It Was 30 years Ago Today!
Thirty years ago today around 7.55 pm on a Wednesday, this happened….
As The Doctor and Ace walked off into the sunset the world’s longest running science fiction series came to an end after 26 years. Since season 24 the show had been suffering from falling ratings and a decline in public perception. BBC controller of the time Jonathan Powell took the decision to suspend future production. However the show was effectively cancelled as a decision was taken not to commission a planned season 27 scheduled for 1990.
Fans of the show were not happy and the BBC were flooded with complaints, one magazine even planned a national protest day urging fans to jam BBC phone lines.
In fairness TV was moving on and the BBC had moved the show into a ‘death slot’ in the schedules up against Coronation Street. By 1989 in-house production of TV had all but finished. Sylvestor McCoy had agreed to renew his contract for another season and Sophie Aldred for the first half. The BBC tried to dampen things down by confirming that both stars had renewed their contracts and that they were looking for an outside production company to pick up the series.
Merchandising, new adventures in print, magazines all continued but there was no sign of the good Doctor.
Top comedy duo of the time Hale and Pace make an appearance in Survival
Resurrection Of The Doctor
Whilst the years went by with no sign of a new series, behind the scenes things were moving on. As early as July 1989, whilst Season 26 was still in production, Phillip Segal, a British ex-pat working for Columbia Pictures’ TV arm in the USA approached the BBC about outsourcing production. Negotiations were eventually successful but it would be almost seven years from the end of Survival before we got to see the Doctor again.
In 1996 a co-production between: Fox, Universal Pictures, BBC and BBC Worldwide: ‘Doctor Who’ was screened on BBC1 in the UK and Fox in the USA. A success with UK audiences, it failed to make it’s mark in the USA and the Doctor de-materialised into the abyss once again.
However as we all know the story had a happy ending as the series returned in 2005 (another story for another day).
What If Doctor Who had run without Colin Baker’s missing season, there had been a season 27 and Paul Mc Gann had done three seasons? Follow Doctor Who as it should have been in our Doctor Who section. William Hartnell is currently the Doctor in his third season.