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'Doctor Who Confidential': Was the BBC right to axe it?

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Doctor Who Confidential

© BBC

The news broke yesterday that the BBC had axed Doctor Who Confidential - the long-running companion show to its hit sci-fi drama. Disappointed fans immediately made their voices heard - Digital Spy user Pablo Dillon called the cancellation a "disgrace of a decision" and many others expressed similar sentiments.

However, some defended the decision of BBC Three controller Zai Bennett - "The show has clearly run out of ideas," argued Rob Fitt. "It's retreading old ground much of the time and 45 minutes is too long."

Nevertheless, a campaign to resurrect the show on Twitter - going under the guise of @SaveDWC - has attracted almost 6,000 followers at the time of writing, while an online petition has been signed by over 14,000 fans.

Various figures associated with Doctor Who and with Confidential itself have also lent their support to the campaign. Russell Tovey - who appeared in two Who episodes and narrated the most recent series of its behind-the-scenes show - is following the @SaveDWC Twitter account, while writers such as Neil Gaiman ('The Doctor's Wife') and Tom MacRae ('The Girl Who Waited') have also praised the campaign and / or encouraged their online followers to join the cause.



It's not unheard of for the BBC to reverse a decision following public outcry - the corporation famously rejected a proposal to scrap radio station BBC 6 Music, after members of the public and famous musicians alike slammed the idea.

But was the BBC ultimately right to axe Confidential? Some have argued that the show's 45-minute format - introduced with the second series in 2006 - is excessive, with the 30-minute format employed for the show's launch in 2005 allowing for a more concise and interesting show.

However, others have suggested that Confidential is unique in offering a comprehensive look at television production, suggesting that the show appeals not only to Doctor Who fans, but also to those with an interest in the TV industry. "This show does so much to get young viewers interested/involved in TV production," said DS user Stephen Fewell.



The series has certainly played an important role in the continuing story of Doctor Who since 2005. Current Time Lord Matt Smith was even revealed to the public in a special Confidential episode - 2009's 'The Eleventh Doctor'.

Another highlight of the show's run was 2007's 'Do You Remember the First Time?' - the companion piece to classic Who episode 'Blink' - which saw then-Doctor David Tennant take a stroll down memory lane and discuss his own personal connection with the show.



It remains to be seen if the @SaveDWC campaign or any similar effort will be successful in resurrecting Doctor Who Confidential - the show's axe has been blamed on BBC budget cuts and if the money simply isn't there, then a revival seems unlikely.

But on the surface of things, the Confidential axe seems to make little sense as a business decision. The series has consistently drawn solid ratings for BBC Three - often over 500,000 viewers per episode - and surely with Doctor Who's 50th anniversary coming up in 2013, the BBC should be expanding the brand, rather than cutting back.

The final episode of Doctor Who Confidential will air this Saturday on BBC Three, following the Doctor Who series finale 'The Wedding of River Song' on BBC One at 7.05pm.

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