BBC Drama Chief Defends ‘Doctor Who,’ Says It’s A “Long Way” From Being Rested Amid Ratings Drop

Doctor Who
Ben Blackall/BBC Studios/BBC America

The BBC’s drama chief Piers Wenger has defended Doctor Who following a drop in ratings and a mixed reception from fans for Season 12 of the sci-fi drama.

At a BBC drama even in London on Monday, Wenger was asked if he would consider resting Doctor Who given some of the malaise around the show, which is produced by BBC Studios and airs in the U.S. on BBC America.

Wenger offered a strong rebuttal in which he argued that the Time Lord franchise, starring Jodie Whittaker and overseen by showrunner Chris Chibnall, is in fine fettle. Here are his remarks in full:

“I worked on Doctor Who myself and produced it for many years and I can honestly say I don’t think it’s been in better health editorially. The production values have never been better. It’s also not just funded by the BBC, it’s funded by lots of international partners.

“It’s an incredibly important show for young audiences, it’s still watched by families in a world where there are fewer shows that have the power to do that. It will always be an important show for us and we’re a very long way from wanting to rest it.”

Series 12 concludes on BBC One and BBC America next weekend, but it has been dogged by disappointing ratings. Sunday’s penultimate episode hit a low of 3.7M overnight viewers. Its seven-day ratings, including catch-up, have also been far from remarkable.

Meanwhile, there has been some disquiet among fans about the introduction of a second Doctor, played by Jo Martin, and the emergence of the #NotMyDoctor hashtag on Twitter. Chibnall responded to some of the brickbats in January, saying that he is only focused on making the best show possible. “In terms of external opinions, it’s not a democracy. We make the show we want to make,” he told Doctor Who Magazine.

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