Recent posts in my Doctor Who Category

August 7, 2012

Behind the scenes when Richard E. Grant was the Doctor

The BBC has announced that Richard E. Grant will be joining the cast of the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas Special. Eight years ago I blogged about his appearance as the Doctor in an online only adventure - “Scream of the Shalka”

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November 21, 2011

“Who’s Who: The Resurrection of the Doctor”: Doctor Who ebook confidential

The Guardian has just published the latest in our Guardian Shorts ebook series - “Who’s Who: Ressurection of the Doctor”. I edited the collection. And just as every episode of Doctor Who these days has a behind-the-scenes “Doctor Who Confidential” to go with it, here is the story behind the editing of the book.

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May 29, 2011

The Mail Online, the N-word, and their American audience

Could it be that having a large American audience online means that the Mail is now treating issues like "The N-word" differently editorially in print and in digital?

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February 7, 2011

In support of "Save our libraries"

This weekend saw a wave of protests at the threatened closures to libraries across the country. I took the opportunity to visit my local library.

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September 16, 2010

YouView homepage obeys Currybet's Law

The new YouView homepage obeys Currybet's Law - that the BBC can seemingly do nothing without cramming in a reference to Doctor Who.

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September 1, 2010

Linklog special: datajournalism at The Guardian & The Observer

A special edition of the linklog, with a list of things that I mentioned in a talk about datajournalism at The Guardian & The Observer which I gave at the 1st Datajournalism Meetup in Berlin in September 2010.

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August 11, 2010

From Afghanistan to Zygons - Data journalism at The Guardian

Over recent weeks there has been a focus on datajournalism at The Guardian & Observer, following the publication of the Afghan War Logs. Simon Rogers has been busy being interviewed and blogging about it - and I've chipped in on with a blog post about the Information Architecture behind our World Government Data search.

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July 30, 2010

Sherlock rebooted online as well as on screen

The BBC's new series 'Sherlock' has some interesting online activity associated with it, as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have not just arrived on screen in the 21st century, they have 21st century websites too.

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April 7, 2010

7 ways the UK media scene resembles Doctor Who monsters

Whether it is Cybermen insisting on 'upgrading' everything in sight, or Daleks seeking to 'exterminate' competition in order to reign supreme, I recently got to thinking about how several monsters from Doctor Who remind me of the UK media scene...

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January 4, 2010

Too much David Tennant on TV? More like too many politicians if you ask me...

In response to claims that David Tennant was on BBC television too much over Christmas, a Conservative MP seems to think he appeared on over 200 channels.

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December 18, 2009

Taking A©ID in Cambridge and Covent Garden

It seems that some market stall holders are prepared to try and protect their own intellectual property with A©ID's "No photography" signs - whilst at the same time ripping off other people's copyright and trademarks.

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May 31, 2009

BBC Radiophonic Workshop Q&A at the Camden Roundhouse

On May 17th I went to see an evening with 'The Radiophonic Workshop' at Camden's Roundhouse, which was part of their Short Circuit festival of electronica. Yesterday I posted my review of the gig. Photo by Stickpeople Before the show started there was an hour long Q&A session with 5 members of the Radiophonic Workshop, which I was lucky enough to attend. Here are some of my notes from the event. The conference circuit Thanks to their involvement with Doctor...
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May 30, 2009

BBC Radiophonic Workshop live at the Camden Roundhouse

May 15, 2009

'Local Newspaper Week' - Being local...

This week has been, according to the Newspaper Society, 'Local Newspaper Week'. It seemed like an opportune moment to blog about some of the things I've noticed about my local newspapers since I moved to Muswell Hill. I've been collecting clippings and pictures of the Muswell Hill Journal and Ham & High Broadway since October, and so far this week I've blogged about advertising, some of the issues around local democracy and the potential impact of the local council's own...
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April 5, 2009

The Ideal TARDIS

I spotted an image of the TARDIS lurking in one of the publicity posters for this year's Ideal Home Show at Highgate Station. It is always nice to see one of the icons from my favourite ever television programme acting as cultural visual shorthand. The BBC is usually fiercely protective of the TARDIS design. Even back in the 1980s it was one of the elements of the series that was copyright to BBC Enterprises, and in 2002 the BBC astonishingly...
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March 16, 2009

Currybet's law - 5 reasons why Doctor Who always crops up in BBC meetings

Currybet's Law
The more BBC staff you put in a meeting room - the more inevitable it becomes that one of them will mention Doctor Who.

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January 20, 2009

London Model Engineering Exhibition at Alexandra Palace

Following my recent trips to the BBC Studios and the old Victorian Theatre, I was back at Alexandra Palace again at the weekend. This time it was for the "London Model Engineering Exhibition". It was an unashamedly niche and geeky event, but I'd invited my young nephew along, which was my excuse anyway. It was a strange mix of a trade show and an exhibition. On one stand, for example, you could by sophisticated engineering equipment that would set you...
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November 26, 2008

Unpacking the TARDIS

When moving countries, like I've just done, one of the most worrying things is packing up all your 'precious things', plonking them in the back of a van, and hoping that after a couple of ferries and a few thousand miles they end up intact at the other side. Amongst the things I moved, one I was anxious about was my Holdcourt Ltd TARDIS telephone box. I bought it second-hand in St. Ives in the late 1990s, but according to...
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September 11, 2008

Insert your own lame "It's the end of the world as we know it" gag here

I've never seen so much global excitement about particle physics as there was yesterday, but I think Al Jazeera must take the prize for playing up the sensational angle of the story on their homepage. For most of the day, the whole complex area of sub-atomic particles was reduced to the following headline and strapline: "Scientists start 'big bang machine' - critics fear the experiment could go wrong and destroy the earth." The alarmism was neatly punctured by the very...
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July 11, 2008

A lifetime of lost playlists: Part 2 - The kids are alright

Yesterday, I began a series of posts looking at how format changes over the last 30 years have shaped the way that I have organised and listened to music. I was also lamenting the fact that there was no digital file recording my music 'attention data' over all those years. My 'most listened to' playlist on iTunes only covers the years since I have had an iPod, rather than including the musical 'highlights' of my youth. My childhood music...
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June 21, 2008

The future of Excel - according to Doctor Who

Spoilers don't respect borders, and so even in Greece I know that tonight's Doctor Who sees the long awaited <SPOILER ALERT!>. It was nice to see something familiar in last week's episode too - although not the landscape of Midnight, which, thanks to the deadly Xtonic rays, had never been seen by human (or Time Lord) eyes before. No, what was reassuringly 21st century was the fact that however far into the future we are in the Whoniverse, it doesn't...
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April 23, 2008

The BBC need a TARDIS to transport their Doctor Who RSS URLs

There was an astonishing message in the official BBC Doctor Who News RSS feed yesterday: Now that we've switched over to our shiny new site, our news stories are being created in a different way. Therefore you'll no longer see news stories added to this page. Instead, you'll find them if you follow the link below. More importantly, if you subscribe to our RSS news feed using the link: you'll need to update it to: That way you'll...
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April 3, 2008

Doctor Who and the Fan Who Never Was

I noticed a flurry of referrals from The Pirate Bay and Mininova this week, which is, frankly, a reversal of the normal direction of traffic from me to those sites. My recent interview on currybetdotnet with Paul Wilson about file-sharing - "Doctor Who and the Pirates" - has been cited in the latest round of the saga about Big Finish and the people who upload their work to peer-to-peer networks. An open response to the Big Finish podcasts was posted...
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March 20, 2008

Postcard from Macau #4: Hong Kong's missing TV archive

I recently spent three weeks visiting Macau, the former Portuguese territory on the south coast of China. As a former colony like Hong Kong, it is now a 'Special Administrative Region'. This post is one of a series looking at aspects of information design, user experience, internet use and journalism that interested me when I was there. In the first of my posts about my recent trip to Macau, I mentioned the Sunday Morning Post. This is an English...
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March 8, 2008

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Doctor Whoniverse

Thirty years ago today, at 10:30pm on a Wednesday night, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a new landmark sci-fi comedy - the first part of Douglas Adam's "The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy". I was first introduced to the radio series by a school friend. Staying round his house in the early 80s, we'd stay up as late as we could get away with, listening to some C90 recordings he had of the episodes. He didn't have totally impeccable taste mind...
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March 2, 2008

Doctor Who and The Pirates

In the 1960s, as Patrick Troughton's era drew to a close, Doctor Who faced The Space Pirates. By the 2000s it was Internet pirates who posed a threat to the Doctor's adventures. Audio drama producers Big Finish have found their officially licenced Doctor Who stories leaking onto peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. To help combat this, they've launched their own legal download service. I spoke to Paul Wilson from Big Finish about the 'battlefield' they face. A little while ago I...
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January 2, 2008

Top Gear the second most popular downloaded TV show on BitTorrent

Yesterday TorrentFreak published an end of year round-up of Top 10 Most Pirated Movies and TV Shows of 2007. Nestling in amongst the usual suspect at #2 in the TV chart was the BBC's Top Gear. Top 10 TV downloads - Most popular episode on Mininova 1. Heroes (2,439,154) 2. Top Gear (1,217,923) 3. Battlestar Galactica (706,209) 4. Lost (705,724) 5. Prison Break (608,487) 6. Desperate Housewives (457,805) 7. 24 (524,303) 8. Family Guy (522,839) 9. Dexter (435,670) 10. Scrubs...
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December 29, 2007

Doctor Who against ID cards?

Thanks to the successfully revived show I'm very easy to buy for at Christmas these days - and a good proportion of my presents came branded with the Doctor Who logo in several variations. I also got this card from Paperlink, drawn by Steve Best. At first glance it is just a joke about relative dimensional properties of the TARDIS. A closer inspection, however, seems to reveal a subliminal message from the Doctor about Britain's plans for an ID card...
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December 21, 2007

I'm gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek

Well, not literally, we'll actually be trying to balance Western European traditions and Greek Orthodox Christmas in Crete, as opposed to last year when we were in Munich, and the year before when we were in Qatar. However, anyone who has been checking out my profile will realise that I am now only half the Grinch I used to be, and near the top of my Christmas pop charts is The Go Go's "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With...
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December 4, 2007

I make Doctor Who news at last

Technically, it wasn't even an ambition I was consciously aware of having, but after the weekend it appears that I can now die happy. I was just casually perusing my Doctor Who news RSS feeds, when, sandwiched between news that David Tennant had won a Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award, and that Andrew Cartmel was going to a convention in the USA, was my name. Thanks to my article on the BBC's Internet Blog about 10 years of Doctor Who...
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October 5, 2007

Doctor Who versus the Darleks on BBC Prime

I suspect that amongst the chattering classes it is considered "poor form" to blog negatively about your client of the moment, but, sometimes the target is so obvious, and so tuned to your special interest, that you can't resist. So here I am blogging about the BBC, a BBC website, and Doctor Who. BBC Prime are about to start broadcasting Doctor Who. I remember at the time the first (new) series transmitted in the UK, that one troll on the...
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September 28, 2007

"The Tardis and Multiplatform" - Julie Gardner talks about Doctor Who's multi-media incarnations

If there is one thing I've learned from many, many years of watching Doctor Who, it is that you can often get into places where strictly speaking you shouldn't be, just by boldly striding in as if you know exactly where you are going, whilst wearing an unfashionable jacket and a pre-occupied look. Which is how I found myself on Wednesday in a Q&A session at the BBC about the multi-platform nature of the Doctor Who brand. This was part...
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September 25, 2007

Tales of the TARDIS in TVC

A few weeks ago I wrote about the missing blue plaques in the BBC's television Centre foyer, which used to honour William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee. It was prompted by the fact that the BBC had a Dalek on display in the cafe where they used to be situated, as well as a TARDIS hanging around TVC's foyer. You are not meant to take photographs on BBC premises without a permit, which explains why, whilst trying to dodge...
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August 9, 2007

Doctor Who and the Vanishing Plaques

Presumably, at some point during the 1970s, there was a mental tipping point moment for me when, faced with Tom Baker's boggle eyes on my TV screen, I decided that one day I would like to work for the BBC on futuristic computer stuff. That's my explanation anyway, and I'm sticking to it. I still remember the frisson of excitement I got when, during my full-time days at the BBC, I ended up wandering through the labyrinthine prop store behind...
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July 12, 2007

National Television Awards vote seems wide open to multiple vote fraud

Like a good Doctor Who fan I was gently shepherded along by the Outpost Gallifrey site RSS feed this week to go and cast my vote for Freema, David and the series in the National Television Awards 2007 vote. It seems slightly early in the year to be handing out gongs, but there you go. There were a couple of things that struck me about the voting process itself - particularly with the announcement this week that the BBC has...
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July 10, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 6 - Enlightenment

Last week I published a series of posts looking at the failure of the Doctor Who site that I launched back in November 2003 - the Doctor Who Blog. Now the reason for writing up this catastrophic failure on my part into a series of articles wasn't to enjoy some public self-flagellation, or to render me unemployable in the future based on my past mistakes - although it may have achieved both of those aims! The joy of making...
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July 6, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 5 - Terminus

This week I've been writing about why my Doctor Who Blog site was less successful than the average Cyberman plan for an invasion of Earth. I've looked at the fact that the type of content I wanted to publish didn't suit the medium I chose, that I didn't market the site properly, and that I chose the wrong technology to underpin it. Today I want to look at another major problem - I had picked something too much like...
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July 5, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 4 - The Invisible Enemy

This week I've been writing about the reasons behind the total failure of my Doctor Who Blog site. Given the success of the show, and everything that I know abut product design, search engines and the internet, making a website based around it and generating traffic for that site ought to have been easy. However, rather like Leela trying to fit into Victorian London society during "The Talons of Weng Chiang", I somehow contrived to do nearly everything completely...
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July 4, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 3 - The New Adventures

I've been looking at the reasons behind the failure of my Doctor Who blog site. Given the high profile of the revived show in the UK, it should have been a resounding success - if it hadn't been for some rather poor decision making on my part. In the last part I looked at how the pace of publishing the content was very slow, since it was dictated by the transmission schedule of the original series of the show....
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July 3, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 2 - The Long Game

A few years ago, back when Christopher Eccleston's Northern accented Doctor Who was just a gleam in Russell T. Davies' eye, I set up a site dedicated to my fanboy obsession with the show - Rather than being a straight forward episode guide, it set out to collect the contemporania and ephemera around the transmission of stories from the original series. And it was a complete and utter failure. This week I'm looking at the four principle reasons...
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July 2, 2007

Why my Doctor Who blog failed: Part 1 - The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

Back in December 2006 David Jennings posted a thoughtful piece about his "69 Love Songs" wiki. In it, he stated what he thought had gone wrong with it, and what had stopped it from being being a success. "Two years ago I created a wiki site about 69 Love Songs, my favourite album. I had in mind an evolving resource where people would add new perspectives on each song, so that it would grow in time to become a...
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June 9, 2006

Advert banned for being unfair to corporate football

I'm not sure how this story didn't immediately come to my attention, but a friend pointed it out to me in an email yesterday, and it gives me the chance to mention Doctor Who, football, the media and the internet and get on my high horse at the same time, and I just can't pass up an opportunity like that to mark the start of the World Cup. Eighth Doctor Paul McGann recently recorded a voiceover for a TV commercial...
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December 6, 2005

Doctor Who Cuttings Archive on ' - promoting Doctor Who 2005'

The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive is dedicated to preserving all kinds of Doctor Who related media clippings online. Last week they and the BBC branched into a new area by collaborating to present an article about the promotional coverage of Doctor Who on in the last year - " - promoting Doctor Who 2005". Eyedropper has been a prime mover in this and worked very closely with them (with the tacit approval of benevolent management at the Beeb), and...
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December 2, 2005

Doctor Who exclusive later today?

Outpost Gallifrey are reporting that there will be a Doctor Who exclusive on the BBC site on Friday without knowing what it will be. Their story says it is the Doctor Who site which has announced it, but I can't see anything at Maybe the story has been triggered by the fact that for just five minutes this evening the homepage had an animated banner promising just such a thing....
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November 19, 2005

The Cybus Corporation on the web

That is the warning you get exploring the navigation of a new website from the Cybus Corporation. I can't believe the stuff on the web for the second series of Doctor Who is appearing so soon, in fact I don't even know how long this has been live. The Cybus Corporation site has a couple of pictures that haven't been available on the official site yet, include a group cyberman shot, and a cyberconversion.    The text has also...
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November 18, 2005

Children in Need and Doctor Who - a lot can happen in 12 years

12 years ago in 1993 was the first time Doctor Who got involved in a Children in Need mini-episode. Eager anticipation of the first new television story for 4 years - "Dimensions in Time" - soon turned to horrified despair as it emerged it would involve the cast of EastEnders, a phone-in vote, and a second instalment broadcast during Noel's House Party the following day. Even two years ago Doctor Who on Children in Need meant a spoof, as the...
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August 31, 2005

Michael Sheard: 1940 - 2005

Sad news today for me and other Doctor Who fans, as Michael Sheard has passed away, aged 65. He was mostly known for terrorising my generation on children's TV as the deputy headmaster of BBC school soap Grange Hill. He also played a part in the Star Wars universe, as Admiral Kendal Ozzel in the best of the movies, Episode V. He was a regular on Doctor Who though, appearing in 6 stories playing against five different Doctor Who actors....
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August 24, 2005

K9 is Back!

Absolutely my favourite robot when I was a child was Doctor Who's faithful dog, the puntastic K9. And today the BBC confirmed his much rumoured return for the forthcoming second season of the revived show. In an episode with Sarah Jane-Smith. Which also features Anthony Head. I think all my Christmasses have come at once. Actually, he secretly made a return within the corporation the last time that the BBC's intranet homepage was redesigned, where he happily sits atop the...
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August 23, 2005

Doctor Who On Your Mobile

Today BBC Worldwide announced that they had put in place a licence for some programmes to be available on the ROK Player format for phones. "BBC Worldwide is always looking for new opportunities, both in the UK and abroad, that allow consumers to enjoy their favourite TV content again and again, while delivering additional revenues to the BBC and to the talent behind the classic programming. The ROK Player meets these demands, delivering high quality full-length episodes to mobile phones...
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July 24, 2005

Putting a F__k Off Dalek on the BBC Homepage isn't big or clever - part 4

This is part 4 of a 4 part article - 1 2 3 4   Download a print version of this article Conclusions I think there are really two points that I'd like to draw out from this that are more generally informative than just a story about how the BBC once put a massive Dalek on the homepage. The first is about how mainstream users deal with change. The Open Tech conference is all about innovation and change -...
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Putting a F__k Off Dalek on the BBC Homepage isn't big or clever - part 3

This is part 3 of a 4 part article - 1 2 3 4   Download a print version of this article Audience Reaction - What We Found You simply can't please all the people all of the time, and we received a lot of contradictory feedback. Some people were annoyed that we had reduced the number of links on the page, and so had removed their regular routes to certain content: "Half the links are gone - I have...
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Putting a F__k Off Dalek on the BBC Homepage isn't big or clever - part 2

This is part 2 of a 4 part article - 1 2 3 4   Download a print version of this article The Dalek Special Homepage - What We Did For the season finale we therefore produced a one-off Dalek version of the homepage. In order to accommodate the large Dalek image we had to make some changes to other areas of the page. We reduced the granularity of the directory section, so that it consisted of the 12 major...
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Putting a F__k Off Dalek on the BBC Homepage isn't big or clever - part 1

This is part 1 of a 4 part article - 1 2 3 4   Download a print version of this article Introduction If you've never worked in the BBC's New Media department it is difficult to know what a "Development Producer" does. In effect we are the 'Babel Fish' of the department. In one ear we receive the editorial aspiration that "Wouldn't it be great if we could do some coverage of Glastonbury on the homepage with the news...
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June 23, 2005

Points Of View Publishes Dalek Homepage Feedback

I wrote the other day about the audience feedback we had received to our Dalek special homepage. Today it was decided to publish some of the reaction on the BBC's Points of View message board. One of the hosts has posted a thread giving some of the details, response figures, and direct quotes from the audience at
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June 20, 2005

Audience Reaction To The BBC's Doctor Who Themed Homepage

One thing I was looking forward to at work this morning was getting hold of the audience reaction to Saturday's special Doctor Who themed homepage. One of the first emails I got when I arrived in the office was simply entitled 'Oh Dear'. It turned out not to be about the technical problems we had experienced with the page on Saturday, but about the sheer volume of feedback we had received - the number of emails was in an astonishing...
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June 18, 2005

Daleks Invade The BBC Homepage

Just after midnight the BBC homepage launched the biggest promo it has ever had - biggest in size on the screen, in page weight, and in the amount of time taken to get it sorted and produced. The Daleks are invading... The team have also put in place some routes to gather feedback about the page. It is the biggest shift in the layout of the BBC's homepage since May last year, and we have less than 24 hours to...
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June 16, 2005

BBC News - Now With Doctor Who Spoiler Protection

I was delighted to see BBC News covering the wonderful announcement that Doctor Who has already been recommisioned for a second Christmas Special and a third series. Not just because of the news, but because the article offered 'spoiler protection' The BBC has commissioned a third series of Doctor Who in addition to the second series already planned. The announcement comes days before the current series - a huge ratings success for BBC One - reaches its end. With Christmas...
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June 10, 2005

Bad Wolf Invades BBC Search

In the build up to tomorrow's Doctor Who episode, BBC Search has suddenly acquired a Bad Wolf TV logo on the results pages. Not only that, but suddenly the Bad Wolf site is being returned as a result for un-Doctor Who related queries, like 'weakest link' and 'big brother'. What can it all mean ;-)...
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Ransom Note For A Dalek

This really put a smile on my face today - Wookey Hole has received a ransom note and the severed limb from a Dalek stolen earlier this week. We are holding the Dalek captive and in isolation. For the safety of the human race we have disarmed and removed its destructive mechanism. We demand further instructions from the Doctor. Guardians of the Planet Earth. Well, I guess the people behind the theft need to see some kind of doctor anyway....
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June 9, 2005

Bad Wolf Bites BBC Search

Following episode 11, 'Boom Town', more Bad Wolf related bits'n'pieces have started littering the web. Mickey's Who Is Doctor Who? site notes that: WOLVES OF EVIL? Curious. That nuclear power station is called Blaidd Drwg. Which translates as "Evil or Bad Wolf". Now, something really weird happens if you type bad wolf into a search engine. The link goes through to the BBC's own web search which has as its first result a link to Of course, the whole...
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