could have just decided that they probably knew better than you at the start, and nobody would have thought any less of you.

    #107825
    Andrew
    Participant

    > And, despite the lengthy diatribes, you?re still not really contradicting my initial point, which is that a ratings decrease would probably result in a decrease in budget, rather than cancellation. In fact, you seem to agree (to some degree).

    Indeed. But where you see that as a minor problem, it’s demonstrably more than that. Hence the original ’89 comment, where weaker ratings and lower budgets led to the slow decline and cancellation of the show. And that was at a time when ‘value to the corporation’ meant something, it’s why that decline was so slow; but shows no longer survive through habit.

    You were absolutely right to say that the landscape has changed. But 100% wrong to suggest that the change has made it easier, rather than harder, for a show to keep running.

    > I never said it would be a wildly popular show in spite of a budget decrease, I said it was possible to still produce interesting stories and remain a creative success, which I stand by.

    It’s possible to make interesting shows on a low budget. It’s impossible to continue to make a show that can’t get re-commissioned due to its collapsed position at the BBC. The show you’re talking about is massively unlikely to ever exist. In this climate, Doctor Who needs to be ‘wildly popular’ or they stop making it. It’ll be cancelled before it’s left in the state you’re talking about – nor is mere longevity the goal. Nothing strawman about those facts.

    However, this is all apparently both informed industry speak AND completely inaccurate. And since I can’t argue that contradiction, I guess we’re done.

    So: Vernon Kay as Doctor Twelve, eh?

    #107826
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Surely Vernon Kay would cost far more than Matt Smith?

    #107827
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Surely Vernon Kay would cost far more than Matt Smith?

    I’m thinking not, since he’s worth money as a presenter, but not yet as an actor. It’s his launch role. I suspect Billie’s first year fee for Rose was a lot less than it could have been given her ‘name’.

    EDIT: Of course I never said the guy would be cheaper than Matt Smith.

    #107829
    steven87gill
    Participant

    Tanya Jones>You could have just decided that they probably knew better than you at the start, and nobody would have thought any less of you.

    Now stop it and play nice.

    Can we .please. just go back to the thread discussion.

    #107830
    Carlito
    Participant

    > Hey, you?re the guy who decided to have a detailed argument with someone who works in that thar telly, like. You could have just decided that they probably knew better than you at the start, and nobody would have thought any less of you.

    I never “decided” to have a detailed argument, I made some rather general points, which were countered with detailed information which still didn’t really contrast what I was saying. Dragging me in, even though I have constantly stated explicitly I am no expert on Doctor Who.

    I never said Doctor Who would still be wildly popular with a big budget cut. And even if the ratings did decrease, on a comparitative scale it could still be one of the most popular shows on TV. All I’m saying is a budget cut doesn’t neccessarily equate to the end of the show. It’s speculation on everybody’s part, revolving around a strictly hypothetical scenario, so I don’t see why I’m any more wrong (or right) than anybody else, working in TV or not.

    SPECULATION. In the case of falling ratings, if the cost of the show decreased maybe it would happily settle into a middle-of-the-ratings show that costs about as much as its worth. Many big top-rated hits eventually become cheaper schedule staples, still popular within its own fanbase. Last of the Summer Wine comes to mind; once a super ratings smash, now a cosy show that does okay and is probably worth spending the money on to keep the fans happy and fill the schedule, with minimal risk attached. Different genres, different budgets etc granted, but why couldnt Doctor Who be the sci-fi equivalent? The scope of the show could decrease in line with its popularity. Yes, not conducive to it ever returning to the top of the ratings, but why does Doctor Who have a right to always sit at the top of the charts? Like the value of the show revolves around it’s only being the most popular show on TV? Every show has a peak period of popularity, notwithstanding the quality, and the novelty eventually wears off. The dog has its day; the lightning leaves the bottle. Plenty of shows churned out some of the best and most acclaimed episodes long after its popularity had waned.

    Would Doctor Who exist in its current form with a decreased budget spurred by falling ratings? Maybe, but probably not. ALL I am saying (all I was ever saying) is that it needn’t be the END.

    #107831
    Andrew
    Participant

    > ALL I am saying (all I was ever saying) is that it needn?t be the END.

    That’s not what you said – you began by refuting that the analogy to the previous cancellation was valid. Then said it was all about whether we ‘wanted’ no Who or cheap Who.

    Are we done now? Can we be, please?

    #107832
    Carlito
    Participant

    I was responding to performingmonkey’s question of “Would they accept 5 million?”

    Considering that 6 million viewers for some episodes was considered a success FIVE years ago, yeah I reckon they’d be okay with 5 million. Happy enough not to cancel the show, at least.

    And on that basis I suggested that, should ratings dip, it’s far more likely to suffer a budget cut than cancellation.

    For which I’ve now had to read through copious amounts of industry-speak apparently taking me to task, all the while not really disagreeing with my entire point.

    Let me summarise my speculation, because I’m confusing myself with what I even meant now:

    * No, I don’t believe that the BBC would neccessarily cancel Who if it dipped to 5 million viewers (because it has value beyond ratings).
    * Yes, I do however believe they may reduce the budget if this occurred.
    * No, I don’t believe the show will be able to maintain the same level of production value IN THAT SCENARIO.
    * Yes, I believe that the dedicated fanbase would still enjoy it and that it is conceivably entirely possible to create entertaining Who shows on a lower budget.

    In 1989, the show the BBC cancelled was a different animal. Whilst I’m sure they got a fair bit of merchandising and international sales out of it, I’d wager it was bringing in far less moolah than in 2010.

    #107833
    Carlito
    Participant

    > Are we done now? Can we be, please?

    Deal.

    I’ll get you next time, Gadget. Next time.

    #107834
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Well, chaps, I’d like to say it’s been a pleasure…

    #107835
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    Of course they could always cast Bonnie Langford as the companion.

    #107840
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Oh Andrew, you and your damned ‘industry speak’. How DARE you attempt to use relevant words that you know the meaning of.

    #107841
    redhead85
    Participant

    > Oh Andrew, you and your damned ?industry speak?. How DARE you attempt to use relevant words that you know the meaning of.

    *shakes fist* BARROWMAN!

    #107845
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    I’m pleased to see that’s catching on.

    #107856
    pfm
    Participant

    > Considering that 6 million viewers for some episodes was considered a success FIVE years ago

    The Doctor Dances 6.8
    Bad Wolf 6.8
    TPOTW 6.9
    The Impossible Planet 6.3
    The Satan Pit 6.0
    Love & Monsters 6.6
    Fear Her 6.9
    Daleks In Manhattan 6.7
    Blink 6.6
    The Poison Sky 6.5
    Silence In The Library 6.3

    I can’t get over some of those ratings (TPOTW in particular, big finale episode FFS)and all of them are unacceptable for a show of this size in its slot. The weather had a lot to do with some of them. I remember it being blazing hot sunshine when The Impossible Planet was on and it pissed me of then that the IMO best episode all series had been watched by the least number of people.

    The fact of the matter is that if these were the ratings norm for Who we probably wouldn’t be looking forward to a Moffat/Matt Smith-fronted series. We wouldn’t have got the specials year. Maybe not even series 4. The show would be well and truly over. Luckily the head honchos will look at average figures over a series, series 1 averaging around 7.95, which was and still would be very healthy.

    While I don’t think it will happen, many casual viewers could go ‘David Tennant’s not in it, why bother now?’ and not go out of their way to tune in to series 5. Maybe episode 1, out of curiosity, but then they could decide they don’t like Matt or think the episode is dodgy and so they abandon the show. I’m sure most people on here or various forums WOULDN’T do that, even if episode 1 IS crap (hopefully it’s not) and/or Matt is lame (IMO we’ve already seen enough to know he won’t be). But we are not the ones that count for much. Maybe if every single one of us had set meters (what they use to get the audience ratings) but it’s the ‘not we’s that the BBC care about. The fact that Who is a decent ‘property’ matters not. If general audiences don’t take to the new season kiss the show goodbye. It’s back to Big Finish with your hand down your pants time.

    #107624
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    People could’ve done the same thing when Eccleston left. They didn’t. What’s your point?

    #107857
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >all of them are unacceptable for a show of this size in its slot

    How do you know what the BBC considers to be acceptable for a show of this size in its slot? Perhaps you should stop looking at numbers, and start looking at audience shares for those shows.

    #107858
    Carlito
    Participant

    Trouble is, it’s far easier to find ratings stats than audience share stats, for some reason. They should go hand-in-hand, you’d think.

    #107859
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Whenever I see Who ratings reported, it’s always alongside the share, which tends to be between 30% and 40%.

    Apparently, though, the Audience Appreciation is the REAL figure to pay attention to at that’s usually better than anything else on TV.

    #107860
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Yes, both DoctorWhoNews.com and Blogtor Who are very good at giving audience share figures. Even for “The Sarah Jane Adventures”.

    #107862
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    Of course we should remember that episode one is going to be glorious. That is all.

    #107865
    Andrew
    Participant

    It really is.

    Anyone know what became of the Stephen Fry-penned episode? Is it now lost for good?

    #107866
    Gwynnie
    Participant

    I read that entire argument, and all I’m left with is the horrible image of Vernon Kay as Doctor 12. Why, Andrew, WHY?
    Chris Barrie should be 12. It would be beautiful.

    #107867
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Chris Barrie should be 12. It would be beautiful.

    “Don’t eyeball me, Dalek Sec.”

    #107869
    Gwynnie
    Participant

    I said Chris, not Rimmer ;) but…. yes. You know it would be amazing.

    #107870
    JamesTC
    Participant

    >Anyone know what became of the Stephen Fry-penned episode? Is it now lost for good?

    Was written for Rose/Ten, they didn’t use it for various reasons, they attempted to remount it for Series 3 but Fry didn’t have time to do the re-writes to add Martha. I don’t think they tried to remount for Series 4.

    >Of course they could always cast Bonnie Langford as the companion.

    Better yet they could dress Kate O’Mara as Bonnie Langford.

    >Mr. Davies? comments on Confidential that The Doctor had forgiven Harkness can smeg off.

    What exactly for? The Doctor wasn’t there during COE, he was off fucking the Queen so he hardly had anything to be angry about, last time they saw eachother they were flying the TARDIS together while some loud music played and then he dropped them off all in good terms. All I saw was the Doctor cheering up a friend who needed it, to add that spin on the scene takes something out of it.

    >Chris Barrie should be 12. It would be beautiful.

    Oh yes, so long as he can still do Dwarf.

    >Of course we should remember that episode one is going to be glorious

    Where are the ducks?

    #107872
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >What exactly for? The Doctor wasn?t there during COE,

    I just assumed he caught up on Earth events in the meantime. Quite a bit as happened since we saw him last and Good queen Bess, (or naughty Queen Bess as it may be- I wonder if she kept the wig on?) probably didn’t take all his time.

    As for the forgiving… I’m not sure Jack requires it from the Doctor*, despite what is said on Confidential. Except in the sense that he gives Jack the push to forgive himself, get on with life. Jack did a bad thing** but the best he felt he could at the time. There was no right or wrong just…wrong. I’m tempted to say ‘the lesser of two evils’ except it’s a bit of a cliche, and sits particularly uncomfortably considering what he actually did sacrifice. Something The Doctor himself has experience with.

    *I do hope they tone down the hero worship in Moffat’s Who. I really like New Who (some plotting aside, even then it’s fun) but that got tiresome. A reviewer on another forum I visit hit the nail on the head when he said the Doctor should just show that he’s special. They don’t need to keep on telling us all the time. Besides he was always intended to be a genius, never a god.

    **which shouldn’t have worked anyway, but enough with that plot stuff. CoE was cracking otherwise.

    #107873
    Andrew
    Participant

    > The Doctor wasn?t there during COE, he was off fucking the Queen so he hardly had anything to be angry about

    I take that Good Queen Bess stuff as a joke, to be honest…

    But the Doctor knows, surely, about the events of CoE? (He does tend to know everything.) His gesture to Jack is implicitly one of ‘okay, you’ve paid for what you did, but it wasn’t 100% wrong and you need to rejoin the world’. Otherwise it’s just ‘hey, let me get you laid, since we’re old pals’, which surely wasn’t the intent. (What Chris said, basically; it’s not straight holy forgiveness.)

    > Besides he was always intended to be a genius, never a god.

    I see this as being like the difference between science and magic – it’s only dependent on how advanced your technology is. I like the hero/icon-making RTD brought to it. Happy for it to change, no need to do the same thing over and over, but The Myth of The Doctor has really been a great part of the tone these last few days, for me.

    #107874
    JamesTC
    Participant

    But still Jack didn’t do anything that the Doctor wouldn’t have done. The Doctor would give up a life in favour of many lives (preferably his own but it can’t always work that way). Hell, the Doctor has done much worse, he has shoved his entire people into hell forever in the latest episode, much worse then killing a bus load of kids in favour of the entire planet (as happened in the past) and his own grandson.
    If anything the Doctor should be making up to Jack for not helping and leaving Jack having to kill his grandson, Jack did what he had to do, he has nothing to be forgiven about.

    #107877
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > If anything the Doctor should be making up to Jack for not helping and leaving Jack having to kill his grandson, Jack did what he had to do, he has nothing to be forgiven about.

    The Doctor isn’t in charge of protecting the Earth 24/7. Sometimes they have to deal with their shit on their own.

    #107879
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I like the hero/icon-making RTD brought to it. Happy for it to change, no need to do the same thing over and over

    I agree to a degree. While I dislike the overt hero worship in new Who, I often found the Doctor in old Who was a bit too fallible. Many stories I saw (which to be fair wasn’t that many) seemed to end up with companions saving the Doctor, or him being overpowered too easily.

    Not that I have a problem with the Doctor showing fallibility either (I like it in fact it does happen in New Who too*, it’s the degree.

    If the Moffat Who can find a medium between the two extremes, I think I’ll be happy with that.

    *I think I was channeling an owl there.

    #107880
    JamesTC
    Participant

    >The Doctor isn?t in charge of protecting the Earth 24/7. Sometimes they have to deal with their shit on their own

    He has a time machine, he can’t be there 24/7 but he could go back to part of the 7. Frankly he has shown himself time and again to be the protector of earth even picking earth over his own planet. Doesn’t he make a comment about being the protector of earth in ‘The Christmas Invasion’ too?

    #107882
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Jack did what he had to do, he has nothing to be forgiven about.

    That doesn’t mean that the character doesn’t feel the need to be forgiven, or that he doesn’t deserve to be.

    Nor, in fact, is it necessarily the opinion of the writer that he has nothing to be forgiven for. Whatever your own take, RTD may differ, and it’s that feeling which informs the intent of the scene. It’s not invalid to understand – and feel – the difference between letting people die and chosing to take a life.

    #107883
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >Doesn?t he make a comment about being the protector of earth in ?The Christmas Invasion? too?

    “IT IS DEFENDED!”*

    *Does not apply in the event of a spin-off. See box for further details.

    #107887
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > Doesn?t he make a comment about being the protector of earth in ?The Christmas Invasion? too?

    And, as Harriot Jones says herself later that same episode, the Doctor isn’t around all of the time. This is demonstrated often in both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and is also demonstrated a couple of times within Doctor Who itself. Where was the Doctor when the Ghosts first started appearing prior to the events of “Army of Ghosts”?

    #107889
    JamesTC
    Participant

    >Where was the Doctor when the Ghosts first started appearing prior to the events of ?Army of Ghosts??

    Shagging the Queen?

    #107891
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > > Jack did what he had to do, he has nothing to be forgiven about.

    WTF? He murdered a completely innocent child. Yes you can tag on that in doing so he saved 6 billion people from a hideous death, but he still inflicted one. Most of CoE emphasised how cold and malicious the government decision was to choose to kill the 10% (or whatever I forget the exact numbers) with the emotional message throughout being that to even sacrifice one live, any life, would be wrong – That it would be to go beyond ‘human’. I’ve never understood the flippancy which the murder of a small child (whatever the reasons) is given.

    Of course what made CoE so great is that it raised that question and then provided what should have been a very disturbing and uncomfortable answer. I wonder a bit if the over-use of that particular moral dilemma in popular fiction has watered down it’s impact a little with the audience to a point where to a large percentage of people it’s an acceptable thing to do, without even considering the question.

    #107892
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    >>Anyone know what became of the Stephen Fry-penned episode? Is it now lost for good?

    >Was written for Rose/Ten, they didn?t use it for various reasons, they attempted to remount it for Series 3 but Fry didn?t have time to do the re-writes to add Martha. I don?t think they tried to remount for Series 4.

    I don’t think it even got as far as being written, did it? It was just an idea that he hadn’t got around to starting work on. I’m fairly sure that if there was a full script, in whatever form, there’d be a way of salvaging it (if rewrites to include Martha had been necessary for 3, surely Rewrite T. Davies would have handled them?), but the problem is that there isn’t.

    #107899
    pfm
    Participant

    Seeing as it was rumoured to be about Arthur/Knights of the Round Table it’s no wonder it was never made. It was probably too big for them to consider for series 2 then in series 3 there was already too much going on to fit it in. Once they knew Merlin was happening they probably gave up on it completely. That’s if it WAS a Knights/Arthur episode.

    It would be going into dodgy territory anyway, what with Arthur being fictional. OK Daleks are fictional, but obviously real in the Whoniverse. In The Mind Robber the Tardis crew end up in the Land of Fiction and that’s how characters like Rapunzel and Medusa can appear.

    #107903
    Andrew
    Participant

    King Arthur’s already series canon, though, isn’t he? Thanks to Battlefield if nothing else. Not that it would matter if they did want to make him so now.

    #107907
    Ridley
    Participant

    WTF? He murdered a completely innocent child.

    More than once.

    #107921
    Gwynnie
    Participant

    Well, what made it worse was that he looked his own daughter in the eye and murdered her son in front of her while she screamed and begged him not to. I don’t know if it was supposed to show him sacrificing his “own” flesh and blood for the sake of the world’s children, and he had just lost Ianto… but as somebody who himself has died thousands of times but always comes back, it’s sometimes hard to think that he really appreciates the permanence of death for everybody else. CoE sickened me… the almost flippant way the government started deciding who the 10% of children would be, the amount of resources and time spent trying to kill Jack when he was supposedly the only one who could help. On top of it all, finding out that the children were used as drugs… it did feel like an attempt to bombard our moral compasses with ethical questions, but I sat there thinking “you know… this probably IS what the government would do”.

    #107955
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Now, back to TEOT, why didn’t the Doctor heal himself using the immortality gate? With so much time after surely he would have had time to fix the machine.

    #107956
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Because David Tennant was leaving the role.

    #107024
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    It does raise an interesting point though. Pretty daft thing to write into a story that’s just leading up to a death scene.

    #107025
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Now, back to TEOT, why didn?t the Doctor heal himself using the immortality gate? With so much time after surely he would have had time to fix the machine.

    Because it wasn’t for healing one person, it was for overwriting the whole planet with. Naismith just THOUGHT it was for healing one person, because that’s what it did in its broken state. But it was fixed by the Master and restored to full capability.

    #107958
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    And The Doctor, possessing a similarly brilliant mind to The Master, couldn’t alter the machine?

    Certainly a better use of his time than travelling the galaxy to say goodbye to his nearest and dearest, especially since he was so adamant that he didn’t want to go.

    #107959
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    > Certainly a better use of his time than travelling the galaxy to say goodbye to his nearest and dearest, especially since he was so adamant that he didn?t want to go.

    It’s such a shame, because the rest of the episode’s plot holds up so well.

    Let’s just say that Rassilon’s gauntlet broke the machine beyond repair at the same time as it changed everyone on Earth back to normal, to stop The Master trying the same shit twice. End of Time was about a great many things, but plotting wasn’t one of them.

    #107960
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    And eventually the Time Lords were rescued by, oh, let’s say…Moe.

    #107963
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    > And eventually the Time Lords were rescued by, oh, let?s say?Moe.

    And that’s exactly what it would’ve been like if RTD had bothered to put in the one line required to explain why The Doctor didn’t heal himself.

    #107964
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Yes, well done to RTD for avoiding explanations of plot holes he himself created.

    Since the fact that the gate could heal people served no function in the Grand Scheme at all (aside from giving Naismith, a non-character, reason to kidnap The Master and fix it for this purpose) it would have probably served the plot better to gloss over this completely and thus not create this issue.

    I can’t wait to read the rejigged version of The Writer’s Tale just to get an idea of RTD’s writing process for this story. The whole thing just seems so… messy.

    #107970
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    I think he intentionally leaves plotholes in his work so that more people will want to buy the book. Ching ching royalties.

    #107975
    Andrew
    Participant

    There’s no denying that RTD’s writing is a high-wire act. He doesn’t plan ahead, and that’s both a flaw…and a huge gift.

    A lot of the vibrant, interesting and wonderful Who we’ve had over the last few years – not to mention amazing stuff like Second Coming and Queer as Folk – comes from that process. It’s fair to criticise when it doesn’t work, but we have to accept it’s also why the great stuff is great.

    He plants himself stuff to use later, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. What I will say is that there’s a basic genre/thematic argument for The Doctor not using the machine – artificially prolonging his life is a Master thing, not a Doctor thing. There’s the world of difference between using your regeneration to heal and finding a machine to keep you going. If he HAD done it, it would have been reasonable, legitimate…and yet felt utterly wrong.

    I’d argue that genre alone gives you a pass on some such things. The Enterprise sometimes investigates planets ‘just because’, the casts of musicals burst into song and hard-bioled detectives fall in love with prime suspects. And The Doctor doesn’t drag out a generation by hooking it up to life support.

    #107979
    pfm
    Participant

    Nothing excuses how crap Naismith and his daughter are. They should have been revealed as being Time Lord-controlled/influenced in some way. At least that would have explained how convenient them using the Gate was. It would have made the Time Lords’ plan seem less ridiculous too. Still, you’ve got to praise RTD for the explanation of the drums…right?

    As always, the performances and direction sell the bollocks.

    #107981
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I never had any problems with Naismith and his daughter. She was an arrogant daddy’s boy, and she spoilt her daughter and had a ridiculous amount of money and resources to do so with. It could’ve been tidier, definitely, but I didn’t have any problem with their role in the story.

    #107984
    Andrew
    Participant

    With those two characters it’s really about screen time. The relationship was quickly and clearly drawn…but they were thrown away so swiftly once they had served their purpose that a potentially-intetesting pair of characters got reduced to plot-device.

    The same happened with the the two green aliens (anyone notice that their faces were pink in Confidential, but not in the main show? Looks like a costly post-produtcion fix to me). RTD wrote loads more for them, fleshing out the characters and having fun with them. But it got dropped. This last two-parter’s biggest crime, arguably, was having twice as many ideas as it needed. The Nainsmiths would, in a regular ep, have been an interesting pair to cause, and suffer the consequences of, something ghastly. The Time Lords could have been a seasons-worth of Big Bad.

    Too many ideas here, too few in Planet of the Dead. If it weren’t for the oomph it would have stolen from Donna’s conclusion, I’d say Ten’s swansong would have been more satisfying if it happened with Journey’s End…

    #107985
    Ridley
    Participant

    Seems like the solution would have been to be rid of Planet of the Dead and make The End of Time a three-parter.

    #107987
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >If it weren?t for the oomph it would have stolen from Donna?s conclusion,

    Speaking of Donna, I wasn’t keen on her conclusion at all. She just seemed to be there to give Wilfred someone else to worry about. (I liked her role in the previous episode though with the rather emotional discussion in the coffee shop. That was a wonderful scene. I’m worried I’m turning into a big softy.)

    I buy the idea of the Doctor implanting a fail-safe in Donna’s mind to deal with the problem of her memories returning. But for that fail-safe to incorporate a huge energy burst that knocks out all antagonists in the near vicinity… that’s a whole new power out of nowhere (well, unless you include regeneration energy) to tie up a small thread. If there wasn’t enough time for a more satisfying* conclusion to that thread**, I wish they’d snipped it out altogether. Donna can turn into a Master, it’s not as if she’s not going to get better.

    *Ok, that’s subjective Some people might like the energy blast fix. It did look good, to be fair.

    **If the Doctor can turn people into energy blasting weapons, can he literally blast people with his own mind? I’d imagine he would chose not to even if he could, it not really being his style (and it might deplete his own life-force), but with all the Master superpowers as well, it makes me wonder…

    #107988
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Speaking of Donna, I wasn?t keen on her conclusion at all

    What she got in End of Time wasn’t her conclusion for me – just a coda. A small grace note to suggest she’s still around and still Donna – plus a way of putting a loved character in jeopardy as Earth goes to hell. Of all the issues I have with the final story, Donna’s appearance wasn’t one.

    When Rose came back – to get her free Doctor Double love-clone-with-added-Donna-personality – I thought it cack-handedly undermined the lovely conclusion the character had previously been given. Both Rose and Donna’s reappearances this time around impressed me for the simple reason that RTD didn’t fuck it up.

    So yes, absolutely, she’s there for Wilf – and the Doctor, and the audience – to worry about. Jeopardy being a key part of the show, that makes sense. The story wasn’t designed as a particular farewell to her, she’s had that already, but a lot of the Davies mission statement has been about the ways in which lives continue after the Doctor has visited them. Putting the two together, especially in a story in which Wilf is ‘the companion’, is economical, sensible story-building.

    #107989
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I agree wholeheartedly. After Donna’s remembrance during the Part One cligghanger I was worried RTD would shoehorn the DoctorDonna into the second episode and Tate would get top billing. That concerned me because the story wasn’t supposed to be about her, and it would have undermined the entire point of the story. The way they dealt with her remembering wasn’t perfect, but it was better than her either a) running around as the DoctorDonna being magnificent and contributing to the plot, or b) dying.

    #107990
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >What she got in End of Time wasn?t her conclusion for me – just a coda.

    Oh, I meant more the conclusion to her thread in this particular story rather than a conclusion to Donna as a character. (The fact they married her off does seem rather final, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is brought back at some point.)

    It’s mainly the whole energy blast thing and how quickly that got her out of jeopardy that I don’t think worked that well. It never spoilt the episode as a whole I just think it could have been handled better. Even if it just meant joining the masses of Masters. That wouldn’t have been that interesting but it would have been more credible. (I’m aware I’m talking about credible things in a show that focusses a lot on the incredible. ;) Point is, the gate had been established at this point. This is a whole new power the Doctor has never shown before.)

    #107991
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    My problem with Donna is simply how it was handled in Part One and the fact that Wilf hinted that, deep within her subconscious, she was unhappy. RTD should have established that her only real worry was a lack of money, which would have made the lottery fix more satisfying. As it was, it seemed that Ten was just throwing money in her direction to avoid having to to deal with the problems his previous fix had created.

    Irritation number 2 was the way “her awakening” was bundled into the list of cliff-hangers like it would be an important part of Part Two, and was then dismissed in less than 5 minutes. I loved Tennant’s line about her being his best friend though.

    It’s an interesting quandary though. To have Wilf (a flawless part of the story) you have to at least mention Donna. But her conclusion in Journey’s End was SO perfect, that anything after since superfluous.

    >anyone notice that their faces were pink in Confidential, but not in the main show? Looks like a costly post-produtcion fix to me

    Yes, and I was surprised that this isn’t more noticeable in the episodes themselves.

    #107992
    Michael Warren
    Participant

    ^It’s mentioned in the commentary podcasts – it looked wrong on film, like a bad makeup job instead of an intentional design choice, so they had The Mill change their colouring post-production.

    #107993
    Andrew
    Participant

    > (The fact they married her off does seem rather final, but I wouldn?t be surprised if she is brought back at some point.)

    I would. I don’t anticipate any of RTD’s extended family of characters showing up in the Moffat era.

    Being married off is only as final going home to your family, though. If Davies were still writing, as I say, ‘Life goes on’ is part of his thesis – an adventure that saw glimpses of the married-and-wealthy Donna wouldn’t be massively unlikely.

    #107994
    Muzzy
    Participant

    I could see Jack and Sarah Jane popping up in an episode or two somewhere down the line if their respective series’ continue successfully, but yeah I think we’ve seen the last of Donna/Rose/Martha/Mickey etc.

    Unless Martha and Mickey do finally turn up for Torchwood…

    #107995
    Andrew
    Participant

    Actually, yeah – Jack’s origin in a Moffat story and Sarah Jane’s in old Who might make them exceptions. (Am I right in thinking Moff’s the only one who knows the truth about Jack’s missing memory?)

    #107997
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    So what is it?

    #107996
    Andrew
    Participant

    Bah – connection drop-out led to a double post.

    #107998
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    If we’re on to series Moffat talk perhaps we should move to the other thread. It beat’s all this two page kerfuffle.

    #107999
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    See you on the other side.

    #108001
    Muzzy
    Participant

    >(Am I right in thinking Moff?s the only one who knows the truth about Jack?s missing memory?)

    I watched The Empty Child/Doctor Dances the other day and wondered about this. Completely forgot it was ever mentioned TBH. I didn’t really remember enough Torchwood episodes to be sure whether it had been resolved or not either. It hasn’t, has it?

    #108003
    pfm
    Participant

    I doubt he actually knows what happened in that time, it’s just something he wrote in so they could use it later if they wanted to. Once Torchwood got up and running there was no need for that. They created a much more interesting history for Jack.

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