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Breaking Doctor Who News
Spaceship Dispatcher
trevor travis wrote:

Ultimately the Moff wasn't able to sustain the brilliant ratings of Season 30 and the Specials of 2009. And ratings are all important these days, whether we like it or not. He was wise to leave, before he was sacked. I think I'll remember his era quite fondly, especially the Calpaldi years.

It was always going to be difficult to match ratings driven up by the cult celebrity status of Tennant, Tate, Barrowman and Simm; going with three total unknowns in his first series was a risk for Steven Moffat and one that, while it ultimately worked okay on screen, was never going to sustain the ratings. It's telling that both leading actors cast since then have been known names.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

trevor travis wrote:

Ultimately the Moff wasn't able to sustain the brilliant ratings of Season 30 and the Specials of 2009. And ratings are all important these days, whether we like it or not. He was wise to leave, before he was sacked. I think I'll remember his era quite fondly, especially the Calpaldi years.

It was always going to be difficult to match ratings driven up by the cult celebrity status of Tennant, Tate, Barrowman and Simm; going with three total unknowns in his first series was a risk for Steven Moffat and one that, while it ultimately worked okay on screen, was never going to sustain the ratings. It's telling that both leading actors cast since then have been known names.


Was John Barrowman a star prior to 2005? I wasn't really aware of him before Captain Jack. Likewise, David Tennant had done a few things like "Casanova", but DW was his massive, big break.

Catherine Tate WAS a huge star, with her own BBC TV programme.

I don't think the ratings of Season 30 were caused by "star status". It was more a build up of the previous several years; with everything culminating at the end of that season. RTD made it seem so easy at the time, that I didn't fully appreciated how good a showrunner he actually was e.g. realising how the odd shot of Rose could excite not only the fans, but the general public at large. He had a feel of exactly was required. He made DW mainstream.

There's also the cliffhanger to "The Stolen Earth", which is absolutely inspired, and meant "Journey's End" did something unheralded - a sci-fi show beat all the soaps to No 1 in the ratings.

I think whoever followed RTD was always going to have a tough, if not near impossible job, so on the whole, the Moff has done a decent job, given that he hadn't been a showrunner before Who.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Tennant and Barrowman may have been unknown in 2005, but by the time of the massive ratings both had a huge personal fan base; not a cause of the show's popularity, but certainly a boost. I know quite a few people that stopped watching in 2010 because they liked David Tennant too much to watch the show without him. The goalposts of public expectation for Doctor Who shifted a lot in five years.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Tennant and Barrowman may have been unknown in 2005, but by the time of the massive ratings both had a huge personal fan base; not a cause of the show's popularity, but certainly a boost. I know quite a few people that stopped watching in 2010 because they liked David Tennant too much to watch the show without him. The goalposts of public expectation for Doctor Who shifted a lot in five years.


SD, I think you're got the chicken and the egg the wrong way around. Tennant and Barrowman became famous because of Doctor Who. Therefore, any boost to the ratings was from within. The only significant external boost I can think of, was RTD bringing in a famous face for the preceding Xmas Special (Kylie), but that was only for that special really; the ratings for Season 30 were built up steadily across the season by a very clever story arc, designed to drag in the viewers.

I do agree with expectations rose as a result. That's why I won't be too hard on the Moff. Yes, he couldn't match the RTD era, but that's perhaps an unfair comparison. The Moff never caused any significant harm to DW in the same way that JNT and Saward did.
Edited by trevor travis on 24 January 2016 22:55:07
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
trevor travis wrote:

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Tennant and Barrowman may have been unknown in 2005, but by the time of the massive ratings both had a huge personal fan base; not a cause of the show's popularity, but certainly a boost. I know quite a few people that stopped watching in 2010 because they liked David Tennant too much to watch the show without him. The goalposts of public expectation for Doctor Who shifted a lot in five years.

SD, I think you're got the chicken and the egg the wrong way around. Tennant and Barrowman became famous because of Doctor Who. Therefore, any boost to the ratings was from within....

That's exactly what I wrote above but in different words.

Yes, Doctor Who made them stars. But the simple fact for a celebrity following, Strictly viewing, "I love John Barrowman" calendar buying member of the general viewing public in 2008/9 was that Doctor Who was surrounded by as much publicity and hype about the stars (whether that stardom was made by the show or not) as there was interest in the actual episodes. Lots of people watched Doctor Who only because it had people off the front of gossip magazines in the cast, and stopped watching in disgust when it changed to starring three people that nobody had heard of; the fact that they had also not heard of the previous cast in 2005 would not have carried any weight - expectations had changed, and the Doctor was now (rightly or wrongly) being promoted as a heartthrob character. Matt Smith was just too big a shock.

It may not have been the majority of viewers who felt this way, far from it, but enough to probably account for most of the ratings drop.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
SD, actually, you’ve missed out one important fact.

There was a star in the 2005 cast. Not Christopher Eccleston, who I admit to not really knowing who he was, until he was cast as the Doctor (I hadn’t watched the things he had been in). But rather it was Billie Piper, teen pop sensation who then married Chris Evans. You needed to have lived on the moon to not know Billie. She was in the magazines you mentioned; her name generated column inches in newspapers.

Maybe Billie did improve the profile of the programme. But far more important was the fact that she could act, and therefore the audience cared what happened to Rose Tyler. So much so, that RTD really milked that fact with “Will she die?” poser towards the end of Season 28.

Again, it shows RTD’s sensibilities in realising what would getting viewers watching. The rating of his era were no fluke – he knew how to get people watching the show.

But I maintain the bedrock behind all of that was the strength of the scripts. Star casting does not work in itself – just look at the JNT era for examples of how this can go wrong and damage the integrity of the show (ahem, Bonnie Langford, ahem). The RTD era was, in terms of chart positions, the most successful of all-time of Doctor Who, because he was such a fabulous showrunner and produced consistently fantastic Doctor Who. In that respect, you have to feel some sympathy for the Moff, for having an impossible act to follow.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Forgot about Billie? Impossible, since I was one her fans that watched the new Doctor Who series to see her - and yes, that was a major factor in my watching the first couple of series along with being a Doctor Who fan too. But I thought we were only discussing the ratings drop from Tennant to Smith so had not really touched on the switch from Eccleston; as I posted above, I don’t believe there was a connection between the show and celebrity gossip in the first couple years, and it only really seemed to become a factor in the show's own popularity later on - and then ended again, once there were no celebrities in the cast. While it was a tough act to follow, and for me the incredibly high ratings in 08 were pushed up by good stories and star power being combined, it's also important to remember that the show has never stopped being one of the channel's top rating shows alongside Eastenders and Strictly even in the alleged low points. It may have peaked in 2008/9, but it's never stopped being a massive success.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Forgot about Billie? Impossible, since I was one her fans that watched the new Doctor Who series to see her - and yes, that was a major factor in my watching the first couple of series along with being a Doctor Who fan too. But I thought we were only discussing the ratings drop from Tennant to Smith so had not really touched on the switch from Eccleston; as I posted above, I don’t believe there was a connection between the show and celebrity gossip in the first couple years, and it only really seemed to become a factor in the show's own popularity later on - and then ended again, once there were no celebrities in the cast. While it was a tough act to follow, and for me the incredibly high ratings in 08 were pushed up by good stories and star power being combined, it's also important to remember that the show has never stopped being one of the channel's top rating shows alongside Eastenders and Strictly even in the alleged low points. It may have peaked in 2008/9, but it's never stopped being a massive success.


Look at the 2015 ratings and chart positions (and look at what it was getting beaten by) - a long, long way from being a success. A bit embarrassing at times.

However, it was mostly down to scheduling, and one thing the Moff has done is to fight that ridiculous time slot that Season 35 was given.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
trevor travis wrote:

Look at the 2015 ratings and chart positions (and look at what it was getting beaten by) - a long, long way from being a success. A bit embarrassing at times.

Disappointing maybe, but not really embarrassing. In the context of drama shown last year across the main channels it wasn't that far behind its rivals. 2015 was a year of live sport.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
JustBrad
trevor travis wrote:



Look at the 2015 ratings and chart positions (and look at what it was getting beaten by) - a long, long way from being a success. A bit embarrassing at times.


With all due respect, UK ratings are not the only thing the BBC is looking at. DW is the BBC's largest ever export, doing well in the USA, Australia, and Europe. This is why Moffat thinks the show is relatively safe. The ratings could droop in the UK, but it would remain a big world wide money maker. It's been such a hit in the USA, that BBC America is now using it to promote its other shows, and has started showing classic episodes on Sunday mornings.
 
trevor travis
JustBrad wrote:

trevor travis wrote:



Look at the 2015 ratings and chart positions (and look at what it was getting beaten by) - a long, long way from being a success. A bit embarrassing at times.


With all due respect, UK ratings are not the only thing the BBC is looking at. DW is the BBC's largest ever export, doing well in the USA, Australia, and Europe. This is why Moffat thinks the show is relatively safe. The ratings could droop in the UK, but it would remain a big world wide money maker. It's been such a hit in the USA, that BBC America is now using it to promote its other shows, and has started showing classic episodes on Sunday mornings.


Brad, I'm not sure if the BBC thinks in such a joined up way. It didn't stop DW being axed in 1989 due to poor UK ratings, despite it being a show which brought in more money than it cost to make. I don't the BBC cares about American or European ratings. What does work in favour of the current series is that it is BBC Wales' flagship, and they will fight to keep it.
 
Klenotka
trevor travis wrote:

JustBrad wrote:

trevor travis wrote:



Look at the 2015 ratings and chart positions (and look at what it was getting beaten by) - a long, long way from being a success. A bit embarrassing at times.


With all due respect, UK ratings are not the only thing the BBC is looking at. DW is the BBC's largest ever export, doing well in the USA, Australia, and Europe. This is why Moffat thinks the show is relatively safe. The ratings could droop in the UK, but it would remain a big world wide money maker. It's been such a hit in the USA, that BBC America is now using it to promote its other shows, and has started showing classic episodes on Sunday mornings.


Brad, I'm not sure if the BBC thinks in such a joined up way. It didn't stop DW being axed in 1989 due to poor UK ratings, despite it being a show which brought in more money than it cost to make. I don't the BBC cares about American or European ratings. What does work in favour of the current series is that it is BBC Wales' flagship, and they will fight to keep it.


They do care. I recently saw an article about BBC Worldwide and how they may take over DW...it is a brand, it is sold to 80 countries, the merchandising is huge and the show makes a lots of money. Sure, BBC is a public broadcaster, but it would be naive to think they don´t need the money from DW. To claim that 5 millions LIVE viewers, and 7 millions consolidated is bad, is a bit crazy. It is a 10 years old show, it is not an "event" anymore, yet many people felt the need to watch it live. Also, that you watch BBC on TV is actually rare Wink iPlayer plays a huge role (unofficial numbers are, I think, about 1,5 millions), then you have many online streaming services, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes...and then "unofficial" ways to watch it...kids watch the show on Sunday morning on their tablets.
Also, if I am not mistaken, there were complaints even from Peter Capaldi himself that the show is late.

And remember, first few episodes went against rugby.

DW in the 80s was cancelled because it didn´t have a support in general - not just in ratings. BBC producers these days know what they have in their hands. It´s all about money.

And btw., when I talked to Peter Purves privately at a convention in October and he was very open about how BBC considers DW more as a cash-cow and have a big PR department that basically only works with DW and nothing else. He also said that he has problems with the current direction and that it is more of a franchise and brand now but couldn´t deny it was successful.
Don´t be Lasagne
 
trevor travis
Klenotka, DW was already a huge cash cow in 1989... but it didn't stop it getting the axe, despite the horror of the commercial arm of the BBC.

I'm afraid UK ratings are still massively important. Season 35 was way down, even the final consolidated figures including iPlayer, etc.

Fortunately, Moffat (and also Calpaldi at times) was on a mission throughout season 35 to complain about its scheduling and hopefully a more sensible time slot for Season 36, will see the trend reversed. It's proof that the Moff cares about the future of the show.
 
JustBrad
trevor travis wrote:

Klenotka, DW was already a huge cash cow in 1989... but it didn't stop it getting the axe, despite the horror of the commercial arm of the BBC.


True in 1989, but the BBC (at least world wide) has changed since 1989.
In 1989 did you see BBC licensed T shirts, Toys, Action Figures, Video Releases? If you did in Britain, we didn't over here.

The BBC has finally figured out that there are five times as many Americans as Brits, so even if the ratings are lower, more eyes are watching.
 
trevor travis
JustBrad wrote:In 1989 did you see BBC licensed T shirts, Toys, Action Figures, Video Releases?


Just working out what merchandise I had by 1989. There was my Tom Baker action figure (actually I had that in the 70s), my magic TARDIS, my Dalek, lots and lots and lots of novelisations, "Full Circle" view finder cards, and "Terror Of The Zygons" and "Ark In Space" on VHS video. I don't think I had a T-shirt, but they were certainly those around.

So to answer your question Brad, yes, yes, yes and yes.

BBC Enterprises (who later became BBC Worldwide) were appalled by the loss of their biggest cash cow, and actually tried to commission their own 30th Anniversary in 1993, "The Dark Dimension" by Adrian Riglesford, but sadly it fell through.

I think Doctor Who was just as big in terms of merchandise then as it is now. Target sold 8 million novelisations worldwide. VHS video sales were high in those days (no internet or iPlayer!), and DW new releases often figured high up in the chart.

All of the above didn't prevent DW being axed in 1989.
Edited by trevor travis on 25 January 2016 19:06:05
 
rojkerr1
Dr Who was axed because Grade et al in the bbcs upper echelon actively hated the programme and wanted it off the air, any excuse would have done, but the low ratings were good enough. They had been trying to get it cancelled for several years before they eventually succeeded, even tho it was earning far more than it cost to make
 
trevor travis
rojkerr1 wrote:

Dr Who was axed because Grade et al in the bbcs upper echelon actively hated the programme and wanted it off the air, any excuse would have done, but the low ratings were good enough. They had been trying to get it cancelled for several years before they eventually succeeded, even tho it was earning far more than it cost to make


Yes, BBC Enterprises were not happy at all.

I think the current BBC execs still have a strong disdain for it (look at last year's scheduling), but fortunately BBC Wales will stand up for their flagship. The regionalisation of the BBC has proved DW's salvation.
 
Anniew
It now seems that Peter Capaldi will be leaving with Moffat according to Twitter to allow the new chap to bring in his own Doctor. And this is TERRIBLE.

Presumably they'll go for a sex symbol, which, let's face it, is the biggest ratings booster for a show. Even B7 benefitted hugely from the Avon ( and to a lesser extent Blake and later Tarrant) wfoar factor.

It's PC's age that has turned off the younger viewers, committed to watching an adventure with a sexy bloke ( or a cute puppy dog bloke) saving the day at considerable personal cost and suffering disappointments in lurve: viewers less concerned about the quality of the stories or drama and the history of the show than the committed Who fan.

Thank goodness B7 had the courage to skew our expectations by making the sexy one the morally ambiguous one as well.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
trevor travis
Thank goodness B7 had the courage to skew our expectations by making the sexy one the morally ambiguous one as well.


Indeed, Soolin is morally ambiguous Grin

As for Calpaldi, maybe it could change yet. After all, who's to say that Peter Calpaldi isn't Chris Chibnall's preference for his Doctor? He'd be mine.
 
Anniew
Yes, sorry Trevor, should have written sexy ones. And of course ALL the characters in B7 are morally suspect!

The Twitter stuff seems to have come from things Peter has said and been reported in the mirror - which has been hideously accurate so far! And if I were PC to have work for this year and then suffer a hiatus until after 2017 might be the tipping point if put together with BBC higher echelons disappointment in lower ratings. They are obviously going for the Broadchurch factor with their new appointments ( which I hated by the way).
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
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