Doctor Who Producer Defends Season 12 After Fan Backlash

Doctor Who

As with 2018’s season 11 and, uh, pretty much every run of the show ever, Doctor Who season 12 garnered a lot of criticism from some quarters of fandom over various storytelling choices that were made. Even casting aside the crazy #NotMyDoctor lot, various plot developments, bits of characterization and whatnot weren’t universally adored by Whovians.

While speaking to, exec producer Matt Strevens – who’s been in charge of the series along with showrunner Chris Chibnall since Jodie Whittaker took over as the Doctor – defended the run from this kind of criticism. He explained that he thinks the production team can only follow their vision without bending to fan whims.

“I think it sort of cleaves to the basic principle we have and I’ve had on the show, but I think we all have, is you have a vision for what you want to do while you’re on the show, whether you’re the Doctor, whether you’re a producer, whether you’re a writer, and you see that vision out.

“And the conversation around what fans want and what audiences want, all that kind of stuff, you just have to trust yourself as a program. You can’t really be buffeted by those winds because people will change their minds.”

One moment that proved highly controversial came in “Can You Hear Me?”, an episode which encouraged people to open up about their mental health problems, in which Graham turned to the Doctor for reassurance and admitted he was scared his cancer would return. The Time Lord, however, responded that she was too socially awkward to know what to say. The BBC received so many complaints about this that they released an official statement on it.

Strevens gave his view on the controversy in the same interview, commenting that it was the intention for the audience to want the Doctor to be kinder in this scene.

“Some people go, I just wanted her to say it’s going to be all right, and you go, yes, you do want that, but you don’t necessarily need that. It’s a moment for the Doctor to show she’s not human.”

Overall, Strevens believes no choice they make will be popular with everyone, so they can’t be dependent on fan reaction.

“We know the story and stories we’re telling [and] we will tell that to the best of our ability. You can’t get too sidetracked by the other stuff because the truth of any series of anything is that some people will like it and some people won’t like it. And that’s the only universal truth you can take.”

Personally, I’d say there’s a happy medium where the showrunners listen to legitimate criticism but also stick to their guns. To be fair, this seems to have been what was done this year, as season 12 featured a lot more familiar characters than season 11.

Case in point, Doctor Who will return over the festive period for a special titled “Revolution of the Daleks.”