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Wednesday 26th March 2008

Saturday 5 April 6:20PM BBC One - Doctor Who Series 4 Premiere
(posted 26th Mar 2008, 7:18pm - TWIDW post #0667)
A This Week In Doctor Who special report.
The BBC has confirmed the premiere time for Doctor Who Series 4 .
Saturday 5 April at 6:20PM on BBC One. Partners in Crime is the episode.
This has caused alarm in some Doctor Who fan circles. The episodes that started
before 7PM UK Time in the first 3 series tended to suffer a signficant loss in
total audience. Significantly fewer people are watching TV before 7PM on
Saturday in the UK. At 7PM, ratings would jump, as casual audience members tuned
in expecting the Doctor Who story to be starting. After seeing a ratings drop
for a Dalek two parter in 2007, the BBC delayed the 2nd half of Series 3 by one
week to keep the episode 42 from having to start prior to 7PM.
The situation this time - the BBC is promoting the live talent show "I'll Do
Anything", and it got a 7:05PM slot for that week. It is not known yet what
times Doctor Who will air in subsequent weeks, but it is likely the Doctor will
continue starting before 7PM as long as the BBC wants "I'll Do Anything" in the
7PM hour.
For those of us outside the broadcast range of UK TV channels, there is little
we can do but sympathize with our fellow fans. But I have an idea for UK fans,
especially the fans who are worried about Doctor Who getting pilloried in the
press for a drop in ratings.
Don't get mad, get even.
Doctor Who should win the ratings at 6:20PM easily enough. If word gets out
about the early time, you might get a nice chunk of people to turn on their TVs
40 minutes early for once. The show can do as well as possible at 6:20PM.
Next, Doctor Who Confidential will be on BBC Three at 7:05PM. If you can get
casual viewers who were looking forward to the Doctor to switch to Confidential
(or any channel other than BBC One) at 7:05PM, "I'll Do Anything" might perform
below expectations. Ideally, a million or more below Doctor Who. The BBC have
ruled 7PM in the Springtime for 3 years - this could be the Saturday that ITV
wins while BBC Three sets ratings records.
There is a Verity Lambert Tribute night on BBC Four, with lots of stuff she
produced, including 3 classic Doctor Who episodes at 8:20PM. Get people watching
that instead of BBC One.
BBC Three will repeat the new Doctor Who episode Partners in Crime on Sunday 6
April at 8PM, one day after BBC One. Get everybody you know who cannot watch
that early showing to commit to this broadcast (and maybe some who will watch on
the Saturday). Set some ratings records for the Doctor on BBC Three.
British tabloids will report what they like, and they might not notice a fan
campaign to influence the numbers. But if the BBC sees abnormal fluctuations in
their numbers caused by Doctor Who fans tuning in (and tuning out) with their TV
remotes, they will notice. It is the best chance to make a case for treating the
show well.
If you like these ideas, forward this message far and wide. Fans have 10 days to
get Britain ready for Doctor Who and the unusual time slot. Time to get started.
Benjamin F. Elliott
This Week In Doctor Who