Peter Capaldi would appear to feel the need for expert advice before he starts work as the new Doctor Who.
Mandrake spotted the Scottish actor lunching with Matt Smith, the incumbent Doctor, at the fashionable Wolseley restaurant in London yesterday.
“It looked like quite a jolly lunch,” whispers a fellow diner. “Peter was laughing a lot.”
Alas, the journey home for Smith didn’t look like it was going to be much fun. He was on a crutch and I didn’t see even one Tardis parked outside.
Once again, rumours have resurfaced that the BBC’s ‘Doctor Who’ documentary strand is to return to TV as part of the corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebrations of its long-running science-fiction drama series. Doctor Who Confidential (DWC) is the popular documentary strand that ran for seven years on BBC 3, accompanying almost every new episode of Doctor Who.
In July, the Radio Times reported that Doctor Who Confidential was to make a one-off return in a special installment to announce the identity of the person chosen to play the Twelfth Doctor. Confirming that the long-awaited casting announcement would likely be made in August, Radio Times added that the BBC had given “serious consideration to unveiling him (or her) on a surprise Doctor Who Confidential.”
In 2009, the BBC had done just that when they unveiled Matt Smith as the actor who would replace David Tennant, to play the Eleventh Doctor. At the time, Doctor Who Confidential: The Eleventh Doctor was watched by 7.5 million people in the UK.
Despite the series’ continued popularity and high viewing figures, however, the Controller of BBC Three, Zai Bennett, announced in 2011 that he was scrapping it, much to the annoyance of Doctor Who’s showrunner, Steven Moffat, who publicly criticised the decision. “[It] seems hard to grasp. All shows have their time, and all shows end, but not, in all sanity, while people still watch and love them […] I’m not supposed to say it, but I’m going to anyway: bad day, bad decision,” he said.
Many viewers agreed with Moffat, finding it especially perplexing that Doctor Who Confidential was being given the chop on the run-up to Doctor Who ’s half-century celebrations.
Since its demise, the BBC have produced an ongoing series of mini-Doctor Who Confidential-type webisodes, but fans have continued to call for the reinstatement of DWC itself.
As it transpired this time round, for the announcement that Peter Capaldi was to take over from Matt Smith, in this year’s to-be-named Doctor Who Christmas special, BBC One broadcast a live-event programme – on Sunday, 4 August. Broadcast simultaneously in the United States, on BBC America, Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor garnered well over 7 million viewers in the UK alone, with fans in many other countries following proceedings via the Internet.
While there is still no official news as to whether DWC will return, it has emerged that BBC Three is working on some sort of programme for the anniversary; thanks to the British comedian Tom Craine. Writing on his official website, Craine says, “Delighted that I’ll be appearing as a guest on a forthcoming BBC3 show celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who. Wouldn’t put it past me to have a few stern words to say about the Daleks.”
BBC Three’s reluctance to re-commission Doctor Who Confidential remains a bone of contention with Doctor Who fans. Writing on Digital Spy earlier today, Ben Dawson sums up the general attitude, commenting that he was “surprised to not see an announcement for a one-off return of Doctor Who Confidential for the 50th Anniversary. They say the show covered all there was, well with the amount of special moments happening in November, I doubt that’s the case anymore. All that backstage footage of Matt and David meeting […] it must have been archived, so why not whack it together for Confidential?”
Of the latest piece of information, the popular Doctor Who blogsite Blogtor Who says, “It is believed that it will be a ‘50 Greatest’-type list show (common on the channel), featuring comments and thoughts from diverse humans from all over the media quagmire.”
Three new Doctor Who specials have already been confirmed for broadcast towards the end of 2013. The actual 50th anniversary itself – Saturday, 23 November – will see at least three Doctors join forces for the first time in a feature-length episode penned by Moffat. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors (Smith and Tennant) will be joined by a previously unknown incarnation of the Time Lord, played by John Hurt, who was introduced in the closing moments of The Name of the Doctor, earlier this year.
Also scheduled for November is An Adventure in Space and Time, Mark Gatiss’s 90-minute drama telling the origins and early years of Doctor Who. In it, David Bradley will be seen recreating the First Doctor – originally played by the late William Hartnell – while Reece Shearsmith will play the Second Doctor, originally brought to life by the late Patrick Troughton.
The third confirmed special is this year’s Christmas Day episode, again written by Moffat. This is the story that will spell the end of the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure and introduce Capaldi as the Twelfth incarnation.
Massive potential, therefore, for Doctor Who Confidential to return. However, only Time and the BBC will tell.
Do you want DW Confidential back, ONTD?