The Doctor Who Budget Scandal Of 2010

Private Eye is one of my main inspirations for the work I’ve done on Lying In The Gutters and Bleeding Cool. A fortnightly British magazine, it’s a politically satirical publication that mixes Onion-style articles with real investigative reporting and dealing with rumours circling around politics and media.

And they’ve landed a doozy with a Doctor Who piece. In their 1260th edition, they report that this series of Doctor Who, despite having a full thirteen episodes and a Christmas special, instead of the usual twelve, has had a large budget cut on previous series.

The BBC is under intense pressure, as a public-owned broadcaster, to restrict spending on services and salaries as a result of a commercial media onslaught and policy statements from a likely-incoming Conservative government. They’ve already announced the cancellation of two radio stations, BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network, and a plethora of web services.

But Private Eye announce that the production team are incensed to discover that BBC Marketing spent £1,000,000 ($1,5000,000) on the 3D cinema trailer that’s been shown in cinemas before Alice In Wonderland, Clash Of The Titans and How To Train Your Dragon. Which, as Private Eye points out, is enough to make an entire new Doctor Who episode.

The magazine quotes a production insider as saying “Look for some amazing found-at-the-back of the cupboard monster cameos towards the end of the season.”

This is in stark contrast to the millions and millions that Doctor Who licensing makes for the BBC. Private Eye reports that revenue from Dalek toys for Christmas 2005/2006 topped £15,000,000 ($22,000,000) alone and this year licensing requests for new Daleks to sell have led to the show to bring back Daleks in (SPOILERS) dayglo colours – red, blue, yellow, orange and white – gotta catch them all! Unveiled on Saturday, that might give added rationale, as well as General Election fever, over the red, blue and yellow new design Daleks on the front cover of the Radio Times next week.

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