How many complaints did the BBC get?

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Regular readers will know that I complained to the BBC over its episode of Dr Who in which it used the phrase “You know how it is, England for the English”.  To see the original complaint, click here.

I wonder how many complaints the BBC got.  They certainly got enough to spend time coming up with this standard copy & paste response:

I was sorry to hear that you were not happy with Episode 11 of ‘Doctor Who’, which was broadcast on 21 June 2008.

I can assure you there was no agenda in either the development or execution of this episode to besmirch the English or promote any kind of anti-English agenda. We wanted to look at the kind of world that might have been created, within the universe of Doctor Who, should the Doctor and Donna have never met. Within that story, England endures catastrophic events, ranging from closed borders, housing, and food and fuel shortages to nuclear holocaust. Within this landscape, the global economy has collapsed, America cannot send aid and the Earth is facing extinction. Within those extreme circumstances, it is very possible to suggest that a nation would begin to turn inward looking and seek to isolate those it considers to be foreign. In the episode, France has likewise closed its own borders. We may not like the behaviour of the nations in this moment – certainly not – but it is a truthful proposition within the story we’re telling.

The reason I believe the series is loved by so many families, is that the stories encourage children to examine the world around them. It allows them, within a safe, fictional world, where they can hold the Doctor or Donna’s hand, to feel loneliness, fear and sadness. Mr Colosanto’s removal to a labour camp does have echoes of events in the Second World War, but within the parameters we set for 7pm Saturday night and within the story we’re telling, that is surely no bad thing.

‘Doctor Who’ is written, directed and edited for a family audience to enjoy. The production complies with stringent editorial policy processes within the BBC. Decisions are made carefully, across every episode, about how far to show human suffering or danger. These decisions are made at script stage, on the production floor and in the edit. Nothing said or shown in the Episode failed to comply with our editorial standard policies or troubled our judgement, as producers, within the rigorous parameters we set in making the series.

Thank you for taking the time to contact the BBC with your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Julie Gardner

Executive Producer, Doctor Who

The problem with copy & paste responses is that they often fail to answer the original complaint and this is certainly one of those occasions.  My complaint was based around the fact that they have been consistent in their use of “Britain” and “British” throughout the series until this episode when they decided that they would use the phrase “England for the English” instead of “Britain for the British”.

Looks like somebody is going to be getting a phone call tomorrow.

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