Thursday, 29 September 2011

So did the Doctor Who Confidential film crew capture the meeting in which it was decided to cancel Doctor Who Confidential

Because, if the Doctor Who Confidential film crew failed to capture the meeting in which it was decided that Doctor Who Confidential is to be cancelled, it's probably the first key moment in the parent series' recent history it had not laboriously documented, and in turn, removed all the fun from it.

The problem with BBC Three's Confidential is that there are only so many times you can watch the same thing over and over.

Namely, and chiefly, Doctor Who effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves explaining a special effect and using the word 'basically' a lot (and effects work is essentially the same every week, although there has been some perverse value in seeing how Danny has aged over the years).

And if it isn't old Danny, it is various producers and writers explaining the plot in over-excitable terms while sitting in front of editing monitors, thinking 'Sell! Sell! Sell!' or, in the case of Russell T Davies, sitting in front of silver blinds and an overdue script blinking on his PC in the background.

"It's all marvellous!" he'd say in best I'm-on-tv voice, despite having been up 72 hours straight.

Danny Hargreaves, Doctor Who effects expert, appeared regularly on Doctor Who Confidential,
often saying the same thing: "Yeah basically it's like a really big effect and we all stand really well back?"
Other Confidential staples include clip montages set to anonymous indie guitar riffs, or cast members caught japing around off camera wearing anoraks in freezing cold fields.

Once or twice is fine, but a whole 13 episode series of it? The cracks were definitely beginning to show.

So this cancellation - made so BBC Three can focus its reduced budget on original programming rather than on making a spin-off of a BBC One show - is actually a good decision, and one less thing for completist fans to fret about.

And there's no shame it - Confidential's done all it can, and has been fun to watch in the earlier years, when Doctor Who was new and bright and popular again; but now's the right time to go - because let's be honest, anyone who has ever been interested in how Doctor Who is put together, is already going to know by now, thanks to Confidential.

So, with Confidential's budget now re-available, who's for a bumper-length run of new Don't Tell the Bride? Can we get Danny Hargreaves in to do some explosions or something? A bit of green screen? Anyone?

Related stories:
Doctor Who - The God Complex review: Nice touch with the Nimon as it all gets good again
Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler review - the only River in the, er, River, is a River?
Doctor Who: Episodes 8 - 11 trailer: 8 fatuous observations
Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War review: 'Epic', ' Blimey', 'quips'
Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane: Andy Pandy outfits in space
Doctor Who trailer: this is quite exciting and momentarily diverting
Christopher And His Kind: Glad it wasn't Tom Baker
National Television Awards: Dermot/Doctor great, everything else ho-hum


  1. Meh. I really do enjoy Confidential, actually. And, I think they really did start to realize that the same ol' behind the scenes production type show was getting a bit stale in Series 4 and this carried over a bit into series 5 and 6, because they started to actually show the cast and crew on publicity tours and had them wandering around the locations taking in some sights or scenes related to the episode. I absolutely loved the Confidental episode with David Tennant walking around Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. I also liked watching Matt and Karen on their road trip through the UK and when they went to America to show off Episode 1. Similarly, I thought it was cool to see Karen and Arthur touring Utah to take in Native American landmarks. So, sure, it gets old to watch them explaining effects shots and how they build sets all the time, but I really like seeing what the actors think about plot elements, how the writers/directors were inspired to come up with certain stories, actions (Steven Moffat's child had a sinister looking crack in his room, inspiring the cracks in the universe) and so on. It really does make me wish more shows with such busy plots and exciting elements would have such a regular behind-the-scenes thing going on. And I don't really see how BBC is spending all that money on Confidential anyway. Isn't it just like a few guys with a camera watching everything that's going on anyway, occasionally interviewing people while they're on break, and then just editing it all together? How much money could that cost?

  2. Some interesting points here - and, I have to admit, not having a Confidential to watch after the Christmas special did feel a bit odd. I think Confidential DID get a bit tired, but, with hindsight, it shouldn't have been axed. Like you say, seeing the cast doing other things could be interesting. I wonder what they think about its axing actually?