It looks like DWC is a casualty of the BBC’s need to cut costs across the board, and also BBC3 controller Zai Bennett’s desire to commission more new and original content for the youth-oriented network.
Bennett said last month at the Edinburgh Television festival: “It’s about focusing my budget on 9pm and 10pm; those are the time
slots that count. Budgets are tight, so we have to be sensible with the
money we have.”
A number of long-running shows have received the axe since Bennett joined the channel in December 2010, but surely none as controversial as DWC.
For many new Who fans (including the @saveDWC Tweeters, it seems), the behind-the-scenes access and analysis the programme offered made it an integral part of their viewing experience. Narrated through the years by such luminaries as David Tennant, Simon Pegg, Anthony Head, Mark Gatiss and Russell Tovey, it has continually drawn good viewing figures for the digital channel – often well over 500,000 per episode.
Indeed, beyond the main programme, reruns and cut-down versions of the show have littered the BBC3 schedule and much of its content has formed the basis of the DVD extras for the Doctor Who series releases. Where will this come from in the future?
However, just like Doctor Who itself, it’s no secret that making the show is expensive and time consuming compared to many other formats: keeping a team on staff for 12 months a year to make a programme that’s only broadcast seasonally seems an extravagance in today’s austere television times.
And if you like Doctor Who, isn’t there already plenty of extra content to enjoy? Myriad fan websites and forums, magazines, spin-off shows… do we really need this much Who in our lives?
Perhaps it’s time to let the show go? In the words of Sarah Jane Smith: “Everything has its time. And everything ends.”
What do you think?
Have BBC3 done the right thing today, or is this a terrible mistake?