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article imageDoctor Who and the Eurovision Song Contest

By Andrew John     May 29, 2010 in Entertainment
UK fans are pleased that Doctor Who isn’t being delayed by tonight’s BBC broadcast of the European Song Contest. However, US fans are having to wait a week, as their episode is put back.
In 2007 and 2008 the UK broadcast of the long-running science-fiction series has been broken by one week to make room for the annual European music extravaganza, which regularly pulls in worldwide audiences in excess of 100 million.
In 2009, there was no regular series of Doctor Who, but with the current series, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, fans had feared that the series would be delayed once again.
However, this year, the episode in question, Cold Blood, will go out immediately before the European Song Contest, whose UK host will again be Graham Norton.
America isn’t involved in the popular music contest and BBC America doesn’t broadcast the event. However, it is delaying the next episode to be shown there, The Vampires of Venice.
One US fan, Mark Goodacre, writing on his blog, The Resident Alien, of the song contest, has this to say:
Sitting indoors and watching Eurovision live, with no British commentary, at three in the afternoon, on the first day of summer, when our pool opens tomorrow, does not somehow feel like the fun it once did, all the more so as this year, for the first time since its return, Doctor Who is not going to be cancelled on BBC1 for Eurovision. Result!
Somewhat bizarrely, BBC America, on the other hand, which does not show Eurovision, is cancelling its showing of Doctor Who tomorrow night and instead showing repeats of previous episodes, so now creating a three-week time-lag compared to the two-week one they began with. Who is able to explain the mysteries of BBC America?
It seems likely, however, that the US postponement of this week’s Who episode is down to the fact that it is Memorial Day weekend there.
Other Who fans are known to be avid fans of the European Song Contest, too, including Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman. In 2002, they wrote a Doctor Who story that even parodied it.
The audio story in question, Bang-Bang-a-Boom, was produced by Big Finish. Roberts has written a number of Doctor Who stories, including the upcoming The Lodger, co-starring James Corden (Gavin & Stacey, while Hickman – who is a former editor of Doctor Who Magazine – will be writing a story for the fourth series of the Russell T. Davies Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.
In the story, the seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion, Mel (Bonnie Langford) during the Intergalactic Song Contest, during which a series of murders threatens the peace of the galaxy.
The Intergalactic Song Contest is a parody of the Eurovision Song Contest, and the character of the Irish-accented Commentator Logan is based on the UK’s Terry Wogan, the TV and radio personality who provided British commentary for the BBC’s European Song Contest programme over three decades, until 2008. As with Wogan, Logan is known for his sardonic wit.
The story takes place on Dark Space 8 – itself a parody on the Star Trek spin-off series Deep Space Nine – an advanced monitoring station, which serenely floats among the stars, its mission: to boldly host the Intergalactic Song Contest!
Nul points!
The blurb for the episode on the Big Finish website includes: “With peace in the galaxy hanging by a thread, it’s vital that the mystery is solved ¬and fast! Can Dark Space 8’s unconventional new commander, with the help of his personal pilot, Mel, find the murderer in time to prevent a major intergalactic war?
“Or will it be nul points for the entire universe …?”
Canada is already three weeks behind the UK with tonight’s showing of The Vampires of Venice, while Australia is two week’s behind with tomorrow evening’s Amy’s Choice.
More about Doctor Who, Eurovision, Darvill, Gillan, Matt smith
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