Let’s do a quick head count, raise your hand if, when you read this post’s title, you thought to yourself, “Damn, how many after shows can Chris Hardwick host?” That my friends, is a lot of hands. The BBC is launching a new Doctor Who companion series Doctor Who Extra, not to be confused with a show about Doctor Who Companions, but an inside look at the behind the scenes of each episode. How can you tune in?
The BBC will be providing Doctor Who Extra exclusively on the BBC iplayer system. That’s the BBC’s version of video on demand. I can hear the collective American Doctor Who fans groan, but don’t worry, these things have a way of making their way onto the Internet much faster than thought possible by the powers that try to keep them exclusive.
Although the BBC America has not made any announcements yet, they should have an American equivalent like Hulu or something in the works. No one ignores the opportunity to get in front of such a large audience these days.
Each episode is 10 minutes long and becomes available after the corresponding Doctor Who episode airs and is said to provide “unparalleled access” to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, guest stars, and others who regularly appear on the series as well as those behind the scenes like show-runner Steven Moffat and that episode’s director.
BBC describes the show as:
Doctor Who Extra is much more than a “making of” show as we follow Peter Capaldi every step of the way throughout the creation of his first season as the Doctor. Over the course of 12 programs we trace the highs and lows of Doctor Who’s most ambitious run of episodes yet, getting the inside take on [season eight] from the people who made it.Packed with emotion, great stories and a real sense of “access all areas,” Doctor Who Extra is essential viewing for everyone who’s ever watched Doctor Who and wondered what it’s a like to be a part of the team that brings this global phenomena to our screens.
Doctor Who fans might remember Doctor Who Confidential the behind the scenes show that stopped production in 2011. Many fans have been pushing for its return and this new show looks to follow in that tradition. I have to admit that when I first saw this announcement I hoped for a 30 minute Talking Dead style show, but I guess if ten minutes is all they can do then I’ll take it. Those ten minutes had better be packed with great stuff though.
It is interesting to note that the BBC went on to talk about a recurring theme in the series:
Casual viewers will enjoy the fun, fast pace and lighter side of Doctor Who Extra but there’s plenty for fans, too, as we take a quick dip into the archive for every edition, reflecting on how Doctor Who’s history is echoed in this current series.
Tying the current series and the new Doctor’s actions together with the past will help newer fans appreciate the shows history, and add deeper impact to those story lines. I just don’t see how they can do anything in a ten minute frame. I feel like the BBC is missing, or not fully exploring the opportunity to capitalize on the current Doctor Who popularity.
I know, at the beginning of this whole thing I said that no one can ignore such a large audience and I stand by that statement, it might just take another season for the BBC to catch on. AMC has been wildly successful with its follow-up shows for The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. The increased ad revenues along justify the costs and the high viewer counts prove the format will do well with an audience made up of the same types of fans.
Here’s an 11 minute episode of Doctor Who Confidential:
Perhaps my worry about not having a lot of time to get everything in was misplaced. If the new series follows the fast pace of the episode above then there’s a lot to look forward to.
What do you think? Will ten minutes be enough time to really cover what has happened in each episode?