As I wrote about a couple days ago, the BBC made a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT regarding Doctor Who. I was hoping my cynicism was misplaced and there would be news that was as “MASSIVE” as they claimed. Alas, my cynicism was spot on. The announcement was a new spin-off, a YA series to be set at Coal Hill School called Class.
This is a great thing. I’m thrilled my favorite show is doing well enough to spawn yet another spin-off. I’m not personally excited about watching it, but I’ll give it a chance, and perhaps I’ll adore it and become a “massive” fan. It’s entirely possible. So let me make it clear, I do think this announcement is excellent news.
Doctor Who is currently the flagship show for the BBC. It’s shown around the world to truly huge audiences. It’s not a big surprise they’d capitalize on this with a spin-off. It’s smart business. Good for them. And yes, 20 years ago I probably wouldn’t have believed you if you told me how popular Who would be in 2015, but I’ve already covered that this is a good thing. “Good” and “massive” are two different things.
The BBC still hasn’t learned its lesson. In 2012, they claimed they had an “iconic” actor for the Christmas special. Speculation ran wild, and then they revealed it was Richard E. Grant, a fine actor, but hardly “iconic”. The BBC marketing department was the butt of many a joke for weeks to come. (Okay, years to come–we Doctor Who fans have long memories.)
As Tansy says in the tweet pictured above, history is repeating itself. We worked ourselves up dreaming of news that really would be massive–missing episodes returned, David Tennant guest-starring, a Doctor Who movie starring [insert dream-TARDIS team here]. The list went on. So it was inevitable that disappointment was the general reaction. A spin-off might be great, but it’s not as great as what each of us were wishing for in our heart of hearts.
I love Doctor Who. I love that there’s going to be another show set in the same universe. I don’t love that the BBC let me get my hopes up (way up) for something even better. Sure, it’s partly my fault for letting my expectations rule me, but that’s how human beings work. I think it makes the BBC look stupid, and I don’t like when the BBC looks stupid–especially now with all the strain they’re under.
Pretty please, BBC, next time just announce something with less preamble and less time to get our hopes up. We Who fans dream BIG. Bigger than an announcement of a spin-off, however cool that spin-off may be.