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Russell T Davies Defends Midnight Drop of New Doctor Who Episodes

Showrunner, Russell T Davies, has defended the midnight UK release of the upcoming episodes of Doctor Who Series 14.

When it was announced that episodes would release at the same time across the world, albeit at midnight for people watching in the UK, there was a furore, and while Russell understands those concerns, he says it’s just part of a modern way of consuming TV.

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, he explained:

“You’re not having to change your habits to fit the show; the show is changing to fit you. And it’s adapting to the patterns of modern TV shows, which I believe will soon be the norm. This is the future, and it’s already here.”

So what does Davies suggest in order to avoid spoilers?

“Stay up! Have a party! This includes kids, too — many children attended midnight releases of new Harry Potter books. It was part of the excitement, a story they would remember for years. I’d especially recommend staying up for Episode 7 because it’s quite shocking — there might even be screaming!”

That does ignore a few issues and the comparison with Harry Potter isn’t quite right: it’d be like asking kids to stay up late for a new book every week for almost two months. And frankly, Doctor Who isn’t Harry Potter.

Also, yes, midnight releases are frequent these days, but the way we’re consuming TV is changing so quickly, it’s difficult to find a level — a short while ago, people liked to binge-watch everything on streaming services; now, people are praising the weekly release schedule of X-Men ’97, which has eclipsed, for instance, Invincible, the latest season of which was largely dumped online in one go and as such garnered comparatively little publicity. A mid-season break has also been blamed, but weekly releases do at least keep bringing in interest.

Davies’ statement further ignores that many families watch Doctor Who together, and few will do that if episodes are released in the middle of the night (not to mention that you’d have to stay up past 2am to see both Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord this weekend). Ditto that it’s feels a bit insulting to the UK audience that we’re the ones having to compromise when it’s a proudly British show. It belongs to everyone, but it belongs to Brits.

Nonetheless, you can see where Davies is coming from. He has to defend this decision, even if it isn’t his own. But we hope things change again soon in the near future.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Russell T Davies Defends Midnight Drop of New Doctor Who Episodes

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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