It’s now clear that a lot of Doctor Who fans were annoyed by the BBCs misuse of the show as a trailer for their annual Graham Norton/Lloyd Webber plug-fest. My guess is the 5,000 who have complained so far will be joined by an extra few thousand in the days ahead.
I’m genuinely puzzled how anyone within the BBC could have thought this was a good idea.
It’s as if the corporation, which kept the show off air for 16 years insisting it couldn’t be made well and would never be popular again, has managed to forget what a vocal, militant and easy roused group Doctor Who fans are. Across the web there are thousands of fans poised for the slightest sign that the BBC’s love affair with its newly found cash cow is coming to an end.
As others have noted, it’s unlikely that the very minimalistic apology issued so far is going to appease those who prefer not to have gunning animations spoil one of the few dramas the BBC bothers to air over the weekend. So what would make things better?
Perhaps the BBC’s execs could break away from pouring over their expense forms long enough to find time in this week’s schedules for a repeat showing on BBC One (BBC Three’s DOG covered screenings aren’t sufficient), ensuring this time there are no interruptions or plugs for glorified adverts masquerading as talent shows?
Just before this Saturday’s second part of the story would be nice and appropriate.
Clearly, airing three dramas in the same night might be confusing for some in today’s light entertainment obsessed BBC but I suspect announcing a BBC One repeat might be the quickest way to lance this boil.
Update: The BBC has now issued a fuller apology, accepting that the trail “should not have been played out on Saturday.”
The BBC compliants site now carries the following statement:
“The Over the Rainbow trail in Doctor Who should not have played out on Saturday and we apologise to all Doctor Who fans whose enjoyment of the show was disrupted. We recognise the strength of feeling that has been expressed and are taking steps to ensure that this mistake will not happen again.”
It’s fuller, but the contempt for the audience is still visible. This was no “mistake”, talented as some at the BBC are, we can be certain that no-one accidentally animated a trailer and then mistakenly transmitted it over the top of their flagship drama.
This was nothing less than the BBC repeating past attempts to push the boundaries of acceptable onscreen promotion.
We live in an age when the majority of homes have a digital box of some kind, all of which have some form of programme guide. If we want to know what’s on next we’re quite capable of looking for ourselves, we don’t need animations, DOGs or continuity announcers intruding into the show we’re watching with details of something we have no interest in.