Doctor Who Blog

Moffat: No “reduced episode count”

There has been much speculation in fan circles recently over what - and how many - of the next batch of episodes leading up to the 50th Anniversary year in 2013 will be, with some speculation that the episode count is to be reduced since according to the BBC the next batch of 14 episodes will not entirely be broadcast in 2012. However, according to this recently published interview with Steven Moffat in “The Daily Beast”, a reduction of episodes is not the case. Given that the interview contains some mild spoilers for what’s to come which not everyone may wish to click on and read, we’ll quote the relevant bit here:

“First of all, we are airing in 2012. The only thing that’s happening is that we’re moving a bit later…There’s lots of reasons for that that will become clear quite soon…It is certainly not a reduced episode count. Do you think the BBC would really let that happen? With an average audience of 10 million?…Doctor Who’s international profile is huge. It’s never been more successful. You’re not going to reduce a show like this. The opposite is going to happen, in fact.”

Cue the speculation of whether “the opposite” of reducing the number of episodes means “not reducing the number of episodes” or “increasing the number of episodes”. Assuming the latter, it is likely we are talking about a one-off increase for the anniversary year - perhaps with an anniversary special.

The 33rd season resumes in just four days time on BBC1, BBC America and Space. A reminder to everyone who’ll be out enjoying the last couple weekends of summer to set their timer’s and PVR’s etc. We’ll be posting our TARDIS files and blog entries for each episode as always!


> The opposite is going to happen, in fact.

That was an odd extra comment.  With luck, your guess at another full season in 2013 plus an extra anniversary special is correct. 

> The 33rd season resumes in just four days…

Giggling at counting from the old show aside, wouldn’t 26 seasons of old who and six of new be 32, not 33?

Posted by Andrew  on  08/23  at  10:51 AM

Re: the numbers, I count the year of specials as a de facto season , hence getting to 33. DWM doesn’t (they call it “Series 32”) but then they also call The Edge of Destruction “Inside the Spaceship” so what do they know? smile

Posted by Luca  on  08/23  at  02:02 PM

“we’re moving a bit later”
Assuming not all the reasons are somehow story or otherwise Who-related, it’s possible the Olympics and lead-up to it might have something to do with that.  Although, they don’t start until end of July, so there would still be time to have a full series beforehand, if they started around Easter like usual.
So I’m now racking my brain trying to think of why!
I know they aren’t filming yet (as they usually do by this time of year for a spring start), so perhaps it’s down to availability of the cast while they finish up other projects.

Posted by Julie  on  08/24  at  12:31 PM

I still don’t understand the confusion in fan circles. When they split Season 6 it was clear the show was transitioning to a fall start. Two reasons: 1. the ratings in the UK have taken hits due to the springtime scheduling (weather, etc; 2. the 50th anniversary will be in the fall. Also, the introduction of the split season - which was described as “a permanent change” in a magazine article, possibly DWM but I forgot - makes it clear we’ll have half the season in 2012, and half in 2013. The only unanswered question is whether the 14-episode commission given to Moffat includes the 2011 Christmas special or the 2012 special - suggesting there might not be one next year, which is no big deal.

Also, as Julie correctly points out, the spring of 2012 is going to be all about the Olympics on the BBC anyway, so I bet a lot of shows will “clear the decks”. I note, for example, that Merlin, which was originally announced as taking a gap year and coming back in the spring of 2012, is suddenly being scheduled for the fall - maybe to get it out of the way of Olympics build-up?

As far as I’m concerned, the plot doesn’t thicken any further. Now, as for 2013 and Season 8, that’s another story. An increased episode count is possible, though I think a more likely scenario is a feature-length episode or something like that. I doubt they’re going to do a theatrical film as they’d need to be starting to work on something like that immediately.

@ Luca. I go by the BBC’s numbering, and they consider the 2009 specials to be a continuation of Season 4, so I follow the DWM count, too, though informally I refer to it as Season 4.5.

Posted by Alex  on  08/25  at  01:15 PM

So what does he really mean? Does that mean next year there will be a complete 13 episode season with no break then a special or does he just more likely mean that it’s some kind of split with a autumn series of some kind then a special and then the rest in the new year?

Then by more does he mean another 14 in autumn 2013 plus say an anniversary special to make the totals for 2012 and 2013 a combined 29 episodes? That’s a lot of work if they don’t start shooting Series 7 until next year save for this year’s special.

There never was a “reduction” as such just a reallocation but using 14 episodes a year as the norm for 2005-2008 and now 2010 and 2011 then anything less than 28 more by the end of 2013 is a “reduction” of sorts.

If all it in the end is switching the show from spring to fall then it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

The logic of the split season was given as having a season in spring then fall plus a special so the show is only off the air for a few months at a time but even if this fall to new year split is the way then it defeats a lot of this purpose depending when it’s scheduled.

If season’s start around now (Sept)for 6 weeks then it’s only 2 months or so to the special. Then say the rest take place in February that’s only a few weeks later and even if it airs a bit later then it’s still 5 months off or more to the next “series” better than 9 months between but the trade-off now is that before the next run starts it’s almost going to be a year anyway save the one special unless they do a spring one-off.

The point is that unless they really do make more than 14 in a year then it’s really just about scheduling. The ratings are perfectly fine clocking in around the same with the new series overall average being 8 million.

Posted by Ryan  on  08/27  at  10:26 AM

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