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Listen to the Doctor Who podcast: Was the BBC right to cancel the series?

Was the BBC right to scrap Doctor Who in 1989? With the benefit of hindsight, this week’s podcast looks at what might have been…

Doctor Who - Sylvester McCoy
Published: Wednesday, 22nd July 2020 at 12:32 pm

When Doctor Who’s classic original run came to an end in 1989, there was justified outrage. How could the BBC end such a beloved show? What would legions of Whovians do now? And was there ever a hope of a reprieve?


But today, with the series now back on air for as long as it was off TV, we have to wonder – was the BBC’s decision to cancel the show more positive for the life of Doctor Who as a whole?

After all, who’s to say that Doctor Who continuing in the '90s wouldn’t have destroyed the show for good, with the BBC’s increasing apathy about the sci-fi drama leading to fewer and fewer exciting adventures? It’s certainly possible that by ending when it was still on relatively good terms with fans, Who sowed the seeds of its own (ahem) Survival, rather than struggling on to a point where people lost interest.

In this week’s Doctor Who podcast, we look at what could have been if the series continued, weigh up the pros and cons of the wilderness years (and the creativity that sprung up within) as well as whether a future “rest” could be good for the current series as well.

If nothing else, the continued existence of Doctor Who on TV post-1989 would mean that all the NuWho we know and love from Christopher Eccleston all the way through to Jodie Whittaker almost certainly wouldn’t have existed – and for us, that’s a price worth paying for some years of anguish.

Disagree? Have your own thoughts about what might have happened? Let us know – and if you want more Who chat, you can check out last week’s podcast about the Missing Lives of the Master now.

And if you're still hungry for Who, take a look at this rare footage from lost Doctor Who episode The Power of the Daleks, ahead of the release of a revamped animated version of the classic serial.


Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021 – check out what else is on with our TV Guide


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