Do you remember the 22nd of January 2016? We all thought it was going to be a normal day, and by most accounts it was. Then my phone pinged as I was getting all snuggly and comfy in bed; the day had changed. It turns out Steven Moffat was leaving Doctor Who, news that was somewhat inevitable; then the news that, as a result there wouldn’t be Series 10 of Doctor Who during 2016. A lot of people (myself included) were up in arms at the news, but now, just over two months later; I’m starting to think this year long hiatus isn’t such a bad thing after all. Here’s why…
First of all, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t like Doctor Who to turn into a Sherlock model of broadcasting, where you wait two or three years, get bombarded with episodes and then have to wait another two or three years to get any more. In the time Sherlock has managed to produce 10 episodes, Doctor Who has produced 70, I know which I prefer. I do think though that this year break might be great for the show, hence why I’m writing this article. After the news broke, I wrote an article called ‘Why 2016 Could Be The Year For Whovians‘ which I recommend you read after this article, as it basically outlines some of the points as to how Whovians can use this free time to the best of their advantage. This article though is about why I think the show needed a short rest, so let’s get on with it.
To me, viewing figures aren’t important to a show like Doctor Who at all; sure, it was nice when you could get upwards of 10 million people sat on their sofas watching the show on a Saturday night; but since those days, whilst the viewing figures are seemingly in decline, it’s largely due to the fact that the way we watch TV has changed. Before, your only way to properly watch TV was when it was being broadcast, or if you were fancy back in the mid-noughties, you could record it on your Sky+ box. Since then though, everyone’s got access to on demand content, whether it be from iPlayer or recorded or illegal downloads that I really don’t recommend, or iTunes etc. To us media savvy people, this makes perfect justifiable sense, but to the bigwigs at the BBC, a lot of them mistake watching something when it’s convenient for you for not being loyal to a brand. Hopefully, having this year off will mean that they get some perspective and insight as to just how viewing habits have changed and understand the demographics better.
Another reason I feel that this year hiatus is great is because 2016 is a great year for sport apparently. Now, to be perfectly honest, I absolutely despise most sports, they’re utterly pointless to me, but I can kind of see their appeal for people to watch. Now, I’m so done with sports that I’m not even going to research what sporting stuff is happening this year, but I’m pretty sure we’ve an Olympics going on, maybe a Fifa World Cup and probably some Wimbledon and some rugby somewhere; and, as we found with Series 9, people would apparently rather watch sports than Doctor Who (which is totally wrong in my opinion). If 2016 is going to be such a big year in the sporting world, maybe it’s for the best that we don’t deprive these sporty Whovians the opportunity to watch Doctor Who with the rest of us. I’m just being nice.
If there’s one thing I wasn’t a fan of in regards to Series 9, it was the seeming lack of build up or hype on the BBC’s part. I remember when Series 5 was starting, we had TV trailers, we had 3D trailers shown in cinemas, this new Doctor and his companion were seemingly everywhere; it was impossible to miss the news that Doctor Who was starting again in 2010 with everything being brand new, and it was great. Comparing that to what we got in 2015 though, Series 9 seemed to start with more of a whimper than an explosion, which is a shame because it had some cracking stories in it. I remember talking to some non-Whovian friends of mine (yes, I have a few of those) and they didn’t even have any clue that Doctor Who was back at all last year, they hadn’t seen anything promoting it. Hopefully, after having a year off, the BBC will decide to bring the show back with the biggest bang we’ve had since The Big Bang. Lots of posters, advertisement, seeing the Doctor on the side of a bus again. This is Steven Moffat’s last hurrah, and even though I know he’s like Marmite in the Whovian community, he deserves some fanfare for his last series.
Part of the reason that I decided to defend the hiatus is because of my nephew, he’s three now and he’s already learnt a lot about Doctor Who through Uncle Dan (that’s me). He can tell you what a Dalek is, he can tell you what a Dalek says, he knows the TARDIS is bigger on the inside, he’s fully aware that there have been thirteen Doctors and he absolutely adores my Adipose Pop! Vinyl. For me though, he is the embodiment of the next generation. Now I’m not saying that he’s got to be a Whovian, I’m a firm believer that he can be a fan of whatever he wants to be, and I’ll support him. At the minute though, I personally feel like he’s slightly too young to enjoy Doctor Who as a show, I’m not even sure if he realises it is actually a show, or if he thinks it’s just a collection of stuff I have in my room. My hope is though, that by the time the show properly comes back next year, he’ll be getting towards five and will have a better understanding and a better ability to sit still for three quarters of an hour and sit and watch the new series with me. I want to show him the wondrous tales of this madman with a magic box that can take him anywhere and everywhere, just once, to see if he likes it. If he does, he’ll be showered in Doctor Who until he becomes a certified Whovian. No matter what happens after that though, I have another nephew who’s 1, so in a few years hopefully I’ll get to introduce the show to someone I care about again.