by Patrick Foster, Source: The Guardian
The BBC is to axe Doctor Who Confidential, the BBC3 spin-off from its sci-fi drama, as part of the corporation’s ongoing cuts programme.
Doctor Who Confidential, which features behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Doctor Who as well as interviews with the cast and crew, has aired in an early evening slot on BBC3 since 2005, when the corporation revived the main series with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Time Lord.
However, with the corporation facing budget cuts of up to 20% across its output as part of its Delivering Quality First initiative, BBC controller Zai Bennett has chosen to axe the show at the end of its current series.
Bennett is understood to be pursuing a strategy of focusing investment on original commissions in post-watershed time slots. Since taking over, he has decommissioned shows including Ideal, Hotter Than My Daughter, Coming of Age and long-running sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
Speaking last month at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Bennett said: “It’s about focusing my budget on 9pm and 10.30pm; those are the time slots that count. Budgets are tight, so we have to be sensible with the money we have.”
Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, will unveil the corporation’s cost-cutting strategy – the outcome of the DQF process – on 6 October. It is thought to include proposals to exploit greater “synergies” between BBC1 and BBC3, with the digital channel acting as a “nursery slope” for its terrestrial cousin. BBC3 will also fill a greater proportion of its 7pm to 9pm slots with repeats of BBC1 shows.
A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Doctor Who Confidential has been a great show for BBC3 over the years but our priority now is to build on original British commissions, unique to the channel.”