Is Fan Ownership A Problem for Doctor Who Producers?

Do Doctor Who fans expect and demand too much? Should they be “offended” when the show goes in a direction they don’t like, or an episode or character behaves in a way that conflicts with their perceptions? These and many other questions are asked in this week’s podKast, in which James McLean and Brian Terranova attempt to get to the bottom of a few issues in fandom – such as fan ownership – that have been bugging them.

Whether they succeed in resolving these issues is something you’ll have to tune into the podKast to find out…


The podKast theme tune is by Russell Hugo. It’s good, isn’t it?

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13 thoughts on “Is Fan Ownership A Problem for Doctor Who Producers?

  1. No two fans want the same things. If the powers that be listen to everyone no one is happy and the result is a compromise that satisfies nobody.

  2. Everyone will have an opinion and can’t agree on the same things. They are also very fickle…

  3. Haven’t listened to the podcast – maybe AFTER the cricket πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ but my instinctive response to the title is like Rick714’s.
    Peter C may have said Doctor Who belongs to us, but that doesn’t mean we have rights over any particular production, idea or performance. There is no ‘right’ way to like Doctor Who. Turning a cartoon monster into an analogy for the soul-sapping thought-police ‘fans’ is one of the good things Rusty did in L&M. If I had written it (!) then the decent fans he absorbed would have changed the monster into something better. It’s the cricket bringing out the optimist in me!

    1. oh, yeah, I would have written it that way, too. I almost wish we could have seen Smithy’s take on that episode, since he had that childlike air. πŸ˜‰ nice one, Bar! ;))))

  4. I have enjoyed the last two weeks podcasts. I think you are tapping into a serious issue here.

    In the 1990s, while we had DS9, Voyager and so running, George Lucas chided Star Trek for going to the well so many times. Yes, I am well aware of the irony. But I think what you pointed out is true. There were 150 or so serials in Classic Who over 27 years. There’s 106 stories of NuWho in the past decade.

    There’s only so much you can do with one milieu.

    Oh, and something I saw this week was quite interesting, and fits perfectly. In the past week, I saw “William Shatner presents: Chaos on the Bridge.” I’ll let you seek out the trailer on YouTube. It covers the first three years of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Roddenberry did tie his writers hands. Best line is Maurice Hurley announcing that Roddenberry’s ideas for the future of humanity are wacka-doodle! The conclusion points out that the show only truly became memorable when they dropped the constant issue of the week stories and began to focus on how the stories affected the characters. Like Brothers, where Jean-Luc seriously thought about leaving Starfleet.

    If they want Who to continue, there should be fallout from Clara almost leaving, and Danny’s death. Bet you it all gets forgotten within ten minutes.

    1. I would love that. Even though Doctor Who is about new characters, new settings, new adventures, I want some string of continuity. Every event should be a remembered history.

      I’ve really grown to like serialized shows, more so than episodic ones. The episodic format is so old sitcom-esque, where the default conditions are reset each episode.

      My favorite comedies include Archer and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – they constantly engage in new situations, but everything is remembered and factors in to stuff. This develops great running gags, and a real sense of characterization.

      Daredevil on Netflix does this very well. It’s less of the villain of the week stuff you would get with action shows of the past. Many of the villains overlap, and in the first episode much of the cast is revealed early on to the audience, but not the protagonist. You can see hints of their plans, but none of the particulars. For instance, you see gang members looking over street maps making notations, but what for? You see a gang involved in a massive drug market, but it looks like fairly typical crime fair. And it just evolves.

      Breaking Bad was much the same way. Doctor Who needs to go in the same direction. As much as I didn’t care for the poorly executed Danny-Clara romance, it needs to have an influence on things to come. I don’t want to interrupt every episode, or take significant lengths of screen time. But if Clara is an essential character, and she lost the love of her life, that is a part of her character. It needs bearing in certain moments, like when dealing with a romantic prospect. And the Doctor needs to do something about Gallifrey. If he’s going to look for it, look for it.

      1. Please no more Paternosters though. Dan Starkey is a great actor, but each of the three was a one-off joke that has been told five times or so already.

        I agree the romance was handled badly. I still can’t figure out why Danny had to die. I think the two of them should have been together after that speech of “I don’t care what you do. Just please please stop lying to me. Trust me!” in the Forest episode,

        1. I don’t care for their return either. It was more wishful thinking about how they should have be done: have their appearances condensed into a few adventures back to back, perhaps with some serious characterization to balance out their humorous side. But it’s far too late, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t keep pooping up.

          1. No worries. Yeh, had they left off with the “Hi, I’m a man hating lizard, this is my wife and my over the top militaristic human hating sidekick” I would have liked them a little better.

  5. Fascinating to hear the differences ‘across the pond’ that you raise.
    Who began in a world with no advertisers requiring mass audiences, and no social media. Just a couple of TV channels and a shared experence watching it. Consequently it is so ingrained in our British culture that the queue ground to a halt in A Popular DIY store yesterday because I was wearing a TARDIS top. The young guy on the checkout, the one on the checkout beside, three older people in the queue and I spent a happy few mins discussing when it will be back on screen and who the best Doctor was etc. V good-natured and all left with a smile. I was the only woman.
    It seems like the huge comicon fans are equal male/female, younger, and represent a ‘powerbase’ as you call it, not a powerless uncool geekery we lived through over here. They’ve come to it in a world of narrowcasting and netflix, and crowd-funding. And they are all immediately tweeting selfies for each other’s entertainment. And posting fanart/fiction on tumblr… and seem to care about the relationships as much as the plot. British ‘reserve’ is dissolving in the tide of emotional responses.
    Whatever our age and experience of Who, we now live in a more interractive world. But is the newer, younger, more tech-savvy and emotive – or ‘louder’ as you suggest – audience more appealing to the advertisers? are they more active consumers? Maybe the problem is not the kind of fan, nor the influence they ‘demand’ on the creative team, but the influence of those who have to fund and sell ‘our’ show, in cosy little uk, and across a much larger world. Maybe instant emotional response is more lucrative than slow-burn, mulled-over opinions which develop through conversation on sites like this.
    Much as I applaud your call for challenging the audience with a more alien Doctor, not made to conform by his human companion, I fear that showbusiness is too risk-averse. They’ll try Missy ‘cos it’s a human, socially current issue. But imaginative, alien Otherness and uncertainty are off the agenda.
    I do hope I’m wrong!

  6. Christian’s opening was rather funny. Good job on that.

    There were pseudo recommendations. πŸ˜‰ I agree that a lot of people came to DW via Matt Smith, but I think many new Who fans at least in the US found it via Netflix. For me when you start watching and what Doctor was your first would be a major factor. That’s true with any long running show.

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