Doctor Who Extra: BBC announces behind-the-scenes iPlayer series
James R | On 21, Aug 2014
Doctor Who Confidential is dead. Long live Doctor Who Extra.
The behind-the-scenes programme that once accompanied the BBC’s flagship sci-fi series was cancelled in 2011 to cut costs, a decision that disappointed many fans. Now, though, the Beeb has announced that it is bring back a Making Of-style show called Doctor Who Extra.
The series runs just 10 minutes compared to the 45 minutes that Doctor Who Confidential once spanned, but the broadcast insists it is “much more than a ‘making of’ show, as we follow Peter Capaldi every step of the way throughout the creation of his first season as the Doctor”.
The 12 episodes will be released immediately after the broadcast of the show every week, getting the inside take on Season 8 from the people who made it.
Indeedm the Doctor Who Extra team had “unparalleled access” to stars, including Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson (series regular Danny Pink) plus guests Frank Skinner, Keeley Hawes, Michelle Gomez, Ben Miller, Foxes and many more. Writers, such as Lead Writer/Executive Producer Steven Moffat, and directors also contribute, as they spill the beans on the on and off-screen drama.
The show will aim to attract casual viewers with its “fun, fast pace” but, for die-hard fans, will also take a quick dip into the DW archive for every edition, reflecting on how Who’s history is echoed in this current run.
Doctor Who Extra will, inevitably, be an iPlayer exclusive, only available to watch online – a decision that fits today’s on-demand viewing habits, not to mention the BBC’s active efforts to position the platform as a go-to destination for digital media, be it original comedy or bonus content. It is working, with the VOD platform notching up a total of 260 million views in June 2014, 184 million more than the same month in 2009, when Doctor Who Confidential was on air. Indeed, with BBC Three currently set to become an online-only channel in the near future, the regeneration of BBC Three’s Doctor Who Confidential on iPlayer is a natural one. (Non-demand audiences will also be able to access Doctor Who Extra via the BBC’s Red Button.)
Some fans, though, have taken issue with the much shorter run-time, with other programmes, such as The Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing, given longer accompanying shows on traditional broadcast channels. Nonetheless, Doctor Who is a significantly different type of series. It may not be given the attention reality TV game-shows are, but at present, no other BBC drama has a behind-the-scenes series to go with it. With a little time and space, if the Making Of show is popular – and as iPlayer audiences continue to grow – Doctor Who Extra may yet become a regeneration of Doctor Who Confidential to match Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.