Some thoughts on the way the BBC handled Class

It’s no secret the Doctor Who spin-off hardly broke ratings records, when it premiered on the IPlayer a few months ago.
It’s recent terrestrial broadcast didn’t fair much better either, pulling in just 0.94 million when it aired on BBC One earlier this week.

Even though it did manage to build a fanbase. A second series looks unlikely. Members of the cast have even been retweeting a petition for a new series.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at the way the BBC handled the show.

From announcement to broadcast, the BBC have handled the show rather poorly.
I mean, logistically speaking. Who in their right mind launches a spin-off show, that doesn’t feature pre-existing characters (in a lead role), when the main show has been off the air for a year?

Yes, I know Star Trek did shows set in the same universe.
As did CSI, but those were different. Those were expansions on already familiar concepts. If you call a show CSI:Miami, there’s instant brand recognition, same with Star Trek.

With the upcoming Star Trek:Discovery, we already basically know what to expect. We can guess the key ingredients.

Just what is Class to the average channel hopper?

When Torchwood launched in 2006, Doctor Who was at its height of popularity. It featured a recognisable character from Doctor Who. There was brand familiarity.

What the BBC have essentially done, is give a Friends spin-off, to a character that never appeared in Friends. Mental.

 

Doctor Who meets Mr.Men

Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Children’s (DW’s global publisher) , will publish these stories in the UK.  Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House is master publisher and will release twelve titles, one for each Doctor.

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These storybook mash-ups, written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves, combine the iconic storytelling of Doctor Who with the whimsical humor and design made famous by his father, Roger Hargreaves. The first four books will be available in Spring 2017.

Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Random House Children’s Books, said, “As the global publisher of Doctor Who and champions of books which push creative boundaries, we are delighted to be publishing such unique and fun stories. We’re confident and excited they will appeal to the thousands of Doctor Who and Mr Men fans around the world”

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Jan Paterson, Head of Book and Audio Publishing, BBC Worldwide commented, “We are thrilled to be teaming up with Sanrio on this fantastic project and think that fans will love these creative incarnations of the Doctor reimagined in the ‘Hargreaves’ style. We’re always looking for innovative ways to engage our fans so this is the perfect partnership for us.”

Alastair McHarrie, Licensing Director of Sanrio Global Ltd added, “There is a wealth of unofficial fan-created content online. We wanted to give something back to these supporters so we’ve created the first official Hargreaves mash-up. Who better to partner with than another classic British property, Doctor Who. We couldn’t be more excited.”

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Francesco Sedita, President and Publisher of Price Stern Sloan, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, added, “It is such a special moment for us to unite these two great properties. Our books bring Hargreaves’ wonderful, fun style to the mysterious, magical world of Doctor Who. I know we’re going to delight fans of all ages!”

 

 

John Barrowman announces The lives of Captain Jack 

Earlier this year John Barrowman spent a week recording various projects for Big Finish. One of those included an audio with Camille Coduri. There was a lot of fan speculation at the time, as to what this audio could be. Barrowman took to Facebook tonight to announce the four-part audio series ‘The lives of Captain Jack’.

Released in June 2017, The Lives of Captain Jack is written by Guy Adams and James Goss. The stories include:

THE YEAR AFTER I DIED: Set in the year 200,101, on an Earth ravaged by the Daleks, we see Jack struggling to save humanity from its oldest enemy.

WEDNESDAYS FOR BEGINNERS: Jack and Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) must unite to rescue the Powell Estate from a force whose name Jackie can never say.

ONE ENCHANTED EVENING: Captain Jack and Alonso Frame (Russell Tovey) have only just met. But why did the Doctor want them to be together?

MONTH 25: He’s the young star of the Time Agency, and his whole life is about to fall apart. But that’s not going to stop him winning.

Christopher Eccleston regrets not doing more Doctor Who

Long-term readers may remember that way back in 2011, Christopher Eccleston told us that he left Doctor Who, because of the “bullying ” during the production.

Over the years, he’s expanded on this. But recently during an interview with 774 ABC Melbourne, he expressed regret in not staying on for another series.

He said:

“It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and again, production did not allow for that. It’s very important that on a first series you make an informed and intelligent choice, even if it means breaking the budget, about getting the first director who is going to set the tone for the season, how the actors relate and that did not happen. Disaster.

But, the show has survived. Thank god. Capaldi and Matt and David are just brilliant and, I Know how brilliant they are. Because I’ve been inside it. I know how difficult it is.”

You can hear the full interview down below.

Power of the Daleks to be released as an animation 

After weeks of speculation, it seems that the long-lost classic story featuring Patrick Troughton’s debut as the second Doctor is to be released on digital download and DVD, later this year. 

It’s one of the Doctor’s most celebrated adventures and held in extremely high regard amongst Doctor Who fans, yet no complete film recordings of The Power of the Daleks are known to exist. The master negatives were destroyed, when the BBC decided to wipe their video tapes in an archive purge in the early 70’s.

Earlier today, a page advertising the project was accidentally launched early on the BBC store.


BBC Worldwide are expected to confirm the news at midnight  tomorrow. 

The story has been animated in black and white and uses the original audio recordings, with the original cast.
 

The six half hour episodes feature the regeneration, or as it was then called ‘renewal’, of First Doctor William Hartnell into Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, as the Time Lord and his companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) do battle with the Daleks on the planet Vulcan.


Of course, this isn’t the first time a Patrick Troughton story has been animated. The Invasion used animation to replace two missing episodes. 

Power of Daleks will be released on BBC Store on Saturday 5th November followed by the DVD on Monday 21st November. Let’s hope this is one of many.

 

David Tennant to guest on Family Guy 

San Diego comic con is in full swing. At the Family Guy panel, it was revealed that former Doctor Who actor, David Tennant will briefly reprise his role as the Tenth Doctor, when the series returns later this year. 

Tennant will appear as the tenth Doctor, in a breakaway scene in an episode of Family Guy. Other sketches include a remake of the princess bride, with Stewie and Bill Cosby.