Allyn Gibson wrote:
the BBC as a whole
But there isn';t such a thing as 'the BBC as a whole'. It's always between split into separate departments, and the heads of those departments have always had a tendency to look after the interests of their charge rather than any nominal whole.
My guess is that Controller, BBC1, is fuming that he can't simply schedule a 13 episode run of Doctor Who into a regular slot each year, like his predecessors did, just as BBC Worldwide would love a full season to sell.
But what can they do about it? Well, they could go to the Board of Management and say 'Doctor Who belongs to the BBC, not BBC Wales. We want 13 episodes a year, and if Wales can't provide that, I'm sure another drama production department could."
But Wales would fight back. Worldwide would be told that it would be the commercial tail wagging the licence fee dog. Wales would lobby that taking Doctor Who away from it would undermine the BBC's commitment to regional production. And so on... so unless anyone's sure of winning, they won't start the fight.
What worries me is that if the controller accepts that and is starting to assume that Who will only be available intermittently, he'll stop building his schedule around the assumption that it will be there, and eventually there won't be a space for anything but one-offs when it is available, as he'll have found other 'bankers' to fill the gap.
Up till now, they've moved Merlin around to fit with Doctor Who... what happens if BBC1 finds two successful series in the Merlin vein for the Saturday early evening family slot, or decide to put the effort into building two such successes?