Talk:Doctor Who/Archive 1

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Rationale for splitting Doctor Who into two pages

If it's worth having CZ articles on this programme - and I would argue that it is because it is a highly significant part of British culture - then it has to be: (a) distinct from the Wikipedia version; and (b) easy to maintain. Presently the WP version merges the 1963-1989 show, the 1996 movie, and the relaunched 2005 series into one article. However, what about fans who are mostly interested in the revived show? What about those interested primarily in the making of the original? For this reason - and also because it's easier to maintain an article on a programme that's no longer made - I decided to split the Wikipedia content into two pages.

Ideally, this one will make minimal reference to the classic series, and vice versa - people can follow up what they want. Additionally, there is no point competing with the legion of WP tellyfans creating and updating articles for individual episodes, so I have decided to remove those links from the CZ pages and replace them with external ones pointing to such places as WP. As CZ is supposed to be more scholarly, I think these pages should focus on Doctor Who's place in British culture more than which alien appeared on what ship, and when. Perhaps the only Doctor Who pages on CZ should concern aspects of the programme that are instantly recognisable and are understood by most people - the Doctor, the TARDIS, the Daleks and perhaps regeneration. (For example, Brits remarking that inside a house is 'like a TARDIS' will be understood instantly in the UK; likewise, everyone knows what to expect when informed that the new boss is a bit of a 'Dalek'.)

Of course, you are more than welcome to overturn any and all of this. John Stephenson 03:20, 3 February 2007 (CST)

I have to say this seems to me a bizarre & artificial way of doing things. The BBC & most books & websites regard the programme as a single entity, & I think it should have a single global article. That doesn't exclude separate articles as well. There are numerous references back from the new programmes to the old. And why should the new series have priority claim on the title? Peter Jackson 11:35, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Peter's conclusion, though not all of the analysis ;).
Splitting into Classic and current--or better yet Dr Who (2005)--makes sense for the same reason as having five billion Star Trek articles, but there should be a global Dr Who in the same manner as Star Trek or Star Wars. The new series should definitely NOT lay claim to the Dr Who title as a standalone.
Aleta Curry 02:45, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Am I to understand that this is a definitive assessment of which Who is on first? Howard C. Berkowitz 03:01, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Hahahahahahaha! Aleta Curry 03:44, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
If you have a full global article, you are going to have to spend most of it discussing the original series (1963-1989 and the 1996 film) because there is over a quarter of a century of it, whereas the current series has only been going since 2005 (with a break in 2009 with no series that year, only a few special episodes). Readers are likely to be interested in the new series, and will be wondering why they have to delve through an extensive discussion about stories told forty years ago using actors who in many cases have been dead for years. The alternative would be to have a shorter global article which drastically cuts material on the first 26 years, and inflates the discussion of the new series. John Stephenson 05:45, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
There are certainly questions to be discussed about how the article should be done, but not having one still seems to me quite absurd.
As you say, most of the programme is the old series, so most of this article should be about it in so far as it's not general in nature (at the moment we don't even seem to have a list of the doctors, another absurdity). As I said before, there's no reason we can't have a separate article on the new series, prominently linked from the lead in this one, for those readers whose main interest is the new one. Peter Jackson 12:15, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

The Doctors list is on the 'classic series' page; as for this article, the names of Tennant and Eccleston are integrated into the text (I did that because I think there is a policy/indication somewhere that CZ should avoid lists of things where possible). I can see where you're going with having a page for the new series, but I also think it is 'absurd' to focus on a version of the programme that ceased production nearly twenty years ago. Additionally, as this article stands, it is not strictly true that it focuses only on the new series; it does mention the original one in the opening paragraphs, and directs the reader to the 'classic series' page if they want more information on the show's origins.

I also think this is appropriate given that the new series is in several ways a radical departure from what went before - although a few previous foes have appeared in the series, there is no reliance on knowing about what happened in the previous series (e.g. Gridlock (2007) is partially a sequel to The Macra Terror (1967), but the viewer doesn't need to know that; cf. stories in the old show, where, especially in the 1980s, there were serials that were often continuity-laden sequels to others broadcast years earlier). Also, the new series is effectively a continuation of a story that was never made (about the Time War, the destruction of the Doctor's home world, etc.), rather than a continuation of what happened after 1989 or 1996 - the back story was refocused, rather than wiped clean (or 'rebooted'). Added to that, there are technical differences (e.g. 45-minute self-contained episodes as opposed to a four-part story split into 25-minute episodes). It's really made rather differently from the old series. Yes, it's the same 'universe', the same lead character, the same TARDIS (at least on the outside), but the differences between the two versions are sufficient to warrant the current split, I believe, and an initial focus on the new series rather than the old. John Stephenson 07:38, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

From CZ:Naming conventions: "The title should describe the contents of an article accurately. If you have written an article about a topic, only to discover that your article concerns only one aspect of the topic (such as its history), then it is preferable to place your article on a more accurately-named page, to write a short article about the original topic, and then link from that short article to the new page." It should be clear from this that the article should be about the whole series, if not also all appearances in other media.
It's not a question of "focus"ing on the old series. That's simply most of the subject, at least on TV. I've been watching on and off since the very 1st episode. So have many other people. Many others again came in in the middle of the old series. It's simply false to assume most people are only interested in the new one.
Your treatment of the programme as being essentially 2 (or 3) different programmes is somewhat arbitrary. The format of the old series varied a lot, with episodes from 18 to 90 minutes & stories from 25 to 300. The new series has already had episodes from 45 to 75 & stories from 45 to 135, & it's early days yet.
Continuity has also varied a lot. In the literal sense the programme hasn't been continuous since at least The Face of Evil. The amount of back reference has also varied a lot. As a practical matter, the larger the time interval is, the less back reference you're likely to get. This applies both within & between series. This didn't stop them bringing back Sarah about 30 years after her main period on the programme. Compare the doctor's granddaughter Susan, who I think was never mentioned after the 1st Doctor's retirement apart from her appearance in The Five Doctors. Peter Jackson 10:10, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
As pointed out above, this article does mention the old series prominently in the introduction, so it's not really outside the naming conventions rule. I never said "let's assume almost everyone has only seen the new one". But I am saying that the new series is dominant now (it's getting over 9 million viewers a week in the UK alone) so it would be best to focus on it, and do the old series justice on its own article. The BBC does a similar thing - note how the 'classic series' is separate from the new series material on the official website (you have to hunt for it). When they did the first series of making-of documentaries, Doctor Who Confidential, they did include some classic material but later stripped all that out for the DVD releases. So the split between new and classic, with the new series first, is something supported by the producers. I should also say that this way we distinguish ourselves from Wikipedia, and produce something that is aimed at the general reader rather than the minority of viewers - long-standing fans - who want the new series to be seen as, so far, a short continuation of the old. John Stephenson 04:11, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course the new series is dominant now, simply because it is now. The same applies to anything. You might just as well say that Series 4 is dominant now & Series 1-3 can be relegated to a subordiante article. Peter Jackson 11:25, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Dr Who is a series, that is, by definition, something extended over time. Your approach is like having a "History of" article almost entirely confined to recent history & referring the reader elsewhere for most of the subject. Dr Who has no present. Series 4 is past. Series 5 is future. The subject is a combination oh history & crystal ball. Peter Jackson 17:01, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I think this discussion is getting rather pointless. It comes down to judgement. You're currently outvoted 2 to 1. I'm going to accept the invitation in your 1st post & try to restore this article to its proper coverage. Peter Jackson 17:21, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Fine - although your claim about series 4 being dominant is not terribly strong (it's obviously part of the same series as 1-3, rather than part of something broadcast 20 years ago). About the direction of the article: it would probably be better for us to write original material rather than just incorporating Wikipedia material. John Stephenson 03:04, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the last point, but I can't do everything at once. Peter Jackson 10:55, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

An outside opinion, perhaps

I can't say that I've picked up the Doctor Who habit, although Americans who do not appreciate Monty Python and Grace Brothers are heathens. Nevertheless, I'm hearing something of a generic argument here, and, to some extent, which occurs on many other topics.

What-should-be-in-how-many article controversies often take place here and at the Other Place. Here, however, there is an attempt to have some means to make such controversies less of a problem. Some of the ideas, very much in working discussion, are at CZ talk: usability.

There is, I see, Doctor Who/Related Articles. My suggestion would be to use it as a place to consider structures. Use hierarchy on it and clone it, appropriately, to the various sub-articles. For example, there might be, at the "parent topic" level, an even more general "multigenerational science fiction series" article that picks up Star Trek and its incarnations. At the first subtopic level, there could be subheadings for the shows, for the main actors, and for anything else that differentiates the Doctor Who experience.

I've taken the liberty of creating a subtopic, CZ talk: usability#Science Fiction generally, Doctor Who specifically, not with actual pages, but examples. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:48, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Boys, boys, boys!
Steady on, now. Could CZ's only current female Wholligan (and not even a die hard fan, at that) weigh in here? I think I made things worse by adding tuppence's worth and that wasn't my intention.
I'm not sure what the argument is anymore. What is the problem with having a Who overview, and an article for the classic series, and another for the current series? None that I can see. the only problem which article gets called :Dr Who??? (Did I figure out how to do that properly?)
Is it possible to use Howard's idea as a starting point? How about, if worse comes to worst, simply leaving Dr Who a disambiguation page and calling the rest Dr Who (classic) and Dr Who (revival). Or, make one b* long Dr Who article, what do I know, anyway?
Aleta Curry 03:44, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
There's plenty that can be said about Dr Who as a whole. No reason to reduce it to disambiguation. Peter Jackson 10:55, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Richard Dawkins

My sister tells me Richard Dawkins current female partner (wife) is a former Dr Who companion. David Tribe 04:37, 12 February 2007 (CST)

Lalla Ward, yes. Should put that in somewhere... John Stephenson 04:49, 12 February 2007 (CST)


Are the pictures from the BBC going to have copyright isues? I might add i have no idea but it is something to consider before you upload a lot more. i used to love Dr Who when I was a kid, I 'm amazed it is still running. i can remember one episode with Jon Pertwee having an invisible spider on his back. I watched from behind the sofa for that one. Chris Day (Talk) 00:02, 23 February 2007 (CST)

I think they qualify under U.S. 'fair use'; if you disagree we can delete them. John Stephenson 00:48, 23 February 2007 (CST)


I've put this back as this is the global DW article, covering all media. Peter Jackson 16:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

How about this: let's have a new, short-to-mid length CZ article here covering all versions of the show, and as suggested somewhere above, have two further articles called Doctor Who (classic series) (which already exists) and Doctor Who (2005-). John Stephenson 11:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Further to this, a modification: how about a short-to-mid length original article at Doctor Who, with more detail at Doctor Who (1960s-1990s) and Doctor Who (2000s-). By chance, development of the new series coincides with the beginning of the 21st century. This also avoids the problem discussed elsewhere of the words 'classic' and 'new' in the article titles, i.e. what do they mean, are they non-neutral etc. John Stephenson 04:29, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

New article

I have been working on a new article to go here which I would like to upload soon, unless someone objects. The article as it stands is from Wikipedia, but I will try to incorporate others' contributions since the WP article was uploaded. John Stephenson 02:48, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Done. John Stephenson 07:48, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I went ahead and wrote a new article plus two more detailed ones at Doctor Who (1960s-1990s) and Doctor Who (2000s-) after waiting several months for objections. This was to remove Wikipedia material and incorporate material about both the 'new' and 'classic' series in this article while also having more detailed pages focusing on these two versions of the show (which are treated distinctly by the BBC, for example by promoting the new series above the old on the official website and having different logos for old and new). I tried to incorporate material added by other users, though the way I've written it, and the complexity of comparing multiple versions to identify new material, my material, and Wikipedia material meant that some has disappeared. John Stephenson 07:57, 20 September 2009 (UTC)