Wednesday, 28 September 2011

News: Doctor Who Confidential axed by the BBC

The BBC is to axe Doctor Who Confidential, the behind the scenes documentary series, as part of the Corporation's ongoing curtailing of programmes.

Doctor Who Confidential, which features behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the hit sci-fi series Doctor Who, as well as interviews with the cast and crew, has aired in an early evening slot on BBC3 since 2005, usually just after when BBC1 has finished transmission of the current Doctor Who episode.

However, with the BBC facing budget cuts of up to 20% across its output as part of its Delivering Quality First initiative, the BBC3 Controller Zai Bennett has chosen to axe the show at the end of its current series.  It is not known if the decision is in any way related to the shows change in format for it's current series, but it is highly likely he feels the show is expendable.

Bennett is understood to be pursuing a strategy of focusing investment on original commissions in post-watershed time slots. Since taking over, he has decommissioned shows including Ideal, Hotter Than My Daughter, Coming of Age and the long-running sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Speaking last month at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Bennett said: "It's about focusing my budget on 9pm and 10.30pm; those are the time slots that count. Budgets are tight, so we have to be sensible with the money we have."

Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General, will unveil the Corporation's cost-cutting strategy – the outcome of the DQF process – on 6 October. It is thought to include proposals to exploit greater synergies between BBC1 and BBC3, with the digital channel acting as a nursery slope for its terrestrial cousin. BBC3 will also fill a greater proportion of its 7pm to 9pm slots with repeats of BBC1 shows.  These decisions come in the wake of the full digital switchover and cessation of the analogue transmissions next year.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "Doctor Who Confidential has been a great show for BBC3 over the years but our priority now is to build on original British commissions, unique to the channel."

It is not yet known what Steven Moffat the Executive Producer of Doctor Who, feels about the shows cancellation.

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