Doctor Who Executive Producer Matt Strevens recently defended Series 12 following fan criticism of the show.
Outspoken Doctor Who critic Gary Buechler of Nerdrotic declared that “Doctor Who died last Sunday and it doesn’t please me to tell you that.”
Buechler is not the only one to criticize Doctor Who, The Tardis Zone compiled a number of negative fan reviews following the conclusion of Series 12’s The Timeless Children episode.
Following this criticism Doctor Who Executive Producer Matt Strevens spoke with SMH.com to defend the show.
He stated, “I think it sort of cleaves to the basic principle we have and I’ve had on the show, but I think we all have, is you have a vision for what you want to do while you’re on the show, whether you’re the Doctor, whether you’re a producer, whether you’re a writer, and you see that vision out.”
He added, “And the conversation around what fans want and what audiences want, all that kind of stuff, you just have to trust yourself as a program.” He continued, “You can’t really be buffeted by those winds because people will change their minds.”
According to SMH in order to make his point, “Strevens points to a scene late in the season where companion Graham is confessing his fear to the Doctor and she responds by saying only that she is socially awkward.”
Strevens then explains, “Some people go, I just wanted her to say it’s going to be all right, and you go, yes, you do want that, but you don’t necessarily need that.” He adds, “It’s a moment for the Doctor to show she’s not human.”
He concluded, “We know the story and stories we’re telling [and] we will tell that to the best of our ability. You can’t get too sidetracked by the other stuff because the truth of any series of anything is that some people will like it and some people won’t like it. And that’s the only universal truth you can take.”
Strevens comments may sound familiar. It’s the same line the BBC complaints department issued.
They responded to the backlash with the following statement:
“Doctor Who is a beloved long-running series and we understand that some people will feel attached to a particular idea they have of the Doctor, or that they enjoy certain aspects of the programme more than others. Opinions are strong and this is indicative of the imaginative hold that Doctor Who has – that so many people engage with it on so many different levels.”
The statement continued:
“We wholeheartedly support the creative freedom of the writers and we feel that creating an origin story is a staple of science fiction writing. What was written does not alter the flow of stories from William Hartnell’s brilliant Doctor onwards – it just adds new layers and possibilities to this ongoing saga.”
“We have also received many positive reactions to the episode’s cliff-hanger. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, and we hope that you will come back to join us and see what happens, but we appreciate that it’s impossible to please all of our viewers all of the time and your feedback has been raised with the programme’s Executive Producer.”
These responses seem to ring hollow as all evidence points to the show driving viewers away and those that stayed having negative reactions.
The show has a 16% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The finale, The Timeless Children, also posted Doctor Who’s lowest viewership in 170 episodes in the United Kingdom. It was viewed by 4.6 million people according to Doctor Who News. The last time viewership was that low was back in November 1989 with The Curse of Fenric: Part Four. Its viewership was 4.2 million.
Not to be outdone by the United Kingdom, The show posted it’s lowest ratings of the entire season for the finale on BBC America. TV Series Finale reports only 374,000 people tuned in, a more than 52% drop from the season premiere which had 790,000 viewers. Season 11’s lowest episode was 706,000 viewers. And Season 10’s lowest was 494,000.
What do you make of Doctor Who Executive Producer Matt Strevens’ defense of Season 12?