Is Series 9 Airing Too Late in the Year?
Guest contributor Dylan Payne is concerned the gaps between series are getting longer.
With the announced air date of Doctor Who Series 9 (September 19th to those who have been away from the internet the past few days) being closer to Christmas, I’m pondering the question of whether this is a positive outcome, or negative.
Allow me to explain. When Series 1 first aired back in 2005 it was on the 26th March. Every series opener then up until Series 7 would start either in March or April. I felt this was a very good format, since when the last episode of each series would air I knew I wouldn’t have to wait another year to see some new content. This is because the Christmas special was always there to be the ‘halfway’ point to hold me over until the next series started.
However, this all changed when Series 6 and 7 split their series’ apart. At the time many people including myself weren’t too concerned with the change, as there was content spread more throughout the entire year. But the split format seems to have led to a broadcast at such a close time to Christmas.
Series 8 aired on the 23rd of August 2014, this was the first series not to be split. The series was back to the linear one-episode-a-week format which left the finale airing on the 8th November. This meant it was only 6 weeks and 5 days until the next episode of Doctor Who. With such a short time span from the last episode to the Christmas episode it felt like hardly any time passed at all without any content.
However, I feel this shorter span of time between the finale and Christmas has made waiting much longer than what it was previously. There’s been only the Christmas special in-between Series 8 to Series 9, which aired only 6 weeks after the last episode of Series 8. Perhaps if there was an Easter special this year (and following ones) that would have helped immensely, but doing a whole other special comes with many drawbacks.
Now moving this article back towards the main question, should Series 9 of Doctor Who start so close to Christmas? With The Magician’s Apprentice premiering September 19th, this is officially now the closest airing episode of Doctor Who to start before Christmas (of the revival). Following with the usual linear formula of now 12 episodes per series, the finale episode will air 5th December, this means that in only 20 days following the finale we will get the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. While this sounds positive, this ultimately means an even longer pass of time before the next series, with nothing in-between.
I have sounded very negative towards the air dates of Doctor Who, however I could actually see a positive to this with Series 9. I don’t see why Steven Moffat couldn’t do another trilogy of episodes as with the 50th anniversary year, when we had The Name of the Doctor, followed with The Day of the Doctor, and concluding with The Time of the Doctor. With Series 9’s finale now being now so close to Christmas there could potentially be a big 3-part story. I think this could be done with episode 11 and 12 being very big and climatic episodes, and episode 12 drops a massive cliff-hanger ending to then be continued in the Christmas episode. This is the biggest positive I can see realistically happening. However if it’s just a traditional bog standard Christmas episode I do admit I would be disappointed with such a great opportunity not fulfilled.
In summary, I do prefer the previous layout of the Doctor Who series air dates as it left a Christmas episode in the middle of waiting for the next series. However it is possible to make this inconvenience become a very big positive. I’m now reaching out to the readers, what do you think about the Doctor Who air dates being so much close to Christmas?