The BBC Are CUNTS…..

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    …according to a now former Dalek operator. Bit harsh innit?

    i always thought that about those who deemed RD not good enough to return



    For context: the new issue of Private Eye has a story about how the Beeb were getting annoyed at how independent DWM was, mostly because it was criticising merchandise and was negative about Class. They seized on some anti-Brexit and Trump comments as evidence of “political bias”, and the ensuing kerfuffle led to the departure of Tom Spilsbury and a requirement for all staff to take a training course. The magazine’s budget has now been slashed and many of its long-running features are now going to end.



    Wow, going to have to go and read up on this, sounds interesting.

    Funnily enough I stopped reading because I felt he mag wasn’t critical enough in certain aspects and now it is being killed because of being too critical.

    Does seem like something funny has happened around the Shada DVD. Clayton Hickman had done the cover but his design was declined with no reason given late on.



    Hmm. Is that why the last three covers have been shite?



    Joking apart (although they have been shocking in the few months since Tom left), this makes me incredibly sad. I’ve always enjoyed DWM not taking itself or the subject of its affections too seriously, and downright taking the piss at times (kinda like G&T and RD). Sounds like it’s going to end up like the old days of JN-T and DWW.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve never read Doctor Who Magazine (apart from a few scans on the chans) and was thinking about starting, but my local TESCO doesn’t stock it. I guess that’s a good thing, now.


    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    I’m with Si, if the Private Eye reports are accurate than it’s all very sad indeed. I love DWM for what it is. It’s always been a mixed bag in its coverage of the new series, presumably due to the difficult balance between promotional and critical, but the stuff that made it worthwhile – the deep analysis of the classic series, the big retrospective interviews with ex-Doctors and companions, the irreverent tone and ability to be critical about certain things – will be the first things to go.

    I’d detected a subtle turn for the worst in the last couple of issues, but I wondered if I was just looking out for changes because of how long Spilsbury had been in the job. If things really are going in a direction that makes Nick Pegg do *this*, it’ll be the end of an era.



    I expected this to happen sooner (cf. around the time Doctor Who Confidential ended).

    It’s pretty appalling given how supportive DWM has been since the show’s revival, plus the longevity of the magazine and how it gave so many people who now work on the programme (not forgetting related media, benefitting the BBC) their first professional break.

    Sad times, indeed.


    By Jove its holmes

    The story is that BBC Worldwide wanted a more pliable editor than Tom Spilsbury could manage, and arranged his ousting. The ‘Class’ criticism thing seems a bit peculiar*, but Private Eye makes it clear that the Beeb were just looking for excuses.

    * Why not go with the article that mildly pointed out that 2015’s ratings were a tiny bit disappointing?


    Ben Paddon

    Was DWM criticizing the show itself, or the BBC’s handling of it? Because if it’s the latter, and that’s why Tom was ousted, then I’m cancelling my subscription today.


    Plastic Percy

    Doctor Who Magazine has faced this before, with John Nathan-Turner’s infamous blue pencil in the 1980s.

    I did wonder if something was up, with the replacement of Tom Spilsbury, the longest serving editor. They’ve taken the relatively young, innovative editor who has seen the magazine through a decade of New Who and replaced him with the older, more classic series orientated Marcus Hearn who seems to be more in Auntie Beeb’s pocket.


    By Jove its holmes

    Yeah, Bringing in Marcus Hearn reminds me of that old Yes Prime Minister computer game. It’s the equivalent of Sir Humphrey in that game shuffling an investigation into a civil servant’s Soviet links to “an House of Lords inquiry, possibly under Lord Williams”, thus killing it.


    Plastic Percy

    I think the BBC certainly have an interesting relationship with the various independent media that sprung up or thrived in Doctor Who’s absence – DWM, Big Finish etc. They seem to be happy to take their cut of what they do, smiling all the way, but always with a knife behind their back. If they do have a hand in cancelling the magazine, I can see them taking it in-house and releasing a new, less objective replacement in a few years time more in line with Doctor Who Adventures.

    I wouldn’t be the first time they’ve tried to pull the plug, as Big Finish faced losing their license in 2005 as the BBC finally realised how profitable the Doctor Who merchandise license could be. It was down to Russell T. Davies stepping up to defend them that got them to keep the license (paying tribute with a few references to their work in the Doctor Who Annual that year). There was also the possibility of a smear campaign by a ‘BBC inside source’ when a national newspaper reported that Big Finish were making their own ‘rival’ Doctor Who audio stories in competition with the BBC.



    RTD was worried that the Beeb would pull the plug on Big Finish and told them in a meeting that “he’d take care of it, leave it to me”, and let them carry on. He quietly asked them to stray away from anything too ‘adult’ – the producers have since said they wouldn’t be able to do stuff like Project Twilight today.

    I don’t recall any ‘BBC inside sources’ starting smear campaigns against BF, but there was some disquiet when BF landed a fairly big name guest star for a DW play and it got reported in the papers and the BBC got annoyed because people thought it was for the TV series.

    Their license was renewed until 2025 last year and now they’ve also been given stuff like Torchwood and the new series to play with so it seems that the BBC are on fairly good terms with them.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve only listened to a few classic Big Finishes and they were all amazing, but the reception for them I see from other Doctor Who fans is “holy shit they make so much of this stuff” and “it’s nowhere near the quality standard it used to be”.

    I don’t even want to consider how much it would cost somebody to get every piece of Big Finish Doctor Who legally. An upsetting amount.

    I’m glad it exists though because everybody seems to have such a lovely time making it from the behind the scenes stuff I’ve seen/heard and it just warms my heart.

    A lot of Big Finish stuff is up for streaming on Spotify, by the way, if anyone’s interested. Recommend Spare Parts and Jubilee.



    The main range has had quite a good time of it recently after being a bit stagnant. They’ve done some very good stuff with Adric.


    Ben Saunders

    My last comment was supposed to have more of a relevant point to it, something like “I’ve heard that them not being allowed to do serious/adult stuff is one of the reasons it isn’t as good anymore”.

    I listened to Psychodrome, which isn’t main range, but did feature Adric, and that was VERY good.



    Them not doing adult stories has nothing to do with the quality.

    I think it is a perception fuelled by the fact that the early days had their two best audio exclusive companions in the form of Evelyn and Charley. Everything kind of melds into one with so much.

    It also had some of their stone cold classics like Spare Parts, Jubilee, The Chimes of Midnight, The One Doctor, The Holy Terror and Colditz.

    I’d say that all through Big Finish, aside from an off year or two (a quick look and I’d say 2011 and 2012 are it), they tend to have 2 real classics, 8 or 9 great stories and 2 or 3 not so good stories per year. It is also difficult to split things since they moved to the trilogy format in 2009.

    You can list some classics from after 2005 and they are as good but just don’t have the awareness of their existence and just get lost in the mass. Since 2005 we’ve had Night Thoughts, The Reaping, Circular Time, The Wrong Doctors and 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men which are all worthy of standing alongside the best.

    Also as they’ve expanded they have has classics like Peri and the Piscon Paradox (one of my favourite Doctor Who stories ever made), Solitaire, The Rocket Men, Return of the Rocket Men, The Scorchies, The Foe From the Future, The First Sontarans, An Ordinary Life, The Yes Men and The Black Hole to rattle off a few.

    In terms of how I afford it: Well I wait for sales for most stuff. £6 a CD is the current norm plus postage. I justify by the fact that since 2012 it is the only way for me to get new Doctor Who which I think I will enjoy after losing interest in the TV show. After collecting for a few years I’m now only missing 15 main range stories aside from very new ones (I have up to story 223). I also steer well clear of any new series spin-offs aside from the odd one (Tenth Doc Vol 1 and Classic Doctor, New Monsters is it) as I’m not a fan of new stuff. Once I’m all caught up it will still be an expensive hobby but not eye watering all things considered, probably around £250 across a whole year.


    International Debris

    I’m currently working my way through the books – going through the novelisations plus the Virgin and BBC ranges in as close to internal chronological order as possible – but I reckon I’ll be starting on the audios afterwards. Sarah Jane is just about to leave, so I’ve still got a long way to go with the books.

    But yeah, the Big Finish series is a hugely intimidating nightmare from a beginner’s perspective. I’m going to do the Eighth Doctor ones first when I start – the monthlies, followed by his separate series – which seems like a fairly focused way to go. But after that, there are currently over 200 monthly series stories, not to mention Unbound, Companion Chronicles, Lost Stories, First, Third, Fourth, War, Ninth and Tenth Doctor series, Early Adventures…
    After all that, who the hell also has the time for Bernice Summerfield, UNIT, Gallifrey, Jago & Litefoot, Counter-Measures, New Earth, Torchwood, River Song, Captain Jack, Churchill, Iris Wildthyme, War Master, Graceless, Charlotte Pollard, Jenny, Dalek Empire, Cyberman, Sarah Jane…

    & I’ve also got the three BBC Fourth Doctor series on the list, plus the huge load of exclusive BBC audiobooks. I count 858 standalone Whoniverse audio releases currently. Even at one a day, with the current rate of expansion, it’d take over three years to go through them all, and obviously one a day isn’t something anybody could afford…


    Plastic Percy

    I’d say the Eighth Doctor Adventures with Lucie Miller are probably the most user friendly ones to get into. There’s not much to connect it with previous ranges and it does form an era of its own.

    I agree though that it can be rather intimidating, personally I only stick to two spin-off series – Gallifrey and UNIT.



    I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to even start on the Big Finish stuff, because new stuff every month would kill me. However, when there are sales, I do buy what I can. What with the freebies over the years, I’ve probably got about 20 or so of the main range, though I did buy the whole of the anniversary Destiny of the Doctor series, and I’ve bought both Tenth Doctor series, too.



    The spin-off range everybody should buy is Jago and Litefoot.



    I second that.


    By Jove its holmes

    Getting back to DWM, as i said, Installing Hearn is the BBC’s version of Sir Humphrey shifting things to a toothless “inquiry” under Lord Williams. Hearn will do what he’s been put there to do.




    First post-Watchergate issue is out today. His column has been quietly replaced with an appallingly shitty feature where each month we have a different blog from a different incredibly minor guest character recounting their adventure.

    Oddly there’s no mention of the hidden message – I’d have thought they’d have to put an apology in once it reached the general public.



    > BBC ‘eyeing bid for Dave owner UKTV *link*

    If they are going to say that Red Dwarf is a Dave series, they should at least use a publicity shot from the Dave era please.


    Ben Saunders

    The version of the article I saw on Twitter used a publicity still from X.

    I don’t really understand what this means – I thought the BBC owned Dave already. If it means more money for Dwarf, and I have no idea if it does or not, then yay.


    International Debris

    Well, as it says in the article, the BBC currently own 50% of it, and are looking to buy the other 50%.



    So are the BBC interested in the type of audiences Dave used to attract?

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