Sunday, September 05, 2004
I've been thinking about the new series of Doctor Who quite a bit (as you might expect) and having seen the coverage being given to it by the various magazines, I'm finding it amusing how they're all trying to outdo each other with the coverage, while trying terribly hard not to 'spoil' anything. One of the magazines has a sealed section wherein there are 7 pages of photographs and a location report. Others have interviews with the designers and of course with Russell T Davis ... it's all very interesting. Now cast your minds back ... I'm old enough (!) to remember when Season 12 was on, and I still remember the continuity announcer at the end of The Ark In Space saying that the next episode was called The Sontaran Experiment. I have to admit that at the time I had no idea what a Sontaran was ... the name hadn't 'stuck' from The Time Warrior at all ... and then after Genesis of the Daleks, they announced that next week would be Revenge of the Cybermen ... I still remember that as I knew what/who the Cybermen were and this was *so* exciting. My memories of Invasion were there for me, and of being terrified witless by the Cybermen in that story ... Flash forward to today, and I wonder if this new series will retain that excitement. I really hope it will, and that the feeding frenzy of each magazine trying to top the one before will tail off and that some real surprises will be had by viewers. There's a part of me who wishes already that I didn't know that the ------- were in the first episode, or that the -------- were going to appear ... and I'm concerned that I'll come to the episodes already expecting a lot when perhaps my expectations will never be met. Of course there's also a rabid Doctor Who fan side of me which wants all the scripts now, as many photographs as I can assemble, and copies of all the merchandise :) However experience from 1996 tells me that this won't happen. Fans won't get scripts in advance this time around. There won't be photographs galore until afterwards (and even then there might be actually not that many). There won't be actor interviews in which things are given away ... in many senses fandom is a *very* different place than it was even in 1996. The Internet has changed it all considerably - any news can be read instantly by millions of people within seconds of it happening - so trying to keep things quiet becomes something of an impossibility. Print media must therefore concentrate on what has not got online, and so we have a culture of secrecy emerging again which all but made Doctor Who fandom impossibly insular and unfriendly in the seventies and early eighties - the 'I've got/know something you don't know' attitude where photographs/videos were hoarded and only a select few had any access to anything at all. I like the modern fandom where virtually nothing is secret - episodes can be bought on VHS or on DVD or even downloaded from the Internet for free if people have a good connection and a lot of patience. I hope the concern that the production team has not to let anything out about the new series doesn't end up breeding secrecy and lack of trust ... I hope people appreciate new WHO for what it is, and don't try and spoil it all before it's even started.