Doctor Who minisodes have become quite popular over the years.
Originally put together to drum up interest for upcoming episodes, they have expanded to giving viewers essential plot points and resolutions, from River Songs final journey with the 11th Doctor in Night and The Doctor, to the regeneration of Paul McGanns 8th Doctor in The Night of The Doctor.
“I think we now have to accept that online stuff isn’t a spin-off anymore,” said current showrunner Steven Moffat in an interview with SFX. “We used to treat it as a spin-off that maybe some people would watch. And to be absolutely honest I thought they were bank raids – they’d give me some money to do an online thing and I’d say right, what crew do we already have, what actors do we already have, what set do we already have? So we’d spend no money on it at all, whack it out in a day, pump the money into the episode and off you go.”
“But then you suddenly realise something like ‘Pond Life’, which we took much more seriously, had an audience of over six million. You think oh wait, that’s a TV show! That’s just a TV show and a lot of our audience make no distinction between that and the TV show. Same with ‘The Night of the Doctor’. What I think is quite exciting about all that stuff is you’re allowed to do a six minute episode. I actually think ‘The Night Of The Doctor’ is one of the best ones we’ve done, and I don’t think it would be improved by being 45 minutes long. What more storytelling do we need? Arguably always the problem with the regeneration show is everybody’s just waiting for the bit when he dies and regenerates – so why don’t we just do that bit? You don’t feel that you’re short-selling it at all. So there’s going to be more of that, up until the point when all television is like that. And it will be. All television will be downloadable content. It’s coming.”
Moffat went on to say that he plans to take the online minisodes “more seriously”.
“We’ll certainly do some more. We’ll do more prequels and stuff. I’ve been in to talk to the channel controller of iPlayer and say ‘We need proper money for it’, and they’re very keen. And we don’t call them prequels, we don’t call them minisodes, we just call them Doctor Who. That’s all they are. As I say, why not do an episode that’s ten minutes? Or an episode that’s half an hour? It depends what it suits.”
The new issue of SFX, featuring the full interview with Steven Moffat, is on sale now.
Doctor Who returns in Deep Breath on August 23rd.