Monday 8 February 2016


From March 1985: the next in my acquired collection of DOCTOR WHO BULLETIN... Issue 20.

In the space of a few months, DOCTOR WHO had gone from a venerable broadcasting institution which almost everyone (including, I'm sure, the production team) assumed would have an automatic renewal to a show that was fighting for its life. The 1985 Cancellation Crisis started as outright cancellation but was quickly spun as an extended hiatus. 

This is, I have to say, a pretty iconic cover and a stark departure from the normal DWB house style. 

As a viewer back in 1985, I was inclined to agree with the BBC assessment that the show was looking more than a little weather worn. It was more like to to make you roll your eyes (or snigger) than shock or surprise... except when it went to inexplicably dark places which failed to reflect its status or scheduling as early Saturday night viewing. Of course, in retrospect, I know that it would get a fair bit worse before, belatedly, it rediscovered itself and became (at its best) a cracking little drama. Which was, of course, the moment the Corporation finally lost interest. 

Typically, the BBC failed to comprehend that the decline was of their own making. Another organisation would ask "How did we allow this to go wrong... and how do we fix it?" whereas the BBC just somehow blames the programme itself. With better management, GRANDSTAND and TOP OF THE POPS could still be the significant programmes, brands and assets they once were. 

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