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article imageBBC defends decision to fly Doctor Who actor to Venice

By Andrew John     May 8, 2010 in Entertainment
The BBC has defended its decision to fly Matt Smith (the eleventh Doctor) to Venice for an episode of the documentary series that accompanies Doctor Who.
In today’s episode of the BBC Wales-produced science-fiction drama series – The Vampires of Venice, by Toby Whithouse – the Doctor takes his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) to the Italian city.
Although the show was actually filmed in Trogir, Croatia, Smith was flown to Venice for an episode of the documentary series, Doctor Who Confidential.
According to a UK tabloid, the Sun, an unnamed source has accused programme makers of wasting money.
However, the BBC has defended the decision, telling the paper: “Doctor Who Confidential is highly successful and is fantastic value for money.”
Meanwhile, the BBC has said that the making-of show is “fantastically popular” with audiences and that it had stuck to its “modest budget”.
In a statement to Digital Spy, the BBC has praised the documentary strand for explaining the history of Venice to a young audience: “Matt Smith made a short visit to Venice for Doctor Who Confidential to bring viewers a history of the city and to tell the story and inspiration behind the Doctor Who episode it follows. Unlike a drama, an historical film about Venice can’t be recreated in Croatia.”
Historian’s documentaries
Joining Smith on the tour of the city was the episode’s writer, Toby Whithouse, and Francesco da Mosto.
Da Mosto, an architect, historian, author, filmmaker and television presenter, has already made three series of his own for the BBC: Francesco’s Venice (2004), Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe (2006), and Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage (2008).
Whithouse is returning to Doctor Who after two series of Being Human, the popular drama series about a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf who live together, which he created and executive-produces for the BBC. The characters, respectively, are played by Aidan Turner (Mitchell), Leonora Critchlow (Annie) and Russell Tovey (George). Tovey, who also plays Doctor Who’s Alonso Frame, was suggested as a possible future Doctor by the show’s former showrunner, Russell T Davies.
In 2006, Whithouse wrote the Who episode, School Reunion, which featured David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, together with the Doctor’s companions Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Mickey Smith (Noel Clark), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and K9 (voice of John Leeson). Sladen and Leeson have since gone on to star in the Doctor Who spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which is currently filming its fourth series. Series 3 of Being Human is due to enter production shortly, and a 13-part US version has been commissioned by the American cable network, SyFy.
Meanwhile, the current series of Doctor Who and Doctor Who Confidential continue this weekend in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. The UK is two weeks ahead of the other three countries, where The Time of Angels – the first part of a two-part story by Steven Moffat, which stars Alex Kingston as River Song – will be broadcast.
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