The Doctor travels

I have to admit I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the video about the Doctor Who World Tour appear on my Facebook newsfeed. One, because I’ve been tricked into watching fan made trailers/videos before which were billed as official and two, because there are a lot of people on Facebook who seem to share anything (videos, “news” stories, quizzes, images) without any thought to the shared item’s validity, source or agenda.

However, confirmation via BBC Wales’ tweet about it and an article on the BBC’s website for the programme about the World Tour has removed any doubt I had.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Louise Coleman will travel to 7 cities across the world to meet fans in the space of 12 days.

The cities are Cardiff, London, Seoul, Sydney, New York, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. Peter and Jenna will be visiting each city and executive producer/showrunner Steven Moffat will join them at a few destinations. This tour will start on the 7th August in Cardiff and end on the 19th in Rio de Janeiro. The BBC have already said in the really short teaser trailer for series 8 that it will start in August. Fans have been speculating about filming schedules and have concluded that the programme will start in late August. This tour has only confirmed this for them as the series could start the Saturday after the tour ends (23rd August).

This suggests that the World Tour is a massive promotional campaign for the series. Although there are filming spoilers/pictures floating around on various forums, this series has been fairly quiet and there has been little promotional material for Peter Capaldi since he was named as Matt Smith’s successor in August last year. Apart from his costume, there seems to be little news on Capaldi’s Doctor with more publicity aimed at all the famous guest stars. I think Peter and Jenna as the main focus of this tour will definitely bring attention to the series and fulfil its promotional goal.

I love that it is a global tour. I know Doctor Who is broadcast to so many countries (it is probably the BBC’s best export) but some of the cities chosen really surprised me. It’s great that it has such a worldwide appeal.

With regards to the British cities, I am glad it is starting in Cardiff. New Doctor Who owes a lot to the production base that has formed in South East Wales and subsequently formed a creative quarter in Cardiff for media companies to thrive. However, some phrases mentioned in the supporting articles to the video raise some concerns for me about the Cardiff part especially. Firstly, the specific times, location within Cardiff and where to get tickets (if it is a ticketed event – I doubt it would be free) haven’t been publicised yet. I’m worried that if it is a ticketed event, there will be a DELUGE of fans accessing a website/refreshing frantically to get tickets. It will sell out within minutes like LeakyCon London did. I’d be gutted if I didn’t get a ticket when there is an event right on my doorstep for a programme that I absolutely love but I accept that it is very unlikely that I’d be able to get a ticket. I fear that not all of Doctor Who’s audience would be represented at the event if this was the case – I think it would be more “fans” than families.

This leads me onto my second point. Peter Capaldi is quoted as saying that they are looking forward  to be “heading for the Planet of Fans”. As anyone who read my Curse of the Fan blog post knows, I have been unsure whether Steven Moffat has been trying to appeal to the target audience of families or the active fans since he took over as showrunner. This has impacted on my viewing and enjoyment of his series because I feel there is no clear audience and it is trying to please both families and fans. As I noted in that previous blog post, the fan has a lot of expectation and the programme is unlikely to meet it. From Capaldi’s quote, it appears that this World Tour is very much aimed at fans. I reckon this could be a really good thing but it is also a MASSIVE risk!

Finally, it appears that the Cardiff and London events are happening on the same day. Below is a quote from the BBC article:

Fans in the United Kingdom will have a chance to see Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in exclusive events in Cardiff and London on the 7th August before they jet off on a world tour to promote the show.

This could mean that either the promotional events in Cardiff and London are very short to allow travelling time or that Peter and Jenna will do separate events. This could mean that, despite Cardiff’s status as home of new Doctor Who, Capaldi as the bigger star may only be at the London event as bigger city = more fans and more fans = more money.

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