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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Online drama: Will you log-on?
Time traveller Doctor Who is returning to the BBC - this time to battle evil aliens in cyberspace.

The Timelord has regenerated once again for a special one-off audio drama, Death Comes To Time, that will be broadcast through on 13 July.

This will be the BBC's very first piece of drama broadcast purely online and is the first new Doctor Who broadcast by the BBC since the TV movie in 1996.

But will online dramas be a success? Will you log-on? Is Doctor Who a good choice for this type of broadcast?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Will I log on? Of course! And let's have the timelord back on TV.
Keith Broad, UK

I grew up with Doctor Who, first with Tom Baker, then with Peter Davison and Colin Baker. I watched the movie with Paul McGann and surprisingly Sly was pretty good in it (though the movie was awful). Now, a few years later, I crave the Doctor's return to TV! Please bring it back! It doesn't matter about the effects particularly - just make sure the writing is great and you have a charismatic lead. Oh, and a voluptuous/leggy assistant. Give me those things and I'll watch AND evangelise.
Pete Ricketts, England

I never thought it that scary to have to hid behind the sofa

Tony Wilson, United Kingdom
It would be great if Dr Who could be brought back again. I have enjoyed the airings on UK Gold. One thing though - I watched it avidly when I was a kid but I never thought it that scary to have to hid behind the sofa. Did I miss a series or something?
Tony Wilson, United Kingdom

I don't know whether I will be able to listen to it due to firewalls etc. I also think that It is very irresponsible putting it on the net as it will encourage people to listen to it at work, which in many companies could lead to disciplinary action. Why don't you just put it back on TV where it belongs!
Dominic Varney, UK

I enjoyed Dr Who and Gormenghast. Let's have both on TV please. I'm unlikely to listen on the web, as I have to pay for my time online.
Sophie Hawksworth, UK

He's back and it's about TIME

Shakeel Ahmed, America
Hopefully this will be a precursor to the Doctor's return to the small screen. He's back and it's about TIME.
Shakeel Ahmed, America

There are a lot of comments here about a TV series and whether it needs a big budget - well, you only have to look at Red Dwarf to get the answer to that. OK, it was never as slick as Star Trek etc, but was perfectly watchable whenever it had a good script behind it, and that was always the secret of good Dr Who. Are the BBC cowering away from a TV return because they don't believe there is the talent to create good scripts out there? If so, they are doing themselves and scriptwriters everywhere an injustice.

Let's see what the Doctor can do with modern techniques, a reasonable (not US mega-series) budget and some great scripts...and back in his traditional Saturday night slot that is totally devoid of entertainment at the moment.
Roger, UK

Internet is fine but TV would be so much better

Tony Kenealy, USA
I will be listening to the broadcast and hope that this could open up the doors back to a TV series. Being a Brit, albeit one who now lives in the US, I grew up with Dr Who back in the 70's. The programme is a part of English culture, so many people remember sitting down on a Saturday, many hiding behind the sofa, to get the latest instalment of the longest running science fiction programme and one that refuses to go away. Isn't it time to bring a TV series back? Internet is fine but TV would be so much better.
Tony Kenealy, USA

Although I've heard wonderful things about Death Comes To Time, I won't be receiving the webcast, because I don't have internet at home! Why isn't it on the radio?
James Griffin, UK

After wilfully destroying several episodes in the 60's I haven't got much time for the BBC when it comes to Doctor Who. And most real fans know the show descended into pantomime towards the end of Tom Baker's reign anyway, as the viewing figures bore out.
Peter Wilson, Scotland

As Kenneth Williams would have said, "Stop messin' about" and just start production on a once-a-week BBC 1 TV Series of Dr Who.
Kevin Swann, Great Britain

I'm looking forward to it BIG TIME!!

Eddie Hill, UK

I think online only Doctor Who is a great idea, and the perfect choice for this type of broadcast. Doctor Who transfers well on to any medium, due to the fact that it can be set anywhere, at any time, and tell any type of story. And being online, it is also the perfect way to get it out to Doctor Who's mass of fans, who are spread all over the world. I will be logging on for 'Death Comes to Time' on July 13th. And I'm looking forward to it BIG TIME!!
Eddie Hill, UK

Brand new Dr Who on the BBC - who would have thought it? Thank you Dan Freedman and team for giving the Doctor a new lease of life. Here's to a very successful webcast and the return of everybody's favourite Saturday teatime timelord to our TV and radio!!
Steve Woolfall, England

Astounding the amount of coverage this small news item has caused. Several online sites have already posted news and info about the production. I think this, and the amount of rumours lying around, prove that there is still huge interest in Doctor Who. Besides, TV sci-fi could really do with something new, fresh and fun.
Kristoffer Lawson, Finland

Did anybody think about who will be able to log on at such a time? I'd love to, but I should be working... and I'm not even sure my firewall would let me. Just let us download it. Then you'd have a better gauge of how many people are interested.
Markus Foti, Luxembourg

Really the show belongs to the television

Matt, Redditch, UK

Brill! New Doctor Who. Any new stories are always good, but really the show belongs to the television. We already know that the BBC can make high-quality productions like "Walking with Dinosaurs". I can't see why Doctor Who (which is a character-based show) should pose any threat.
Matt, Redditch, UK

No. I would like to, but it will cost too much to watch it on the internet, and webcasts are usually painfully slow with hold-ups and poor quality pictures. If this was on TV, yes, I would definitely want to see it but as it isn't, I'll pass on this one.
G Martin, England

One of Death Comes to Time's strongest points must be its cast. The fact that the likes of Stephen Fry and John Sessions have been enthusiastic to participate should confirm to the powers-that-be the high esteem in which Doctor Who is held by top performers and writers. (Look at Big Finish's casts for further confirmation.) I for one am very much looking forward to hearing the DCTT pilot, but it is just a pilot, and I wonder how that might go down with the casual listener. I hope that this is a step towards returning the Doctor to television in some fashion. There's a generation of TV talent desperate to work creative wonders with this magical show.
Paulo Dawson, UK

I'm afraid the magic has gone for me

Malcolm McMahon, York, UK

Well, I certainly remember Dr. Who with great fondness but, watching reruns, I'm afraid the magic has gone for me. It appears I'm no longer the person who was a determined watcher the first time around. Is it just me? Or is it society? I think a Dr. Who for the 21st century might have to be a very different series (and not just in terms of more sophisticated special effects). We no longer live in the black and white society of the Cold War. So many attitudes have changed - e.g. to progress, to gender.
Malcolm McMahon, York, UK

Is Doctor Who a good choice for internet broadcast? This may not be the best experiment to judge as it wasn't made with internet broadcast in mind. However, I wouldn't miss it for the world, and I hope the astounding interest in this project will convince the BBC that the Doctor can finally come back to television and be a success.
Steven Hill, Chicago, IL, USA

I'm happy to see a new Doctor Who in any form, but TV is what I crave. Bring him back, won't you?
Todd Green, USA

There is a new audience going begging

Simon Burt, England

I'll be logging-on to Death Comes To Time. Heard some good things about it. I have a three-year-old niece who borrows my Dr Who videos and watches them with her parents completely absorbed. There is a new audience going begging. It is to the BBC's loss.
Simon Burt, England

I grew up with Doctor Who in the 80's when it was shown on PBS here in the States. We always got episodes after they were already shown in the UK. Well, I think it's great that we will finally be able to listen to "Death Comes to Time" the same time as everyone else. I consider this radio pilot to be just a teaser. BBC, you know what we all want. Bring back Doctor Who on TV!
Chris Allen, USA

Doctor Who has always been part of television history and I feel that it should remain so. Please rethink the idea and return it to TV where it belongs!
Steven Kay, UK

Although Dr. Who is still thriving across several media - books, audios, videos, etc - and whilst the broadcast of Death Comes To Time has to be applauded, the only real Dr. Who is TV Dr. Who. The BBC have procrastinated long enough and made every excuse under the sun; the show continues to win award after award and score highly in all sorts of TV/drama polls even now, 12 years after the BBC finally succeeded in running it into the ground. But the message is out there, loud and clear. New TV series, please - and soon. After all, pruning the TV schedules of a few gardening/holiday shows would pay for at least 12 new decently-budgeted Dr. Who episodes.
Paul Mount, UK

Funny how something that was rejected by one arm of the BBC is now being promoted as a pioneer in online drama broadcasting by another. Still, I've heard nothing but good things about this pilot and hope its online broadcast is successful enough (by whatever criteria is being used) to warrant production of the remaining episodes. It's great to see Doctor Who successfully maintaining a loyal audience through books, comics and audio, but Doctor Who should belong to everyone and that means TV!
Faiz Rehman, UK

Good news, but when will the BBC accept the series' popularity and bring it back to the screen where it belongs? A programme which is voted one of the top TV series of all time in one poll, and whose lead character is the fourth most popular TV character of all time according to another, cannot be ignored. The old excuse that it wouldn't work without a US-style budget is a lame and empty one, rolled out whenever the question is asked. The BBC can spend a fortune on a flop such as Gormenghast - why not on a sure fire hit such as Doctor Who? The fact that this web cast is receiving such coverage from the BBC shows that the Corporation knows it to be true!
Craig Hinton, UK

Of course, any news of new Doctor Who drama is good news, but a webcast audio-only episode is hopefully only the first step in restoring the show to its rightful place on Saturday night BBC1. This is surely where the show voted best BBC drama series ever belongs!!
Glen McCulla, South Shields, UK

The BBC shouldn't kid itself that Dr Who is only a "cult" interest - an updated version has just the kind of mainstream action/humour that's missing from TV schedules. Bring it back - you know you want to.
Pete Lambert, UK

Sounds good, but what about us with a 56k modem? It'll be very slow to watch. Get this available on TV!
Tony Suton, Norwich, UK

Television is where it belongs

Gina Snowdoll, UK

Sorry, but I too think it's a bit of a cop out. Doctor Who is quintessentially a television programme. It's been translated into other formats, but television is where it belongs. Hearing it on the web, not exactly the best medium available is hardly going to re-create the same experience.
Gina Snowdoll, UK

Let's not judge this webcast too harshly - no one has heard it yet! Radio Sci-fi has always worked really well - going right back to War of the Worlds! Let's hope this is a first step to the return of what is undoubtedly a much loved show.
Mary, Scotland

It is time for the Doctor to return to our television screens

Andrew J. Chisholm, UK

I have heard conflicting reports about Death Comes to Time. However I understand that it is a pilot of episode 1 of a multi-part story. So it will be of passing interest only. In some respect the world of Dr Who is very healthy. There are regular issues of novels, videos, DVDs, old audios (of lost stories) and new adventures on audio. But it is time for the Doctor to return to our television screens. Several times a year there is speculation who he might be. Hugh Grant was the last rumour. I think that this gives credence to the fact that the time has come for us to see the Doctor again on mainstream TV.
Andrew J. Chisholm, UK

Whilst any new Doctor Who is welcome, a one-off audio-only webcast will hardly satisfy the demands of UK sci-fi fans. The BBC should immediately return the programme to Saturday nights on BBC1 with a decent budget (not US money either). Anything less, and we'll still resent that license fee, which at the moment seems to be thrown away on extravagant, unnecessary and artistically bankrupt costume drama such as Gormenghast.
Chris Denton, UK

It's a shame BBC Radio 4 rejected it, but it will be a proud experience for "Doctor Who" fans everywhere that our show is the BBC's first ever piece of exclusive on-line drama. Let's hope it proves a good audition piece for producer Dan Freedman being given control of a new TV version!
Paul Hayes, UK

Though I use the internet a lot I don't feel inclined to listen to things like this

Andrew Baker, UK

I agree with David Patrick. Anyone who follows Who news knows that this was a radio reject. To me Who is a TV series, and I can't see that books or radio are the same thing at all. There have been rumours that the producer of Death Comes to Time has been working on a TV proposal - but there are so many rumours. Though I use the internet a lot I don't feel inclined to listen to things like this. Very disappointing non-news item if you ask me! And yet another possible hold up to a real development, like the awful 1996 TV movie. Isn't it time the BBC either did a series (and an ideas/ character series not an effects based series) or finally said no, never?
Andrew Baker, UK

Forget about a web cast, let's have the real thing back on our TV screens. Anyone else agree?
Arvind, London, UK

The only reason this is being broadcast online is that it is a pilot for a rejected Radio 4 series. The audio stories released by Big Finish show that Doctor Who can work in this format, but its real home is television. A new TV series does not need an unfeasibly large budget and it will bring in a great deal of revenue from around the world. The BBC has a duty to provide programming for all viewers and simply sticking American shows like Buffy and Star Trek on BBC 2 is not good enough.
David Patrick, Reading, UK

See also:

10 Jun 01 | Entertainment
20 Apr 01 | Entertainment
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