Home BBC in need of Sonic Screwdriver to fix the Doctor Who AI breakdown

BBC in need of Sonic Screwdriver to fix the Doctor Who AI breakdown

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has decided not to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into the advertising of the iconic show Doctor Who.

We reported earlier this month that David Housden, a senior executive with the BBC had initially said that there is “a rich variety of content in the Whoniverse collection on iPlayer to test and learn with, and Doctor Who thematically lends itself to AI, which is a bonus.”

Now the fans have spoken and the broadcaster has had to file an official statement saying “We have no plans to do this again to promote Doctor Who.”

BBC backpedals on AI incorporation

The Doctor Who Companion site was “disgusted” at the attempt to incorporate the generative AI into any aspect of the show.

The site would post that “shortly after the news was published, outrage from fans resulted in the (AI announcement) article being deleted — replaced by a webpage which states “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page.”

Housden had stated “We’re going to take it one step at a time, starting simple and learning as we go. We have chosen to start with Doctor Who, as it is a joint content priority for both BBC Public Service UK and BBC Studios marketing teams.”

This was a marquee moment for both the established pop culture character, who has fought storied battles against AI and robots in comics, television, and radio dramas, and the BBC.

The cherished Tardis-traveling Doctor and their fanbase won in the end. In response to the complaints levied at the BBC, the broadcaster released a statement acknowledging the backlash, writing:

“We received complaints about reports that the BBC is exploring generative AI in Doctor Who promotion.”

“As part of a small trial, marketing teams used generative AI technology to help draft some text for two promotional emails and mobile notifications to highlight Doctor Who programming available on the BBC.

We followed all BBC editorial compliance processes and the final text was verified and signed off by a member of the marketing team before it was sent.”

Doctor Who returns to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in May 2024 for the UK and Disney+ for the rest of the world.

As we reported earlier this year, Doctor Who will also be making a debut in the world of Fortnite to possibly coincide with this new series of science fiction adventures, according to well-established gaming leakers.

Image: BBC.


About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Brian-Damien Morgan
Features Writer

Brian-Damien Morgan is an award-winning journalist and features writer. He was lucky enough to work in the print sector for many UK newspapers before embarking on a successful career as a digital broadcaster and specialist. His work has spanned the public and private media sectors of the United Kingdom for almost two decades. Since 2007, Brian has continued to add to a long list of publications and institutions, most notably as Editor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning multiple awards for his writing and digital broadcasting efforts. Brian would then go on to be integral to the Legacy 2014,…

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.