Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 10:30 UK

Thousands of Doctor Who fans complain over Norton trail


Doctor Who fans objected to programme trail

More than five thousand Doctor Who fans have complained to the BBC claiming the ending of Saturday night's episode was ruined by a trailer for the next show.

The on-screen caption featured an animated cartoon of presenter Graham Norton, host of Over the Rainbow.

It appeared as The Doctor, played by Matt Smith, was making an emotional speech during the story's cliffhanger ending for The Time of Angels.

A BBC spokesman said the trail "should not have been played out on Saturday."

"We apologise to all Doctor Who fans whose enjoyment of the show was disrupted.

"We recognise the strength of feeling that has been expressed and are taking steps to ensure that this mistake will not happen again," he added.

The trailer was seen by millions of viewers watching BBC One.

So far, 5,583 viewers have contacted the BBC over the incident.

One wrote: "The tension and enjoyment of the moment was completely ruined by the cartoon figure of Graham Norton which appeared over Matt Smith's face. Please can you ensure that this never happens again."

Fans have also been complaining on social networking site Twitter. One wrote: "Why is the BBC treating its audience like idiots?"

Another said: "Don't blink or Graham Norton will catch you."

On the website Den of Geek, editor Simon Brew wrote an open letter of complaint to the BBC, which included the line: "Can you do us the simple courtesy of leaving your silly cartoons until the episode has actually finished?"

Speaking to BBC 5 live, Brew said the cartoon showed Norton "kind of dancing across Doctor Who's face."

The BBC has been criticised before for promoting programmes during a broadcast but the corporation has acknowledged that, in this case, the scheduling was inappropriate.

It is not the first time an unexpected appearance by Norton has angered Doctor Who fans.

When the series returned in 2005 after a 16-year break, a technical error caused Norton's voice to be briefly heard over the episode's opening scenes.

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