It looks like Private Eye might have been right after all. The satirical magazine was at the centre of a spat not so long ago when it suggested that the reduced number of Doctor Who episodes we were getting was down to cutbacks. Producer Steven Moffat was quick to hit back to say that the reason we weren’t getting the usual 13 episodes plus a Christmas special, 14 altogether, in 2012 was to clear the decks for the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebrations.
Fair enough, cried fandom. The rumour mill has went into overdrive though following the release of the February edition of Doctor Who magazine which contained the following sentence:
“There’s a special anniversary EPISODE next year”.
While there has been no comment from the BBC or the production team about what could just be a throwaway line in a magazine, it’s worth remembering that this is an officially BBC sanctioned magazine that has the full backing of Moffat and the crew, it’s unlikely it would get something like that wrong.
We know that eight episodes are coming in March /April and the magazine also confirmed that:
“the next production for BBC Wales’ Doctor Who team will be the much anticipated 50th anniversary ADVENTURE.”
That’s two references in the official magazine that refer to the anniversary celebration in the singular, it doesn’t correlate with the sentiment that there’ll never have been as many episodes shown in a year as 2013 that was pedalled last year by the production department.
With the eight episodes in the spring, the 50th anniversary special and the Xmas special that is a total of 10 episodes.
That’s some way short of the 14 minimum we’ve been getting every year with the exception of 2009, since the show was relaunched. Needless to say message boards, especially on gallifreybase.com are full of angry comments from fans who feel badly short changed with this news. There are those among Who fans that aren’t happy with the direction that Moffat’s taken the show in, not least with the changes in scheduling to accommodate his other pet project, Sherlock. This news, if true of course, is unlikely to change that sentiment.