With the announcement of the actor who will be taking over the mantle of the next Doctor coming tomorrow, I can’t help but feel a little bitter at the BBC’s handling of Doctor Who lately.
As recent as series five, Matt Smith’s first year as the Doctor and Karen Gillan’s as his Companion, there was always a veil of secrecy around the sets. Not even the cast knew what was going to happen each episode until they saw the final product on-screen; they wouldn’t even be given full scripts to read, only parts, so as to keep the mystery looming and make each adventure a surprise. The BBC held very strictly to the “keep it secret, keep it safe” mentality and it had worked.
So why are they now deciding to blab everything about the upcoming anniversary special without the slightest concern for spoilers?
When John Hurt’s name was attached to the 50th anniversary special, there was no mystery as to why he of all people would show up. He’d never done anything related to Doctor Who before. Would he be the next Doctor? Would he be a special guest playing a one-time villain/ally? Well, fans didn’t have to look much further than a few lines down that press release. Hurt’s role was confirmed to be that of “the real Ninth Doctor”. And the fandom exploded. What did they mean “real Ninth Doctor?” Was it some kind of misinformation tactic to keep fans from guessing the reality of his involvement?
Apparently not. It was all legit news, and a major spoiler I personally could have lived without. Don’t get me wrong, I adore John Hurt and am thrilled that he’ll be involved with the special. But did the BBC really have to let it be known who he was going to play? They could have just as easily have said, “hey, John Hurt’s going to be there” and left it at that. You know, the whole less-is-more thing where a little vague information actually gets more people talking and speculating and interested in the episode?
Now we’re going to find out who will be playing the next Doctor tomorrow (August 4). I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want to know right now. We’ve still got well over three months before the special simulcasts around the world, and over four months until the Christmas special, which will be Smith’s last appearance as the Doctor. The news of his replacement couldn’t have waited until our little Whovian hearts were ripped out and stomped into the dust by his departure?
True, past Doctors’ departures have been made public months in advance with announcements of the next actor to take on the role of the Last of the Time Lords. But the fact of the matter is that I want to be heartbroken when Matt leaves. I want to be left screaming at my television like I did when River Song’s true identity was revealed in “A Good Man Goes to War”. I want the full emotional punch of not only finding out the Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor was actually preceded by a Doctor who had done something so terrible during the Time War that he chose to block that version of himself out of his memory. By making these announcements, along with leaking several major spoilers, so soon the BBC is denying me that emotional blow.
I’m not too pleased about that.
BBC, please tighten up your security to stop all future leaks. Or at least stop spoiling everything on Facebook, Twitter, and in your teasers.
About Reporter Michelle Lawhorn:
Michelle, a.k.a. Stormraven, is what can only be described as an eclectic nerd. Her interests and expertise range from Doctor Who to Lord of the Rings, cosplay to comics, and Bollywood to opera to name just a few. When not raving about her “fandoms”, she can be found spending time with her family and adding to her ever-growing list of Things to Cosplay. She can currently be found searching for more Star Wars material to feed her new found obsession with the Clone Wars.