Saturday 24 March 2018

The next Doctor Who could be a woman, says BBC One controller

BBC One controller Charlotte Moore said she would never
BBC One controller Charlotte Moore said she would never "put a bar" on the direction in which producers wanted to take the programme (Charlotte Steeples/BBC/PA)
Charlotte Moore said Peter Capaldi is a fantastic Doctor, "and he's broken the mould"

BBC One controller Charlotte Moore has not ruled out the possibility of the next Doctor Who being a woman.

Moore, who is responsible for the strategy and all the shows commissioned on the flagship channel, said she would never "put a bar" on the direction in which producers wanted to take the programme.

"Peter Capaldi is a fantastic Doctor, and he's broken the mould. But I'd never put a bar on that," she told Radio Times. "The great thing about Doctor Who is that anything is possible."

In the revealing interview, Moore also discussed the controversial decision to sack Sir Tom Jones as judge on talent show The Voice.

Sir Tom spoke out at the time and said he was "unaware" he was being fired after four years on the show.

"It's not that I was let go, it is how it was handled," he told the Mirror. "The executives in charge couldn't be ladies and gentlemen about it, that they were filled with paranoia about a "leak" above all is deeply insulting to our professionalism."

Moore rejected the idea that Sir Tom was badly treated and said it was simply "the way the pop industry works".

"No one wanted to upset him, but I have to say it's in the nature of The Voice. It's inherent to change coaches," she said. "Everyone knows it's the way the pop industry works ... we told Sir Tom as soon as we could."

She said the decision to keep original judge on the panel was about "getting the chemistry right, with a new line-up".

The Voice is part of a successful stable of programmes controlled by Moore, but was singled out by former BBC chairman and past controller of BBC One Michael Grade as a "clone" and derivative in format.

"Unless you are saying that the BBC can't do talent shows at all, the way The Voice is made - its warmth and tone - is BBC in its nature. it is distinctive because of the way the BBC does it. And eight to 10 million people rick up to watch Strictly and The Voice, so I know we're getting it right," she responded.

One of BBC One's perennial hits is Strictly Come Dancing, which is currently scheduled to clash with ITV's prime time talent show The X Factor.

Speaking of the scheduling conflict, she said: "We're scheduling Strictly in the place we've always scheduled it, and I think our audience expects it to be there at that time."

"I think it's when the flagship entertainment show is expected to be shown on a Saturday night," she added. "There' s no evidence that it's had any [negative] effect on ITV's entertainment over the years. Knowing that the BBC is giving people an alternative is absolutely right."

Moore took over the role of controller in June 2013 and is now in charge of a £1.4bn budget. In 2014, the BBC Trust published a report which criticised BBC One as risk-averse and lacking distinctiveness and ambition - something Moore dismisses.

"I didn't agree with it then, and I certainly don't agree with it now," she said.

During her two years in the job, Moore acknowledges that there have been failures in the entertainment format arena, including gameshows Tumble and Prized Apart.

"We took some game-changing risks in Prized Apart. Not everything pays off - it didn't reach the audience we wanted it to - but we genuinely attempted to do something different," she said.

"And I'll go on doing that. because of the way we are funded, we have the creative freedom to do those things."

Moore also gave details of the new autumn commissions, which includes Troy, "a multi-part epic"; Dickensian, a 20-part costume-drama series from Tony Jordan; 10 new episodes of Poldark and more Luther.

Press Association

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