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Ancient One 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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A while ago on these pages I made the prediction that the BBC might use the Covid-19 pandemic, and it's effect on production schedules as an excuse to delay the production of Series 13, pushing it further and further back until contractual limitations meant it would be impossible to make, at which point the show would be rested indefinitely.

Last week Rhodri Davies, Director of BBC Wales, made this statement online:

https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/a32895854/doctor-who-series-13-social-distancing/

Now, as the BBC have pointed out this is not a statement that production has been delayed. BUT, it's important to keep in mind that no announcement was ever made as to when production of Series 13 would actually begin.

How does this line up with the previous two series?

Series 11 went into pre-production in October 2017, began filming on October 31st, and began airing October 7th 2018.

Series 12 went into pre-production in November 2018, began filming January 23rd 2019, and began airing January 1st 2020.

Series 13... Hadn't even had ANY pre-production work done on it before the lockdown hit.

BBC listings guide and magazine Radio Times recently speculated that filming on Series 13 *may* begin in September 2020, with an air date around October 2021.

But given we're now in late June, and many other already delayed productions are queuing up for studio time and post-production facilities, that may be overly optimistic.

So was Rhodri Davis' statement the start of the process, preparing fans for a proper 'production delayed' statement to come?

Stay tuned.


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Daveym

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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 40,300



As you point out it took near enough a solid YEAR for them to produce series 12. They started shooting in January, and were finishing shooting somewhere around October or November. The material would have still being going through the post-production process to add effects etc, and there was some questioning as to why it was it was taking so long to shoot a season that had two less episodes to produce than in the Steven Moffatt/Russell Davies era's...

There were no obvious answers, though one theory I had was that because the budgets had been pruned and pruned perhaps there simply weren't enough hands to actually make it to schedule anymore. Less people means a slower rate of progress. So with that painfully slow Production rate in mind it makes perfect sense that with the Pandemic and its after-effects, shooting series 13 would take... considerably(?) longer to shoot yes. It's just logical.
The potentially interesting thing to consider when you put all of these things together though is that by having such delays now, and the lower budgeting likely to be affecting the speed of production, mounted on the back of continually sliding ratings, the BBC's enthusiasm for the series might have reached a crossroads. Has it become a Problem Child rather than a Timeless Child?

Even though there are contracts with overseas broadcasters to honour I can see the BBC perhaps opting for shorter seasons, or breaking the season into two blocks. It depends on what they can get away with contractually. Because when you assess the ratings trend for series 12 it takes no great intellect to see that series 13 is going to be potentially disasterous. If you are a BBC scheduler, in charge of putting this programme somewhere, where could you put it if it isn't performing on a Sundays anymore, and would have no chance on a Saturday's therefore...?

Someone at the BBC is surely asking these questions.



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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


Hbo Max now has the exclusibe rights to all of thre former and current Fr series of shows, will this factor into this at all?


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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


Could the BBC just decide to pull the plug on a tv show of their DR and move towards a Movie franchise, like when Star trek went from TV to movie screen?


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Ancient One 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,191



    Quote:
    Hbo Max now has the exclusibe rights to all of thre former and current Fr series of shows, will this factor into this at all?


I honestly don't know.

But if I were HBO, I'd be more than happy to renegotiate the contract given Doctor Who's steep decline in ratings. Maybe swap Who out with a different BBC show that's doing better.


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Ancient One 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,191



    Quote:
    Could the BBC just decide to pull the plug on a tv show of their DR and move towards a Movie franchise, like when Star trek went from TV to movie screen?


There's a big difference between Doctor Who and Star Trek.

Paramount owned both the Star Trek tv show AND the movies.

The BBC owns Doctor Who, but doesn't make big budget theatrical-release movies. So the BBC would have to license the rights to a film production company in order to get a film made. And that's a minefield.

Co-production on the 1996 McGann tv movie caused all sorts of rights issues which plagued the BBC for years.

I don't know how happy the BBC would be to do that again.


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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


maybe just buy it outright and decide to make own show and or novie with the Dr?


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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


Could sell off to Warners, as Hbo owns the rights, and could make pwn movies/show then!


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Ancient One 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,191



    Quote:
    Could sell off to Warners, as Hbo owns the rights, and could make pwn movies/show then!


Warners can't even handle their OWN franchises in a successful manner. And look at the mess HBO made of Game of Thrones.

I'd be happier if they just let Doctor Who slide into oblivion for three or four decades.


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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


Just seems that this is what happens when there is no defined purpose and vision at the top, as the saving grace of Star trek for a long time was that they had defined statement and vision on what they were trying to do, to keep Gene Roddenberry vision!


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Daveym

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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 40,300



A lack of vision and a figurehead is a problem true, but on the other hand these are two very old shows - back in 1966 Gene Roddenberry would never have imagined that his creation could go beyond a few season, as any other programme, and grow to become the worldwide phenomenon is has here in 2020. Star Trek was an ensemble series with an inherant shelf-life, roughly eight main cast, and eventually no matter whether it ran three seasons of eight it would run its course and those cast would move on. So to have Star Trek still rolling along in 2020 is really incredible on that basis. And yet it still has that inbuilt limitation, of needing a cast of eight and a Starship, preferably called the Enterprise, and how long can you keep that format without it getting stale, as it has, and needing a rest?

Doctor Who is similar. Back in 1963 it was only intended as running a few weeks initially, and that went on to a reprieve of months, which somehow turned into years, and then decades! Like Star Trek it faced a hostile television environment and either apathy or outright contempt from studio executives, but even when those executive finally managed to 'assassinate' the show it came back. Star Trek and Doctor Who, they both became survivors, and in a sense immortal....

But they do both need to be looked after, safeguarded. And that isn't really happening anymore. With Doctor Who a major factor is the sheer weight of interested parties who want some form of representation, or the various diversity quota's and social commentary that the BBC itself now insist on being included. And the chances of any writer being able to deliver a good strong story with all of that to cater for first and foremost is slim indeed.
If you were to take some of you personal favorite stories from the original series and put them up for a remake in the modern era, under Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker, those stories would bear only a superficial resemblance to what they were originally. Once readjusted to cater for the BBCs diversity quota's, subplots introduced to cater for character soap content, a social commentary or two, a flapping hyper-ventilating Jodie Whittaker, those stories stand only a small chance of being anything but marginally diverting...
What might seperate 'The Ark In Space' from coming out like The Tsuranga Conundrum? 'Frontios' from resembling Orphan 55? 'The Masque of Mandragora' from the fate of the Witches episode....?



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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


Think both shows did best when they remembered the formula, as they were to seek out new life and new worlds, and to be entertainment, not meant to be agenda based platforms!Star trek did address issues like white abd black racism, but did it creative way, as in Kirk and Uhera kiss, or by having black/white beings chasing each other until all others had destroyed themselves.

Un this current PC climate, both series gave become pretty much PC driven agenda shows!




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Ancient One 

Manager

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,191




    Quote:
    Doctor Who is similar. Back in 1963 it was only intended as running a few weeks initially, and that went on to a reprieve of months, which somehow turned into years, and then decades!


This is another myth that needs to go. Doctor Who was never intended to run for only a few weeks. It was planned right from the start as a serial that would run for a year. 52 episodes.

The confusion probably stems from two things:

1) The way artists were contracted for long running series. You could *plan* a show to run for 52 weeks, but there's no guarantee it would be a hit. It might turn out to be a disaster and end after 4 weeks. But if you contracted an actor for 52 weeks and the show ended after 4 weeks, you'd still have to pay the actor for the length of the contract.

So actors were contracted for shorter blocks of episodes, with an option on the BBC's part to extend if the show continued. For example the contract Bill Hartnell signed in 1963 was for 8 episodes, with an option for a further 12, and a further option covering the remaining 32. This was a practice that continued right through the 1960's

2) Early teething problems on the show lead to an emergency meeting being called between Verity Lambert and BBC execs. The upshot was that Lambert was told to be prepared to end the show after 13 weeks if the problems weren't solved. This is the reason the two-part 'Edge of Destruction' was hastily written and thrown into production. An Unearthly Child and The Daleks accounted for 11 episodes, and the next available story was the 7 part Marco Polo.


But when you think about it, it's impossible for Doctor Who to have been planned only to run for 6 or 8 weeks.

Once a script was ready to enter production, the lead time needed to design and build sets, design and make costumes, props, models etc, to cast and rehearse, was a minimum of 8 weeks. That's not counting post-production work, minimal as it was back in '63.

So that would mean that Doctor Who was planned to end with The Daleks episode 2 or 4 (Or episode 2 or 4 of the six-part Masters of Luxor if their original plans had materialised). Which is crazy.

Plus, BBC paperwork makes a nonsense of the myth. Studio time (Ealing pre-filming) for episode 1 of Marco Polo was booked on July 15th 1963, 18 weeks or so before transmission of An Unearthly Child episode 1. Even discounting the two filler episodes, they were planning the first 18 weeks of episodes at a very early stage.

So no. Doctor Who was always planned as a year-round production. A full 52 week initial run.


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JesusFan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,337


There does though seem to be much more of a eye on quality and continuity checking back then is currently going on the show!


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