Dalek marketing 

18 April 2010 tbs.pm/1182

Following on from yesterday’s Doctor Who episode “Victory of the Daleks” is this Private Eye article that supposedly shines some light on certain marketing decisions that have allegedly affected this year’s Doctor Who series as a whole, including a mildly controversial Doctor Who cinema promotion.

That cinema promo was controversial because it purportedly cost a million pounds to produce; approximately enough money to make one low budget episode of the series, or money that could have been better spent across the year’s Doctor Who production as a whole.

Then there’s the new Dalek makeover which now has them appearing in a selection of colours. When writer Mark Gatiss appeared on Doctor Who Confidential he said that this was an inspired homage to the Peter Cushing movies, but Private Eye contests that this was primarily done at the behest of BBC Worldwide so that they can sell more toys.

Now I don’t want to come all over Daily Mail at this point – the BBC should have the freedom to make all the creative and marketing decisions it wants without external interference from ‘busybodies’ – but all of this just reinforces a general impression that the BBC is increasingly being run by marketing as opposed to creativity or common sense.

Whether the increased cashflow generated by multicoloured Dalek toys will be enough to more than pay for that cinema trailer remains to be seen, but all BBC producers are currently struggling to make ends meet because even flagship productions haven’t been immune from across-the-board costcutting in recent times.

And the BBC is starting to turn into what ITV was like not so long ago in terms of commissioning relatively ‘safe’ ideas for populist primetime drama series which are then promptly axed if they subsequently fail to perform from a ratings perspective; examples of this practice include that historical Casualty spinoff as well as the Survivors remake.

(Even if all of this was ultimately just an excuse to ditch several series in order to save money.)

The BBC shouldn’t be starving its productions of cash just because management doesn’t want to be superficially seen to be spending lavishly at a time when the commercial media sector is suffering, otherwise that “doing fewer things better” claim will rapidly turn into a not-very-funny joke.

At the BBC’s own expense.

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2 responses to this article

Andrew Bowden 18 April 2010 at 10:14 pm

And here was me speculating that the reason for the new Daleks was because the old ones were getting a bit clapped out and needed replacing!

David Hastings 19 April 2010 at 1:39 pm

I like the look of the new Daleks, although perhaps predictably the new design has had mixed reactions from the hardcore fans. (How about having black/chrome Daleks in the new shape as a compromise?)

Anyway they can always kill off the new ones at the end of the series if they want to :)

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