Would a break be good for Doctor Who?

Feature Alastair Stewart 23 May 2014 - 07:00

Alastair wonders whether a hiatus would be beneficial to the much-loved Doctor Who...

Right, let’s get it out the way: I love Doctor Who. But is it becoming jaded?

Revived in 2005, the show has become a globetrotting ratings hit for the BBC and a (restored) staple of Saturday night television. The affection is not ironic, and only partially sentimental, for the writing and the budget reflect a drama fit for the modern audience. Older aficionados may tune in to contrast old and new but, ultimately, a new generation of fans have become smitten. Gone is the singular memory of scarves and tawdry sets. Meet The Doctor with more awards than regenerations.

The success is largely owed to the show’s necromancer, former Executive Producer Russell T. Davies and the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Never before in the show's history have two men invested as much of themselves in their role and character. The result: a supercharged, Byronic Timelord, who quixotically relishes life in all its forms.

Even the 2009 departure of the duo could not dent the public’s appetite for a mad man in a blue box. The later ‘coupling’ of Stephen Moffat as Executive Producer with the beautifully idiosyncratic Matt Smith saw regeneration 2.1, and the show finally achieving mainstream international success.

Whereas the likes of Top Gear (comparable to Who in ratings and net worth to the BBC) will, eventually, succumb to the age of the show if not the presenters (sorry lads, but…) Doctor Who is predicated on a cycle of rebirth. It has achieved recognition beyond the wildest ambitions of its creators 50 years ago and surprised many with its mainstream success since 2005. Indeed, if fervent speculation on casting in the tabloids is a barometer of success, Who trumps all.

So if the show can’t peak with age, has it plateaued with its own success?

Classic Doctor Who

It’s clear now that in the end the ‘classic’ series (1963-89) suffered not from its popularity dwindling among fans, but monotony in the format.

Production costs became a constricting framework that limited the ambitions and ideas of new writers, actors and producers. Limited BBC budgets, the long-standing joke, were now the long-running eye sore distracting away from attempted reforms. The anachronistic 25 minute serial format did nothing but drag out any attempt at a new tempo. Look no further than the criminally under-appreciated take of Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor as a case in point.

Indeed, the most telling fact of all is that the earliest black and white serials seem more sophisticated next to the later series which were far below the production quality of comparative Sci-Fi shows of the day. Execution could not match ambition because the perennial quality of the show – change – was not being realised. The final hiatus (rather than cancellation) was an inevitability until the show could, aptly, move with the times.

The revived series may one day suffer the reverse fate. In nine consecutive years Doctor Who has owed much of its success to the impressive selection of actors to take on the lead role. With a standard 45 minute running time and high production costs, the show’s differential is the leading men who have distinguished it as a quirky cult classic. Emotion and intensity have trumped the cliffhanger and cardboard TARDIS.

But there are few places left to go and the show is running out of successes and surprises for its now not so new audience.

The Time Of The Doctor, the show’s 800th episode, felt like an appropriate place to call a second hiatus. A fitting finale for Smith and a significant step forward in the arc of the Doctor as a whole, the episode rounded off the success of the 50th special, The Day Of The Doctor, by proving Who had mastered self-reference without being trapped by the panoply of its own past.

The aged and dying Doctor, out of regenerations and resembling William Hartnell, was a powerful reminder that this character is the same one first seen 50 years ago. It is a remarkably sweet accomplishment for young families and fans to recognise the First Doctor after so many decades.  

Yet the magic surrounding regeneration has left. Smith dying and his closing lines were a tender goodbye, but there was no surprise as with Eccleston to Tennant, or the same sense of loss as with Tennant into Smith (which took most people a bottle of Jack Daniels and a handkerchief to get past).

While the gift of the second regeneration cycle was spectacular FX, the process had already become too anticipated. Arguably the last really sincere ‘death’ moment came not in Doctor Who, but The Sarah Jane Adventures when the Doctor discussed with former companion Jo Grant his travels in the run up to his last regeneration. The revelation that he visited all of his previous companions and was “so proud” of them, was a tender and sweeping act of continuity.

If properly unleashed, Peter Capaldi has the range and experience to take the Twelfth Doctor in a direction not touched upon yet. His years afford an opportunity to see a Doctor that isn’t brow beaten or war damaged, but simply wise to the Universe. After a series of young men playing an old man, it will be a curious thing to see an older actor acting young(ish).

But we must tread carefully – the show is running out of places to go and it must be conscious that it’s already a year older than most television series last. For all the excitement surrounding Peter Capaldi’s selection as The Doctor, the production team must ensure that they do not let the show slip into such a tired position that their next choice of Doctor is governed by the need to desperately improve ratings. Quality would inevitably suffer.

Taking a break is much better than waiting for the end. Born in the late 1980s, I’m of the generation that survived on Crime Traveller and Star Trek and missed out entirely on Doctor Who - an omission later rectified.

I will happily eat my words when season eight begins and lives up to its promise of rebooting the reboot. I likewise enjoy the thought that, one day, fans of the tenth reboot laugh at the notion that in 2014 we had Doctor Who in anything other than 3D movies with all 27 Doctors.

But, to quote River Song: “You can’t run forever. And nobody knows it like the Doctor.”

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No. It's not suffering like it was. U may be jaded but many more aren't.

"But is it becoming jaded?" No, appears you are jaded not the show. . .

I'm quite shocked you thought Time of The Doctor a fitting finale for Matt Smith, I was under the impression most people, including myself, thought it was...well, best not go there. I love how people also think under the stewardship of Moffat the show finally found international success - the groundwork was done while RTD and Tennant were at the helm. As for a break, maybe... not adverse to the idea. Let's see how Capaldi gets on, or should I say, let's see if the writing improves with a new Doctor. For the first time in my life I've lost my enthusiasm for Doctor Who - Maybe I needed a break.

We have had 2 episodes in the last year, Id say its already taking a break.

A break? We're in the middle of one. We've had two episodes since the last series finished over a year ago. The next series won't start for at least another 3 months.

I thought it was great and did many others as did many others think it not. Business as usual then. Moffat and RTD both deserve credit for international success. We don't all feel as negative as u. But it's ok u do!

Not at all, but personally I think the mid season breaks were one of the worst ideas ever made.

Now, an idea like letting two years pass, then releasing well considere, 15 1-hour episodes might do nicely. 45 minutes always feels too cluttered, and there's often been a dud per season.

But assuming Capaldis great, the show is on a roll right now.

I for one loved it.

We need a break from Moffatt as show runner. He's clearly the most divisive person involved in the show since John-Nathan Turner. He's not a bad writer but I'd like to see someone else take a crack at running the show in Cardiff especially since Capaldi has taken the role. Far too many of Moffatts scripts were poorly done. Also the show should be an hour long or revert back to serials. The 45 minute format has meant that some stories resolutions have been really ham fisted. The power of three was the perfect example of a great build up, crap resolution

I forgive this show many sins because I love it. But ToTD felt like it was stealing from my pocket and slapping me lightly across the face.
Suddenly I could see what so many people had been complaining about. And still I *wanted* to like it so much because it was the transition we'd all been waiting for.
But the "oh the Doctor's spent hundreds of years on this same planet. Yeah, there's a war here. It's really big." I just couldn't buy it emotionally, and felt alienated from what I was watching as a result. A painful experience I hope I will never feel again.

That said - no break! Shame on you, Mr Stewart.

Just tone down the music, and not so much slow-mo running down corridors away from explosions. Thank you.

Another article breaking the journalistic principle aka Betteridge's Law: "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'... To a busy journalist hunting for real information a question mark means 'don't bother reading this bit'."

"it must be conscious that it’s already a year older than most television series last"... in the 9 years since the return the show has *barely* been on. It's not like it has been doing 9 years of 22-episode commissions is it? We've had far too many mid-season breaks, "year of specials" and so forth that to recommend canning it now is truly demented.

"Yet the magic surrounding regeneration has left."... I'm not even sure what that is meant to mean. It's not whether it's "magical" - it's a device to allow recasting.

"The show is running out of places to go" - I'm guessing you missed the "all of time and space" bit in the story then?

Going on about monotony just seems to miss the point of the show. When that does loom, you can chop and change the actor and production staff and keep going. What other shows have such a simple and brilliant way to constantly reboot and innovate like that?

What an odd article. The question of a hiatus is presented as something which should be considered in the light of the fact that the show is "running out of places to go".

Although the author states this twice, he doesn't offer any reasoning or explanation as to how he has arrived at this conclusion (and I suppose particularly on a show which has the entirety of fictional time and space to use, it doesn't seem intuitive).

No. In any case, most of every year is a break from Doctor Who (if you don't watch the endless repeats of new era shows elsewhere) so it already has nine months of hiatus built in.

Divisive indeed. I think Moffatt has taken the show to new heights.

Click bait. That's the only reason for this article. Look, it's worked!

No. The idea that Doctor Who could ever "run out of places to go" is laughable. Worst case scenario, change the showrunner (not saying they should do that either, just in case it did seem stale, which it totally, totally doesn't).

Plus we're already seeing hiatuses. Two mid-season breaks and 18 months between S7 & 8 - if the show couldn't handle this snail pace then it really would be in trouble.

As relevant as having the article titled "Should the next Doctor be a woman?".....click bait indeed

The show has plenty of places to go. RTD had probably exhausted himself creatively as far as Doctor Who goes by the end of his run, Moffett is getting near the end of his probably too. The next showrunner will freshen things up. THAT is how Doctor Who keeps going. A hiatus is a terrible idea, a show must keep up its momentum if international audiences are to follow it. You stop Doctor Who and people will find something else, and it becomes yesterday's news. God I hate this kind of article, its just a negative, badly judged opinion that people who want to get rid of the BBC can use as an argument that the "common man" is bored of shows like Doctor who. If they read Den of Geek of course.

That's quite unfair. While I don't agree with the article, it looks like it's the writer's first go at writing for Den of Geek, and hopefully they'll take the comments on board and improve.

If they were just resorting to clickbait why would they have bothered with a long piece when they could just have knocked out a few paragraphs and a photo of Capaldi?

I don't think we need another break, (please no!) but I agree the show needs new horizons if it's going to keep going. I think the issues is this: The show's 45 minute format and new adventure every week format is what has kept it fresh and exciting for 50 years, but it's inherently limiting from a story telling perspective and could lead to it's stagnation.

Having a new "universe" to explain in 45 minutes means everything has to be rendered in broad strokes and emotional shorthand. We never have time to explore the cultures and individuals we meet. You can't create a universe the viewer really cares about in such a short time without resorting to bombast. The show has to hit the big emotional buttons instead of developing complex characters and plots that allow the viewer to respond organically. At it's worst it trots out threats like "the whole of reality is about to be destroyed", "every monster in the universe has arrived at Trenzalore" i - which are really just headlines for stories that the format doesn't allow time to tell.

A format where you could spend several weeks or even a season featuring one cast, time period and civilisation would allow Who to tell stories with real emotion, where the viewer has time to understand the politics of the society, the motivations of the enemies, and gets a chance to feel for the characters and see different sides of them. Allowing them to develop their own feelings, instead of being told how to feel. This is precisely the advantage modern TV shows have over film and Who is being left behind by ignoring this strength and sticking to it's 2005 template.

We risk getting to the point where we feel we've seen everything, where the stakes can't be raised any further, and where the protagonists are merely caricatures. In my view, it needs to mix it's free wheeling format with longer stories for the best of both worlds. Perhaps 4 or 5 episodes stories, tackling smaller scale ideas. A story set on one world or group of worlds, where you get time to be involved with the society and characters can be much more epic than a 45 minute blowout that throws everything at you but has no heart or brains underneath. Less is more, and weirdly for a show about time travel, it needs more time!

For me, I'd like to see more smaller scale stories. The end of the world, galaxy, universe, reality itself every week seriously cheapens the stakes. When the show returned in 2005 it had that "I actually might turn a street corner and see that mysterious blue box" vibe that got me and my mates playing Doctor Who in the playground at school... and I think that's missing somehow.

There's an argument to take a break but now is not the time to do it; it would be far too damaging to the new Doctor especially when they've gone back to an old geezer (which I am well in favour of) - they need to carry the momentum from the past series straight into this one.

I think a better option would be seasonal specials, so you have one year where you have a set of special episodes on Easter weekend, the Spring bank holiday in May, August bank holiday weekend and then Christmas. That way you keep DW in the public consciousness, don't overexpose it and make it event television.

We're on a break at the minute. No media, very little news apart from the odd pic. This is one of the longest breaks we've had some the show came back. Don't wish for less!

By the time Series 8 begins it will have been at least eight months since the last episode of Doctor Who. There was a six month gap between the end of Series 7 and the 2013 Specials, a big gap in the middle of Series 7 and a gap of eight months before that to take you to The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe. When you consider we are two spin-offs short as well, we've not had this little Doctor Who since the revival.

As for the opinion that the show is running low on refreshing ideas, that is as subjective as opinions on David Tennant. As good as he was I wasn't remotely upset to see him go, and the shows successful return owes just as much to Christopher Eccleston if not more! Perhaps the show could use a new show runner, maybe some fresh blood in the writing department...but there is no need for a second 'wilderness year's at all.

It doesn't need a hiatus, it needs an approach to a series whereby each eapisode doesn't have to up the ante on the previous one.

In the earlier series (post 2005) the programme used to consist of interesting episodes with a 'simple' story or premise, where the Doctor would solve a problem and move on. Then there'd be two-parters where the run peaked, with something more relevant to the over-ring story arch.

If you do that the bombastic speeches have way more impact. Since the start of series 6, Moffat has had nearly every episode featuring something portentious and cataclysmic - each episode bigger than the last with the Doctor 'rising higher than he has before' (no); each companion more fantastical than the last - what happened to 'normal' people? No, each one has to have a hook or central concept that's bigger than the last: 'the girl who waited', then 'the girl born to save the Doctor'.

Even Moffat's 'quiet' episodes have to have some over-blown finale with the Doctor raging at the sky delivering (another) soliloquy!

I give it another hour before someone accuses DoG of trolling.

"the I actually might turn a street corner and see that mysterious blue box" vibe [...] is missing somehow."

This, and I have two theories as to why I feel the same.

One is the settings. It was noticeable how much time RTD's series spent in modern-day Britain, with the news reports and the rest. A bit repetitive at the time, but these days I sort of miss it. There's only so many ways you can get massively invested in a new alien world in 45 minutes, and these days it can feel... distant, somehow.

Also the companions' families, weird as it sounds. I think they kept it grounded, and were often great characters in their own right, but we've really not seen any of them much in Moffat's series. More Wilfs, please.

What on earth are you talking about?

It should have taken a break after the 50th Anniversary episode and hire a new showrunner. It badly needs a fresh new start.

Time of the Doctor was awful, as pretty much everyone says.

I love many of Steven Moffat's stories, but I think it might be time for a new showrunner with a fresh vision and new ideas. Though The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor seemed to wrap up a lot of his running storylines and themes, so it will be interesting to see where he goes next with a new Doctor - that in itself may be enough to refresh the show.

Considering the format of Doctor Who allows people to tell stories from any genre set in any place in the universe and in at any time, which allows for the lead actor to change and for the character to gain new personalities I think it is incorrect to say the show is 'running out of places to go'. That's like saying there is no point in writing another fantasy novel 'cos it's all been done or crime novels because there is nothing new for writers to say.

As long as there are storytellers with fresh ideas and great imaginations there can always be new places for the Doctor to go. The 'classic' series could have kept going if the head bods at the BBC hadn't actively wanted to get shot of it and allowed JNT to move on and attempted to get a new producer with enthusiasm to reinvent the show. As it is, the show did change in the last couple of seasons when Andrew Cartmel came in. I think season 26 is pretty strong, myself, but by then the damage was done and the show was perceived as a joke by the upper echelons of the BBC... And not a very funny one at that.

Personally, I was not overly happy with season 7. I am not a Moffat basher (I don't like to bash anybody and I know there are plenty out there who do nothing else but bash him) and I genuinely believe him to be a clever, imaginative storyteller. He really does come up with some great concepts. Where he went astray (in my opinion) was by doing away with two part stories and going for the 45 minute filmic 'blockbuster' of the week. It just meant no story was allowed to breathe and resulted in rushed endings. However, I kind of applaud him for experimenting with the formula. Unfortunately, I don't think it worked!

They say that 'a change is as good as a rest' and that is never truer then for a show like Doctor Who where change and renewal is built into the fabric of the programme. If you look at the end of the Troughton era, the viewing figures were dropping dramatically, the stories were not as consistently good as the previous season and the BBC were seriously considering cancelling it. Then, up popped Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and Jon Pertwee and suddenly we had a totally new series of Doctor Who. Fresh, different and bursting with enthusiasm and new ideas.

So, to summarise, no... Doctor Who would not necessarily benefit from being cancelled (which is what you're really saying) so that it can be rebooted in a decade or so. When the show starts to feel tired and lacking ideas (which could be argued is happening now... We'll have to wait and see how much the new Doctor shakes things up), that is when you take lessons learnt from the end of the JNT era and you get in a new show runner, a new team of writers who have their own take on what Doctor Who can be and you let them run riot and be bold. There's a whole universe to explore... Doctor Who is the one show that need never be cancelled!!!

Daft article considering we are effectively having a hiatus at the moment. Slow day at DofG?

We only get 13 episodes a year plus a Christmas special whereas the average US series is 22. We've got a new Doctor and a new quest and hope Capaldi's incarnation will give us the best mix of Classic and New Who !

We love Doctor Who, but I don't think the likes of Den of Geek, Doctor Who news sites and the media in general are helping the show by focusing so much on each new guest star announcement and trite Moffat and Matt Smith 'revelations.'

After the big event year of 2013, the show should get a bit more humble to avoid disappointing us overly critical fans... or I should just force myself to go back to the days of arriving at each episode fresh.

NO!
Doctor Who needs to stay, I love it.
I do remember being epicly flamed on a DW forum for being the only person unhappy about RTD leaving and moffet taking over, I now visit the same forum and there are pages of hate for him, he has turned out exactly as I thought he would which is a real shame.

No not everyone

I think with only 13 eps a year the key is to have consistently good stories, told well. Is that too much to ask...

Seven months is a long enough break for me, and I was as devastated by the loss of Smith as I was by losing Tennant. As much as these problems may manifest in the future, today is not the day to be jaded, instead, excited! This is the beginning of a whole new story! A whole new set of regenerations! A new new new Doctor! Gallifrey Stands! And we still have to say goodbye to Clara. I find that Smith's regeneration is already the answer to a lot of this article's objections, in the way that it contrasted Tennant's regeneration intentionally. We'd already seen a massive emotional regeneration, drawn out for an hour to give closure to many characters, so instead this time it was like rippin off a bandaid, and giving another perspective on death and renewal. The show has now been fully rebooted, the most comprehensive and perfect reboot ever, bringing the show back to Doctor no1. This is no time to be jaded. This is a time to sit back in awe at this achievement and wait impatiently for the new series.

No I think its doing fine, I'm always quite surprised about the vitriol being hurled at the Matt Smith/Moffat Era stories. I think the show is as enjoyable as its always been (note this excludes Xmas Specials apart from David Tennants first appearance the rest have been rubbish)

Don't be like that. Pretty much everyone thought it was amazing. There I said it so it must be true and it is.

Doctor Who should not leave our screens for anything longer than it does now.

There's not enough shows on TV right now that show that the hero in the story doesn't have to be violent, he doesn't have to kill the bad guys he doesn't have to fight everyone or shoot everyone.

If Doctor Who took a hiatus it would just be replaced by a show like every other show on TV.

We need heroes who can stand up for themselves without having to hit someone or threaten them with physical violence. The Doctor is the perfect hero and needs to never be off our screens lest we descend into just violent show after violent show.

An unusual thought to be fair but not click bait. If anything, a good article should generate a response, whether you choose to keep it to yourself or express it in the comment section is your decision. Long form articles are usually considered pieces and aren't just put up on the website on a whim. If you think you can do better why not try? Den of Geek strikes me as a very democratic website and seems to welcome articles from anyone who can string a few sentences together (admitted some are better at this than others) with something different to say.

Where on earth does this whole "Moffat is divise" thing come from? He's clearly the most popular writer of the modern era (just check the IMDb or any other ratings) and since he took over, the show has even risen in popularity.
Every single era of Doctor Who is divisive. When RTD brought the show back, the classic fans complained about the lack of Time Lords and "soap opera" stories. Since Moffat took over, some people are complaining about his scripts being "poorly done" or whatever.
There will always be criticisms. Moffat is not a very divisive writer, considering how divisive he could be as he has what is probably the hardest showrunner job in current television. It's just that some people seem to really hate him. But the vast majority of people really love him.

Are you insane?! Congrats on instanty becoming the biggest idiot to ever write an article for Den of Geek. What a terrible piece of trash? You know nothing, Jon Snow!!

It's definitely true that Moffat's era is set a lot less in contemporary Britain and the companion's families are hardly involved. But both those things were very particular traits of the RTD era (he was the first one in the history of the show to actually let the families appear for more than one episode or so).
So, it's not those are quintessential parts of Doctor Who. In a way, Moffat has gone back to an approach more akin to Classic Who. Doesn't mean you have to like it, but he isn't obliged to follow RTD's recipe.

stupid

Just get rid of Moffat, get a better head writer like Grant Morrison. Too many breaks these days.

Brilliantly positive, love it !!

If they just got back to producing high quality, engaging, self-contained storylines, ideally spread across one or two episodes rather than crammed into 45 minutes instead of constantly trying to make everything "epic" and feeding into a giant story arc which concludes in the season finale with another huge revelation about the Doctor and his past/future, the show wouldn't feel so in need of a break. It's continually trying to out-do itself in terms of shocks, twists and scale. It doesn't need to be that way. Just focus on great stories, great ORIGINAL adversaries and great writing and save the big, lore-affecting stuff for special occasions.

I thought the same thing. How can a show set in all of time and space run out of places to go? If anything, it just needs writers able to use their imaginations to take us to new places.

I know right? WTF we ain't Ross and Rachel FFS....

I'd say perhaps you are feeling jaded...I was not a fan of the Tennant years at all and in fact there are many episodes I did not watch. The spread out specials before his regeneration actually helped a lot. However the Matt Smith years reinvigorated me and I cannot wait for the new set.

Agree. Doctor Who can change its format whenever required. It has constantly reinvented itself. The Pertwee era begins with essentially only the TARDIS and the signature tune as being a link to the past. The Brigadier is there too but as he only appeared in 12 episodes of the Troughton era (at a time when if you missed the show- you missed it!) its a fair possibility he wouldn't have the same cache as he does when he reappeared in Mawdryn Undead. When RTD brought the show back, he dispensed with the idea of a regeneration scene and literally hit the grounding running. To my mind Doctor Who as a TV property should always exist, how it is serviced is down to each producer/showrunner and the climate of the times. The time will no doubt come when it is "rested" once more but if that means the series which returns would be a massive improvement then where the harm? One thing they must never do is completely axe it. To quote Jeremy Bentham in the Did you See? documentary shown on the eve of the show's 24th anniversary - when many older fans were against Season 24 and McCoy's Doctor (who improved vastly in season 25 and 26): "If you scrapped Doctor Who... you would lose the most flexible format the BBC has ever had - in terms of a show that appeals to both the young and the old... We should be looking to bring eyesight to the blind, instead of taking the guide dog outside and shooting it!"

Concise!

Exactly. Dr Who is hardly on. Look at those mid-season breaks. Especially the one with 7 episodes one year and the other 8 the next year. Dr who is one long hiatus with little bursts now and again. Anyone becoming jaded because they think that is too much Who is quite frankly very strange indeed and maybe should just watch Sherlock and Jonathan Creek.

"Look no further than the criminally under-appreciated take of Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor as a case in point."

Perhaps Doctor Who was "under-appreciated" during Colin Baker's tenure as doctor for a reason: most of the stories were dire and the lead was totally miscast.

There really wasn't much to appreciate at the time other than Nicola Bryant's cleavage.

what is this article actually saying? 'Dr who needs a rest....actually maybe it doesnt' 'Its popularity may dwindle...maybe...in the future' Pile of nonsense

Another hiatus?! Please, we had one in 2008 and the last couple of years we've had Doctor Who here and there with two series broken up in to. I often have the feeling we're on hiatus since the ending of series 6.1 with all those break ups.

EXACTLY!! the "breaks" between seasons are long enough--we do NOT need the show to go on a multi-year break

Um, RTD was the most divisive person to have run the show since JNT when we were in his era. The next showrunner, whoever they are, will be the most divisive too. Basically, whoever is in charge will be devisive, because Doctor Who has a vast fanbase who have all come into the show at different ages, in different eras, with different tastes and different favourite things about the show and different things they don't like. Whoever is in charge will never be able to please all these people, so there will always be people who are unhappy with whoever is in charge. "Get rid of RTD" was just as frequently and loudly heard a mantra on Internet message boards and comment sections back then as "get rid of Moffat" is now. And it'll be just as loud a mantra aimed at the next person to take on the mantle.

His name elicited a rather loud cheer at the Baftas last weekend, the sort normally reserved for someone in front of the camera. Incidentally, this was while a Moffat-scripted episode was being presented with an award voted for by the audience (the first time it's won the audience award since 2006, for the 2005 series, btw so this isn't an annual occurrence).

Yes, get Grant Morrison to run the show. A man with no showrunning experience, who's television experience in general amounts to pitching a show that wasn't picked up, and whose script-writing experience amounts to writing some unproduced screenplays. He'll definitely do a better job than Steven Moffat, a man with a quarter century of experience writing for and running television programmes, who has won countless awards for his work in television (including many for Doctor Who), and who is responsible for the two highest-rated drama programmes in the UK in the last year. Yep, can definitely see the BBC going with that logic.
(I'm not criticizing Morrison here btw, just pointing out that his success and experience, which is considerable, is not in television.)

I honestly stopped reading after that sentence.

The critical reference points of the author were obviously so different from mine that there seemed no point in going on...

Because a 1.5 year break between seasons isn't enough? Because 6 episodes per season is too much?

Viewers CRAVE the show. If anything they need LESS breaks and more production. When the ratings begin to drop significantly, then they can take a break.

I don't know if it is because of last season's rather hit and miss nature, but I do think a rest is needed. Everything is all high stakes now and it is starting to become a little tiring. I still enjoy new who for the most part, but I think it needs a long hiatus - even longer than it has been since S8.

That said, with Capaldi as the new Doctor I think any gap should be when he leaves, after however many seasons. End with him regenerating then leave it for a few years or so.

I don't know. Ask again after the next season. Just get rid of that frakking sonic screwdriver.....

Amen to that, Mr Bisley.

Absolutely spot on, chief.

yep. People forget that Tennant had a gap year with just 4 specials and one of Smiths seasons was split into two which meant in reality two years with just 6 episodes.

I feel the real issue was The Time of the Doctor was a hurried mess which after the great 50th anniversary left the whole year feeling a bit flat.

No

For me Time of the Doctor was not a bad idea but it was way too much to fit into on episode. The whole thing felt rushed from start to finish as we tied up all the loose ends, dealt with the regeneration limit, tired to have a plot line and then finally the Doctor regenerates.

I have no idea why Moffat felt he had to deal with the regeneration limit. He could have easily just said the Doctor had just enough energy to regenerate one more time.

In the end this should have been a least a two parter like the End of Time. Considering how great the 50th was it left me feeling a bit downbeat.

Must have MOAR!... :P

I assume S8 won't be shown until early September when the kids go back to school by the time that happens it will have been off air for over eight months.

That's quite a break anyway.

The classic series was cancelled for 2 reasons. One is the attempted cancellation after season 22, which damaged the show's reputation, and ergo its viewing figures; the other is the fact that it was moved opposite Coronation Street, which ensured that the show couldn't recover from its brief hiatus in the mid-1980s. No other reasons.

The ratings were doing perfectly well before that.

If you actually watch the final 2 seasons with McCoy, you'd see that the show was on a massive upward spiral (an opinion shared by many) and that it could have had great success with better treatment from the BBC (the aforementioned change of schedule; the slashing of the budget; the general disdain towards the show from the higher-ups, etc.). It was developing into a more sophisticated sci-fi drama (as opposed to the sci-fi adventure show it had by and large been for the first 25 years - which was also good) and laid down much of the groundwork for Russell T Davies' Who - more focus on the companion and her backstory, higher emotional stakes, the Doctor becoming an enigma for the companion to figure out, etc. - so saying that it wasn't moving forward for modern audiences is utter nonsense, at least from a dramatic standpoint.

So considering that the 'rest' it had in 1985 is what doomed the original series in the first place, I'm going to go ahead and give this suggestion a resounding 'no'. But an interesting read, nevertheless.

It's your opinion and you're welcome to it, but there are droves of us out there who disagree whole-heartedly! I am also a latecomer to all things Whovian in nature and I am enjoying myself immensely while discovering the Doctor Who Universe. As someone else said, like a junkie with a needle, I am craving new Who. So much so that I find myself going back and rewatching everything just to get my fix. I do not think that they are running out of places to go. They have a whole universe of stories to explore (within budget of course) and plenty of ideas from the past to revisit. I can't wait to see what Capaldi and the many Doctors to come have in store for us. Until then, if you're tired of the show, how about you taking a break.

They had a chance to completely reboot the series when the last Doctor died, and the BBC blew it. They could have had another Gallifreian take over the TARDIS - and use this period to discuss where the other Doctors went when they disappeared.

For goodness sake! This article has really angered me! Doctor Who is NOT running out of places to go or improve, or pull a shock to keep audiences;
1- There is all of time and space and, FFS, we have just learnt that Gallifrey was saved! That is a massive change in the dynamic of the show since its return in 2005 and opens all kinds of exciting ideas and possibilities. I for one cannot wait to see the dynamic between the Doctor and his people post- Time War for the first time.

2- The best actor available at the time is cast; I do not, and neither do others, give a sh*t whether the actor is old, young, male, female, black, white or anything else! As long as we get a fresh take on the Doctor, as we have with every actor ever cast in the role, then I am sure we will all be happy!

3- I've just seen the BBC teaser for the series return in August as I was typing this! The excitement it generates within me says all you need to know about Doctor Who's durability. How many shows can survive a hiatus off screen and yet live on enough amongst a fan base for so long as to bring about interest in what has become an amazing relaunch since 2005?

4- Peter Capaldi

So you want more episodes, just not now, when everyone else wants them?

Well, I suppose we could wait another 15 years until everyone forgets about the show again and resurrect it then. Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant plan! Lightning ALWAYS strikes three times!

Listen, brother, I haven't seen a new episode since X-mas, and before that it was MAY (not counting the Anniversary Movie)! If anything, it's not ENOUGH!!! As a compromise, I'd be happy to pull Moffat off of Sherlock so he could focus on Who. Sound good? Seems they can muster all sorts of effort for Sherlock, but they need to mothball Who for some reason? Sure.

Seriously, though, if you're thinking Who should be taken off the air, you've obviously forgotten how lucky we are that it's back on at all.

Absolutely right, to be honest I reckon even three episode stories would be enough to tell a good story: an episode of setup and introduction; one of tension building and investigation, and one of finale, defeat the monster, grand emotional outbursts etc (but not every time!). Better than the Power of Three: cubes have appeared- a long time is passing, honest- cubes are bad - aliens! - wait, did they let all those people die..? Credits.

This is exactly what I've been thinking for a while... I'd love to see them strand the Doctor in one place for a whole season (or even a whole half season, if they want to stick with that half-season format), and have him develop an attachment to a place, a family, a society or whatever, protect it from a slowly building threat and only then get the opportunity to move on. They could have the TARDIS refuse to leave, or it's controls get jammed or whatever, so he visits the same place over the course of 100 years or something, interacting with several generations of one family (like Steven Spielberg's 'Taken' miniseries, for example)... that way they could save money on sets and sfx and we viewers could develop the sorts of attachments to places and people that the 45 minute format doesn't allow.

I'm personally convinced that Capaldi will be the best Doctor ever. Since the late '60s I've been a fan of the show. Tennant was my favourite, then Christopher Ecclestone, Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee.
Capaldi was compelling in "The Thick of It" he needed good scripts but Armando Ianucci and the writers had the compelling story arc. I thought Capaldi was great in "The Musketeers" too. So as long as the writers can continue to bring great new stories. I know we are on the verge of a new golden era of Doctor Who.

Just a quick request.

One of the reasons Den Of Geek started in the first place was to try and put across more than one point of view on a topic. Lots of us who write for the site have very different viewpoints on Doctor Who, albeit we share a love for it. I think it's fair we reflect that, as this article does.

There are many who disagree with this article, and that's fair enough. The comments are here for you to tell us when you agree and disagree, and to debate the issue. However, for some reason, when we run Doctor Who features, the odd comment has a habit of getting really personal. If you're one of the very few who posts the odd personal comment, please think twice. Disagree with everything by all means, but don't attack someone who's outlined what they thought over a longform piece of writing.

If we were going the 'clickbait' approach, as one or two have suggested, we could easily have saved ourselves 1000 words!

My thanks to Alastair for this feature, which I enjoyed. It's not an angle we've covered before on the site, and I thought it was an interesting piece to include on Den Of Geek.

Simon
Editor
Den Of Geek

Random DW thoughts...

1 - I hope SM's had a very long holiday recently.

2 - Not all story arcs have to be a mystery, a mystery, oo what's going on mystery. Lost was a long time ago now, let's remember that a tale can be told episodically with a big conclusion, but without a big reveal. Buffy did this exceedingly well. Even when there was things to find out, that wasn't all the finale was about.

3 - Multipart episodes are great! They save production costs and allow slightly deep story telling.

4 - The 'we run alot' gag got old a while ago and less running and a bit more plot would be nice.

5 - Plots should make sense. Killing the sun of an entire world then bugging out isn't a very nice thing to do. Some of those 7.2 plots were worse than awful. Oh and let's stop solving things with Love.

6 - Wasn't this show for kids? I know RTD got a bit fluffy at the end, but under him DW was definitely for kids. Moffat didn't make it scarier, just more adult orientated.

7 - Enough Weeping Angels. They were cool, so very, very cool. Now they're over done. Until you can tell me that the entirety of Manhattan failed between them to look, stare or glance at TSoL for whole minutes, then you can't have them in DW again.
Have you ever been to an American tourist attraction?! They have actual armies defending some of them from terrorists...

8 - Use Clara. She's been a plot point so far. Giving her a comedic family isn't character building. Just do something, anything pointful with her. She was too great in her first Christmas Special to simply have her running around and allowing the Doctor to provide exposition.

9 - Let's get some more historical episodes back in there. Space and Aliens are great, but let's mix it up a bit.

10 - No more telling us who the actor is whilst THE SHOW IS STILL RUNNING. That's what credits are for!

"Viewers CRAVE the show. If anything they need LESS breaks and more production."

Isn't this attitude part of the problem tho, everyone wants everything now and constantly and better, bigger and bolder than last time.

A break mightn't be the worst thing, that last series was painfully bad at times. To the point a lot of people who watched the show stopped doing so.

Craving anything isn't healthy! :)

This.

I was one of those who thought SM would be a good thing.

And now I admit I was wrong. He was a great writer, but the show's slipped under him. His vision for things is too big, things get lost and don't tie up. The epic becomes ordinary, we see it so much.

PS. I never flamed you!

Entirely nonsense. What killed the show in 1989 was that John Nathan Turner had been show runner for 9 years - way too long. Prior to that the show reinvented itself stylistically every few years - Troughton's era is nothing like Pertwee's, is nothing like Baker's gothic period, is nothing like Davison's 'TARDIS family'. The show have its highest ratings after it had been on air for 15 years. Writing an article like this just as the most anticipated new Doctor in ages is about to go to screen makes absolutely no sense. If you are tired of the show, here's an idea, why don't YOU take a hiatus, and allow a show thats at a commercial peak to carry on happily without you?

I like your ideas.

They 'blew the change' to ruin the show forever? Glad they didn't, honestly. If there's one show that inherently does not need a reboot, this is it.

"A Christmas Carol"? Rubbish? You don't like ANYTHING about the show that I like then. That was a wonderful piece of work.

An audience of millions disagrees with you

Because 'Hide' massively upped the ante, so did 'The Power of Three' and 'The Lodger' and... oh wait, you are talking nonsense!

You are either not watching the show,, or have no memory. In season 7 only the Time of the Doctor had stakes remotely that big. OK, 'The Bells of St John' and 'the Power of Three' featured threats against Earth, but in every other episode the stakes were much smaller scale, and even those were threats eliminated well short of success.

Not, noir pretty much everyone - just the echo chamber of internet fandom.

Who said it would be a reboot? Peter Capaldi could a different Gallifreian in the same TARDIS without a dozen lifetimes of experience to draw on. And who said that the original Doctor had to stay dead? There could have been an entire season dedicated to where regenerated Doctor's go. The original Doctor could be called from his Eternal Reward to be reluctantly regenerated again.

It could have actually been fresh.

It had a reboot in 2005.

The person who wrote this entire article is an ass. This is the greatest show ever made and any science fiction writers wet dream! The bottom line is a character was created that can travel all of space and time. as long as dreamers can dream this show has endless and infinite possibilities. The story of the doctor and the TARDIS has the potential to last the length of human imagination. Which has a long way to go.

Would love more genuine historicals. Why does the Doctor nearly always have to meet a famous historical figure? In The Visitation he just met a simple villager, Richard Mace, a would-be highwayman and thespian. The rich seam of pure historical in the Hartnell era have a real quality about them today. I often think Pertwee should have done a Regency story as his dandy style would have suited the era so well. Let's get back to adventures and away from high concept navel gazing!

Sounds like the Pertwee era!

Speaking as a lifelong fan of almost 40 years who hated the RTD/Tennant era with a passion and who has only recently started to enjoy the show again over the last few years, may I say with all due respect - get stuffed.

Why do we think a show like DW might need a break when soaps can run all year every year? It already has breaks of months and is off more than it's on.. the show can run and run haha, see what I did there? IF the writing remains strong and the dedication of the team remains strong. How can you say there's no where else to go? we have the whole of time and space.

Thanks :)

A break?
We haven't had a full series without a big hiatus in the middle since 2010. It's felt disjointed for 4 years. I loved Matt Smith's first series but since then it's felt like I've been drip fed just enough to keep the show gently ticking over.

We have only had 13 episodes + 3 specials in two years.
We've HAD the break.

August Bank Holiday weekend.

Who the f$£k is Alastair Stewart and why should I give a s$1t about his retarded opinion anyway?
I hate DOG more and more each day.

The show hasn't even been on ten years yet. Give over with your breaks and becoming jaded.

The issue is not with the show itself, its down to the people in charge having enough ideas and finance to keep the show at a certain level. With more faith from the BBC and a budget and crew who were competent, they could have revived the fortunes of the show, they nearly did during the 7th's run. The problem with the 80's was it had been running for 2 decades, the budget was minimal and they needed to let it rest a while, thats not remotely true right now. Popularity is at an all time high and its a merchandising juggernaut, no company in their right mind walks away from that.

In ten years from now, it will need a break certainly, but right now they have a show runner, who despite his marmite nature with fans, has made a success of Matt Smiths era and is planning to reinvent the show with Capaldi later this year. When faith in the product goes, either from the bbc or fans, then let it rest a while, but until then, let The Doctor run.

the whole point of dr who is regeneration. Not of the lead character but all aspects of the show including the production team so on that basis it shouldnt need a break, it just needs a new team behind it to give it a new burst of creative energy.

it seems to me there are lots of people missing the point here. Yes, there is all of time and space in which to set a story, but only so many ways of constructing a story concerning one main character and a small number of fellow travellers. Also, current devices have been added on to the stories but once added, they cant be reused and yet more new devices have to be found - but that in itself becomes a repeated method. I have loved the reboot, but have found myself wondering where the stories can go next without the Doctor having to repeatedly save the world and making the series jaded. I would prefer the series took a break and left me wanting more, rather than it getting into a state of 'not being as good as it used to be'. A neat article, worthy of more consideration than it has been given.

exactly, we had the Tennant hiatus with just the 4 specials and last year was a hiatus as well, the episodes broadcast last year were actually 2012 episodes held over, remember in 2012 we only had 5 regular episodes, the biggest problem with Who at the moment is the ever changing schedule, give us a whole season every year at the same time of the year in one block and everybody fans and non-fans will be happy.

Casualty has run for over 900 episodes and yet DW is apparently struggling after a couple of hundred stories, need I say more?

Then why don't YOU take a break, and stop watching it? The millions who still love the show can watch it without you. Its not all about you, you know. (I know this is a hard thing for internet 'fans' to grasp, but Doctor Who is a mainstream show with a a cult fandom on top of it - and constantly whining, as it happens, it is not a cult show, it does not need a cult audience, and might well be better off without it)

They didn't kill a sun - that was a gas giant. It would help you to enjoy the show if you paid attention.

"This show should not be on TV" isn't a valid point of view. "I won't watch this show anymore" is, and its something you can actually achieve, unlike the former. If you don't like something, don't watch it. Simple.

No, its a terrible, terrible idea. I guess thats why you are not a professional Tv writer though.

It could hardly have gone downhill from Season 24. Despite much better scripts in 25 and 26 the show still had a woefully miscast lead and a truly appalling faux-teen assistant played by a woman in her mid 20s, not to mention several virtually incoherent scripts (Ghost Light, Silver Nemesis, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy). It was better, but it was still pretty bad. A new show runner was not looking likely, but a new lead (Richard Griffiths) and assistant were due and may well have saved the show. We will never know what might have been. I have been rewatching a lot of classic who and am quite shocked at how few good stories there are after Hinchcliffe left the show. The Williams era had a few gems - 'City of Death', 'The Pirate Planet', but a lot of awful guff too, and the JNT era just killed the sense of fun - it went terribly po-faced and serious, totally lost the ability to cast people who could actually act to play assistants, tried to bring in moments of tragedy and disaster without EVER getting the cast to act as if they were upset (Adric's death, apparent loss of the TARDIS, destruction of Traken etc.) and started being only good once or twice a year. For every 'Kinda' there are 3 'Time Flights' - and things just refused to get better. There were 9 seasons of this stuff, and by the end I was watching pout of habit.

He's been wonderful, truly wonderful - my favourite era of the show by a country mile. The thing is, everyone I actually KNOW agrees with me on this - its only internet fans that seem to hate him - usually people whose favourite Doctor was McCoy, so I should learn to ignore them as insane.

Fair's fair, but I - and I know a great deal of others - consider s25 + s26 to be amongst the greatest we ever had, rivaling Tom Baker's best.

Remembrance, Happiness, Greatest Show, Battlefield, Ghost Light, Fenric and Survival were all top notch scripts that geared the show in a new and exciting new direction. The only stinker of those final 2 years was Silver Nemesis IMOpinion.

I concede that Aldred was a little clunky as Ace - a great actress, no doubt about it, but perhaps a little too high class for a council estate girl.

I have been watching this topic for a day now and while I do not agree at all with the hiatus deal..lets not tear him down.

For Me, my love of Doctor Who started in the early 80s. In the USA, the only way we got to watch Doctor Who was via PBS on UHF channels that in my area were so static filled it was blinding. But even then as I watched John Pertwee do his thing in between snow of static..I was hooked. Hook line and sinker. Finally a PBS station closer to my home got the show and for the first time I saw it clear as day...but...it was strange. That cool older fellow was gone...and in his place was some guy with a scarf that seemed to go on forever.

Thankfully it was during a pledge drive that it was explained that the Doctor regenerates...I was like...what? But the new guy was just as fun to romp around with as the first Doctor I ever saw...and man was my mind blow yet again when I learned that there were even more Doctors. Then the 5th Doctor showed up and do you know what...I had fun with him as well. But something seemed off.

Doctor 6 was when even I as in love with the show as I was could feel that something was wrong. In the US in my small town..I had no idea about the drama going on at the BBC...or really any notion what the BBC was...even though it seemed to be labeled on alot of my favorite PBS shows. And it was with Doctor 7 that I started to not like...let alone love the show that for the past few years had been my Saturday night with my geek pals. And when the show ended...I was sad...but understood that it seemed like there was no heart in the show.

But as we all know that was not really the end. There were books and comics and toys and I am sure toilet paper at some point...but in the US...there was nothing except repeats on PBS.

It was not til I had highspeed internet in 97...thankyou RR for doing tests in my area...I got to visit fan sites and read all these amazing fan stories. And here is the AH SO..the point emerges moment. There is no end to what they can do...it just takes faith in a writer to take us on a trip. Not every story is going to be a winner...but for every "FEAR HER" there is a "THE DOCTOR'S WIFE" Still waiting on someone to do the Cybermen..real justice. But My love? Never stronger.

You do a fair amount of whining yourself. You have had a pop at everybody whose opinion has differed from your own on this comments thread. You can put you dummy back in. Who isn't going anywhere for a while. The sad thing is you make some good points, your attitude just stinks.

How van new worlds gwt boring but being stuck on 2005 London with Rose never does?!?!?!

The worst part is, most of the stuff produced by Lambert, Lloyd, etc, haven't dated as badly as the more recent product have... 45-50 years from the era that took the most risk, yet 0-9 for RTD and Moff and they wouldn't have gotten far without the effort the originals made...

I would hope so!!

It's 21st century media tactics. It works and is successful so why do people complain?

Are you telling people to agree with you? Especially as that was the first word you had said? And why must a show be slave to the "climate of the times", whatever that means since I doubt you're talking about global warming, for which one solution is to halt the manufacture of the television industry, TV sets and all... Less pollution from factories, less junk poorly made that is made to break down more quickly as planned obsolescence, etc...

What's your reasoning behind your reasoning regarding his lack of reasoning? :)

People know that already.

Not as simple.

Very true, on all counts.

People must love how the once-internal regeneration process is now a bombastic weapon of mass destruction that can wipe out masses of Daleks in a single bound. Or wreck the TARDIS for lamentable theatrical pomp(ous) effect. That's good writing?

Sherlock is a masterpiece, even though it has almost zero resemblance to the original. It didn't need to leech off another product, but more time was spent on making that show solid compared to WHO.

Possibly... Granted, millions of smokers insisted what they did harmed nobody... Meaning populism isn't great when the majority is wrong... But if the smokers are still alive, they need machines to help them breathe... Not quality of life, that...

It was that way since 1980... Juvenile every time. Add in the doctor's wife and see why it will be a long time before anyone tries to do the sex change regeneration with any gravitas...

Um, without the HUGE legacy Lambert created, I doubt the revival would have been as well liked... Or successful by any definition of the word... The show was already international in the late 1960s. For more info 4 u, ask Salamander or Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart...

Lots of good but lots of bad as well...

Here's something to consider about Doctor Who - After Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended, there was talk that Josh Weadon expressed interest in running the series. Josh was turned down, almost certainly because he wasn't English.

Talk about a wasted opportunity.

(knowing smirk).

Consider "Star Trek". When they brought back the series back, it was pushed 100 years into the future. The next series got rid of the Enterprise altogether, and instead landed on a space station. Next came a show that took place on the other side of the galaxy. Then the show's timeframe pull back two hundred years. Now the films takes place on an alternate Earth.

The people who produced Star Trek aren't afraid to shake things up - whereas the Whovians are in terror of anything changing.

Hmm... I think if you're going to write an article like this on a website like this about a show much loved by millions then really don't be surprised when people get personal.

Not really "a neat article". The points made are ill thought out & don't make sense really.

The new series is not a reboot, buddy; it's a continuation. Perhaps it's time for you to stop watching. This article is garbage....full of uneducated rambling....it's a total joke. The fact that DOG allowed this garbage to be written shows how shite this site has become!! In fact, anyone on this site who even remotely backs up this article can go F#*% themselves. No true Doctor Who fan would ever say that. Worst. Article. Ever.

Chill out lad. Nobody died.

Well, there was a definite death of intellect here.

Ghost Light is the one script that divides what i like in the show from what people who like stuff i don't like like. I thought it was absolute drivel.

I like the show to have people who act like people in it. Jo did, Sarah-Jane did, Leela did - of the assistants after Romana only Peri was even slightly like a real human being, and her accent let her down. I find the more naturalistic style of companion since 2005 infinitely preferable.

No thankyou!

But that doesn't happen. Here's a list of stories from the last 2 seasons where the world was not at stake:
The Curse of the Black Spot, The Doctor's Wife, The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People. A Good man Goes To War, Let's Kill Hitler!, Night Terros, The Girl Who Waited, the God Complex, Asylum of the Daleks, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, A Town Caleld Mercy, The Angels Take Manhattan, The Rings of Akhaten, Hide, Journey to the Centre fo the TARDIS, The Crimson Horror, Nightmare in Silver, the Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe
That's 20 stories with stakes that were either personal or local in 2 years - so what really is your point?

True, Nathan-Turner was there too long, however it is fair to say one could see a difference between each of the four eras he oversaw. Aside from the TARDIS, there is little to link the distinctly dark and moody later McCoy era to the Davison era, not least thanks to Andrew Cartmel's efforts. The Colin Baker era is, arguably, only distinctive thanks to his costume. Season 22 was too violent and placed in a slot two hours earlier than the one for which it had been intended! So when Shockeye bit the head off a rat at family teatime, suddenly the inappropriate time slot became all too evident. Season 23 and 24 were too lightweight to work as effective drama and are often dismissed for a perceived panto quality - the casting of Bonnie Langford adding to this perception and in itself possibly being JN-T's own attempt to suggest he was bored with the show. There is much evidence to suggest indolence on the part of the science-fiction-hating senior execs at the BBC, who more than likely couldn't be bothered to make a serious effort to look for a successor to JN-T and then suggested there was no-one capable of reinventing the series (in the way RTD eventually did)...

"Whovians are in terror of anything changing"???? Firstly, most prefer to be known as Who fans, 'Whovian' is such a dreadful transatlantic construct! Secondly, why would anyone be a fan of a show predicated on regular change if they were in terror of anything changing? Granted, Star Trek, a show I enjoy btw, has moved on but do you really think Who has stayed still for half a century? I quite like your idea that Capaldi could play another gallifreyan. Would this fact be unbeknown perhaps to Clara but the audience would slowly realise when post regeneration the Doctor acts desperately out of character and perhaps starts carrying a gun? It would certainly chime with Capaldi's new fierce rebel time lord take on the character and could be the basis of a very subtle story arc (much as I hate them!)

Hiatus no, Removal of Moffat yes please. Let's get back to story telling without every episode being obviously or tenuously linked to the previous and always foreshadowing the inevitably disappointing "climax" yawn

What about the doctor's wife?

The greatest threat to Doctor Whos future is less episodes being made not more. There have been way too many gaps in the production as it is. There should be more episodes made. They have a worldwide demand for more product but they seem to be quivering under the financial weight of producing it despite the show making huge sums for the BBC. Its about time that the shows producing the actual revenue for the BBC should receive the lions share of it in their own production. Which isn't the case. All profits go to a pot which everyone has an equal right to touch despite most shows being financial black holes.

Interesting article for the show's 50 and a half year anniversary. (23 May is exactly that).
The show has been sparse for the last 2 years. 2012 was 5 episodes and a special. 2013 was 8 episodes and 2 specials. I fell the show always works better as a continuous run of 13 (which the next one will be). The new series starts in August (1 and a quarter years after the end of the last run of episodes). It feels like it has been on hiaitus.

I must admit, I like your take a bit better than mine. The idea that this isn't the same Doctor being reveals in hints, could be lots of fun.

Best of all, Clara has known EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR. She would absolutely suspect if this one was different.

I think one of the issues peeps have with this article is that Alastair fails to back up his premise. For example, Alastair claims that "there are few places left to go and the show is running out of successes and surprises"...with respect, did Alastair predict the War Doctor or the return of Gallifrey?....I believe that all of time and space gives the writers plenty of scope for a few surprises and successes yet.

Fair point about Clara, I think this could be a workable idea. Even if it isn't (and it would be startling if it were!) a central theme of the new series - there is always next year!

I think the show will at some point take a break yes, or perhaps become bi-annual as another way of keeping the hype between series fresh. However the programme will never run out of places to go or people to visit. The whole of time and space and you expect ideas to run out when there's something new happening every day in reality? Who is to say that the current political uprising in Europe would be an episode one day for example?

Not only this, but the show could benefit from not sticking to the same 'current' Doctor all the time... for example, if Paul McGann is keen on reprising the role, why not give him the Christmas Special this year? The programme's concept is wibbily wobbliy, yet the narrative structure isn't.

Does the show need to change now though? Probably not. And I don't even think the end of Capaldi's run will need it. Probably the Doctor after Capaldi could do with a year or two beforehand... but we never need to see another multi-decade break like last time. The worst idea the BBC ever had...

EDIT: Also, from what I gather, saying production costs was the original downfall of classic Doctor Who isn't entirely accurate. From what I gather, the programme suffered from horrific scheduling changes that made the shows viewership naturally dwindle in numbers. A bit like what Channel 4 did with Brookside when they wanted to axe it but without public uproar. So you mess with the scheduling, and then blame ratings.

While you may not personally like the current narrative format, it's that very narrative format that has made it an international success. I can't see the BBC changing what isn't broken.

I really, truly do not get the point of this article. We are about to enter a new era with Peter Capaldi. We have to wait until August to see the show which has felt like a painfully long time - but it isn't. And you're suggesting 'resting' it now? When it has never been so popular? Be like leaving a party after 1 drink and a pringle. If the show does start to look 'tired' I'm sure we'll see the writing on the wall, but that's a long way off.

Can we have the same article then but change Doctor Who to Star War, Star Trek or any other scifi movie / tv series? Not a lot to defend when your advocating cancelling a popular scifi show ( 'cos Britain has lots, right?) at its height in popularity.

In the context of where the series is at this particular moment in time, what a ridiculous article.

"But there are few places left to go and the show is running out of successes and surprises for its now not so new audience."

The Doctor has the whole universe, during any time period, to explore. The possibilities are endless.

Yes "A Christmas Carol" was I unclear in my statement?
It was Mawkish and overly sentimental and on a purely visual note the shark looked rubbish.

Quantify that statement please - just mentioning some episodes that *in your opinion* 'Upped-the-ante, but then breaking off mid-sentence and saying that I'm talking rubbish, isn't arguing, and more importantly means I don't really know what you're going on about - why so caustic? Just because you don't agree with me?

Also 'The Lodger' was series 5, and my problems (as stated above) were mostly with series 6 onwards. I happen to like 'The Lodger' a lot. Power of Three was ok, but had such a cheesy ending - all of them turning to the camera going on about how the the episode was about cubes, things being 'cubed', 'the power of three'...'there're three of us - d'ya get it?'

"...'a Partridge in Paris'...'A.Partridge in Paris' - Alan-Partridge-in-Paris'..."

I just think the sound engineers on Dr. Who need a break. A long one, to consider the merits of overwhelmingly loud and over-used scores throughout the program.

Why not finally go for a Blake's 7 crossover? I gather that Terry Nation wanted to bring the Daleks into the Blake's 7 universe at the end of season 2. Boy was that ever a missed opportunity for the Blake's 7 franchise.

Great article, with many things to consider, but just one quibble.

The author writes that "the earliest black and white serials seem more sophisticated next to the later series".

I broadly agree, with one qualification. Let's not say 'earliest'. Besides "An Unearthly Child" (which has a magical and eerie quality quite beyond its original remit), the EARLIEST Doctor Who serials really don't seem more sophisticated. The caveman story that followed AUE was rather rag-tag (I'll never forget seeing Ian rip a piece of cave wall away), and subsequent stories were a tad simple in their ambitions. (Think of "The Web Planet", for example, in which an actor is seen literally walking into the camera, backing up, and walking off screen.)

If the author had instead written "earlier black and white serials", then I'd be in complete agreement. Beyond my pedantry, the author's suggestion is completely right. By the time of Troughton and "Enemy of the World" or "War Games" for example, you really are looking at sophisticated story-telling and relatively high production values that put the Candyman to shame, for sure!

YES GIVE IT A BREAK ive been saying this for at least two years now, im not saying end the show, just stop it for five years or so and then bring it back with a huge bang, much like what happened in 2005

I like what you're saying in principle, but if it's to be a change in storytelling style rather than a one-off, they'd need to come up with something less extraordinary than the TARDIS malfunctioning as a reason, otherwise it'd just seem contrived.

Actually, do they even NEED a reason to have the Doctor hang around somewhere longer? If we can assume that we only see a fraction of his adventures on-screen, it shouldn't be unreasonable to also assume that sometimes he stays in one place for many weeks, months or years. No special reason is needed to explain why we're suddenly being allowed to see that.

In truth, the adventures don't even need to span longer periods to have the desired effect. They just need to unfold more slowly to allow more nuance and emotional impact. And fewer silly 'deus ex machina' endings.

This idea is so stupid i'm not even bothering reading the article. With all the year+ long gaps between seasons, season split in two and 7-8 months between airings and all the other crap we've had to put up with a 'break' as the author suggest is idiotic. It would do nothing but cause enough frustration that people might not want to return. I now I'm not looking forward to the next series at all as I feel they made a terrible decision with the next doctor's casting and the continued presence of the annoying Clara just makes it worse. But any Who is usually enough so I will watch it, but I don't have a lot of hope for the future quality. Now these might sound like reason to put it on hold for a while, but frankly, I'm tired of all the delays between the seasons and the split seasons as is, and if they did take a longer break, I would likely never come back to the next iteration of the show.

I must add that I think Moffat is one of the best TV drama writers in the business. RTD too. I don't feel Moff is obliged to follow RTD at all, just that having almost every episode hinge upon the end of the world, universe, galaxy ultimately makes those stakes feel less dramatic. The end of everything has become a weekly crisis and feels a bit "meh."

I disagree with you on that one. I can happily lose myself in a repeat on Gold of almost all of RTD and Moff era episodes.

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