Doctor Who

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Sascha (sab)
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Doctor Who

Post by Sascha (sab) » Jul 31st 2005, 1:13 pm

Did we really not have a topic for "Doctor Who" yet? Strange.

Anyway, here's an explanation why the amazing revival of the "Doctor Who" franchise is not airing in the US:

From the blog of film critic James Berardinelli:

It almost happened, but, as things are wont to do, the deal fell apart at the last minute. The Sci-Fi Channel was on board until they read the small print in the contract. Not only would they be buying the rights to the new 13 episodes, they would be buying the rights to all of the previous 26 seasons. But Sci-Fi didn't want that - they only wanted the new stuff, and didn't want to pay for something they didn't intend to use. The BBC would not relent, so there was no deal. The best chance U.S. audiences have to see "Doctor Who" on television probably rests with BBC America - but they cannot currently afford the program. (Yes, BBC America has to pay the BBC for programming, although I presume it's at a discount rate.)
Last edited by Sascha (sab) on Jan 26th 2006, 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Doctor Who

Post by starbug » Aug 1st 2005, 5:44 pm

Sascha (sab) wrote:Did we really not have a topic for "Doctor Who" yet? Strange.
Hm. That is hard to believe.

It's a shame that the US won't get to see the new series. I watched a couple of the eps with Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor, and I have to say, I liked them but they weren't overly fabulous. They were also in a stupid timeslot - Saturday 7pm. I'm hardly ever in, and I have trouble remembering to set the VCR. As far as Ecclestone goes, I thought he was OK. But the 10th doctor looks from that image as though they have had in mind a toned down Tom Baker. Now, while I agree with all those who feel Tom will never give up his crown as the best and most wonderful incarnation of the Doctor, I do believe a move back in that direction, stylistically, is a good thing. Ecclestone's doctor was just a bit too slick for my liking, and not nearly eccentric enough (well, there was some contrived eccentricity in there, but to my mind that defeats the purpose). I will most certainly be tuning in.

I know a girl who works for the BBC and does alot with their intellectual property rights, in terms of who gets rights to what, and why. Her area is children's programming, and I'm pretty sure that includes Doctor Who, technically. I certainly remember she knew alot about the inception of this last series. I will ask her what the deal is with BBC America not automatically getting rights - I bet she knows.

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In Memory Of My Northern Star

Post by special_k » Aug 2nd 2005, 4:10 am

BBC America is a poor outlet for the series...something to do with the charter, if I recall. In essence, Auntie would pay herself for her own programme. Another of the deal breaker's stateside was that it was felt the series was "too British." Excuse me? What did they think they were watching to begin with?

As to the anorak brigade, most of us grew up with an "eccentric" Doctor. However, that kind of silliness just doesn't translate well into the modern market that genius head writer/producer Russell T Davies was aiming for. The idea with Eccles' look was that he ought not stick out like a sore thumb everywhere he and Rose ventured. Don't know why some didn't find him unique enough. I thought he was nothing less than fantastic. Oh, and the outfit was chosen by David Tennant himself, perhaps with a slight nod to the past. Thank heavens that's far as it goes. One of the blessing's of the new series is the fact it's not weighed down by 30 some odd years of stale continuity. It can nod to the past, yet move boldly forward. Thus far, it's worked quite well.

The new series was commissioned by the Controller of BBC Wales, Jane Trantner, and rests quite comfortably within DRAMA. Don't think it's looked on as a children's programme any longer though, thankfully, families are watching together.

Filming for The Christmas Invasion took place in London over the last several days, with Peter Davison paying a visit to the dressed counsel estate to meet new 'Doctor' David Tennant.
"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong, and those are the ones that change your life."

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Re: In Memory Of My Northern Star

Post by starbug » Aug 4th 2005, 6:09 pm

special_k wrote:Another of the deal breaker's stateside was that it was felt the series was "too British."
This has always irked me as a reason for not broadcasting stuff that's British straight onto US television. I think it's actually quite patronising to the American public.
special_k wrote: However, that kind of silliness just doesn't translate well into the modern market that genius head writer/producer Russell T Davies was aiming for.
Yes, I can see the arguments behind this, and I agree that Russell T Davies is very very good. I just don't like to see heritage completely left behind, modern market or not. I'm not particularly old, but I do remember Tom Baker with the utmost fondness, and part of it was the fascination in him being so cut-against-the-gain, and outright bonkers. I didn't really care whether he stood out everywhere he went - in fact that was a positive bonus since it added comedy.
special-k wrote: Oh, and the outfit was chosen by David Tennant himself, perhaps with a slight nod to the past.
Good. I didn't know that.
special_k wrote:It can nod to the past, yet move boldly forward. Thus far, it's worked quite well.
True.
special_k wrote:]The new series was commissioned by the Controller of BBC Wales, Jane Trantner, and rests quite comfortably within DRAMA. Don't think it's looked on as a children's programme any longer ...
I will ask my friend. I am pretty sure she dealt with (or at least helped with) the licensing of the last series, and she was certainly obliged to all sorts of confidentiality. She's in-house legal counsel for the BBC (one of many).

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Post by starbug » Aug 15th 2005, 7:56 am

So, I asked my friend about it, and she said that the reason BBC America doesn't automatically get rights to the show is because it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BBC Worldwide, and legally a separate company (we didn't cover why it's a separate company but I'm sure it has to do with compliance with US laws, and tax reasons, or something like that).

Because the BBC is funded by the British taxpayer, it has an obligation (like all public authorities really) to get the best return on that investment possible. Thus, there is a requirement for 'arms-length commercial exploitation' - the reason BBC America don't get any preferential rates is because they must be treated just like any other company. From what I understood her to be saying, BBC America have a first option on any show made by the BBC, but the BBC have to take a 'market' rate for their programming. They're not allowed to give it to BBC America at a cut-price rate, because that's depriving the UK taxpayer of a valuable return (in the sense of more money to the BBC to keep licence fees down, and make better programmes) which they could get from (say) HBO. So, if BBC America can't pay up, it goes out to a different company who can. Apparently this is what is currently happening with the TV series 'Extras'; after the success of The Office, Universal (I think she said) have steamed in and offered some ludicrously high figure that BBC America have no hope of being able to match (the figure of $900m sticks in my head but I could be wrong). It's possible the same thing happened with Dr. Who but she thinks not - it's more likely that BBC America just don't want it. If they have to pay for it, they have to ensure a decent return.

She is currently involved in the new Dr. Who series, and all the related merchandising/licensing within the UK etc but she couldn't say much because of confidentiality. I did get to hear some interesting anecdotes though. All she could say was that the cybermen are making a comeback, but that's already public domain apparently.

Also, just for interest's sake, there is a definition of 'children's programming' which is that:
at the time of production, it has to be intended to be predominantly of interest to children aged 13 or under.
It is quite complicated and vague, but at least there's a definition.

Now, how many of us wish we had her job? I do!!

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Post by EricMontreal22 » Aug 25th 2005, 2:53 am

Strange though--I'm nearly sure CBC in Canada didn'thave to buy all past years... They got to air it almost just a week behind the UK and had lotsa tie in things (ie special intros for Canada by the stars, etc)

Great series--I watched it solely because Russ T Davies is one of my fave tv writers ever--if only from his tv shows Bob and Rose, the original QUeer as Folk and his sci fi mini series Second Coming--but was very pleasantly surprised

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Post by Sascha (sab) » Jan 12th 2006, 6:23 pm

SciFi will air "Doctor Who" in the United States:

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.ph ... 0&id=34141

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Post by special_k » Jan 20th 2006, 11:46 pm

What did everyone think of The Christmas Invasion, with David Tennant's debut as The Doctor?
"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong, and those are the ones that change your life."

Jessie, "Once and Again"

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Post by Sascha (sab) » Jan 26th 2006, 8:03 am

Well, it was an okay episode. David Tennant is in a difficult position following Christopher Ecclestone who was a brilliant fit for the "new" Doctor. But he did a good job and I liked it. But I admit I missed Ecclestone big time.

In some scenes I waited for Tennant to pull out a towel and "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy", especially when he fought in his pyjamas against the evil aliens. The whole episode reminded me a lot of the "Hitchhiker".

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Post by special_k » Apr 9th 2006, 3:53 am

THe Doctor and Rose are back! Series two of Doctor Who begins transmission at 19.15GMT on BBC-1 with Doctor Who Confidential following at 20.00GMT on BBC-3. :D

New Earth finds the time travelers visiting a planet colonised by humans long after the destruction of earth. During their brief stay, they'll encounter an old adversary, and a figure from their past will have a mysterious message for the Doctor, that shall change a great many things.

Series one also continues on the Sci-Fi channel with the pivotal episode, DALEK. Friday nights, 21.00CDT.

~Kassandra
"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong, and those are the ones that change your life."

Jessie, "Once and Again"

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Post by special_k » Apr 13th 2006, 9:26 am

Series two was recently launched in Cardiff, and judging the excitement of the attendant journalists, we're in for quite a ride this year. It seems the entire cast were present alongside Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner, and director James Hawkes. It goes without saying that all were stunning.

BBC Three aired a stand-alone episode of Doctor Who Confidential Saturday last. The double length episode took a look back at series one with special emphasis on the production angle of the series. Will Cohen of effects house The Mill spoke at length about what it was like working on each episode, his excitement quite evident, as opposed to a near comatose colleague in the same piece.

It's evident that this year we'll see more backstage access, as two scenes from The Christmas Invasion were shown being filmed in some detail.

New Earth premieres Saturday at 19.15GMT on BBC-1 with a new episode of Doctor Who Confidential following at 20:00GMT on BBC-3. The trip of a lifetime continues. :)

By the way, you may wish to have a look at the offerings of http://www.whona.com as they are the North American carrier of the Doctor Who line of books, magazines, action figures, and other assorted collectables. Really great people.

~K.
"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong, and those are the ones that change your life."

Jessie, "Once and Again"

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