Doctor Who’s occasional forays into the world of the webisode have generally been quite an interesting thing to observe and track the development of. While they existed in a somewhat more experimental form before the series revival in 2005 (such as 2003’s Scream of the Shalka featuring Richard E. Grant as an alternative Ninth Doctor), it’s only been in the last few years that the BBC seem to have really embraced the format.
They have ranged from minor prequels (the short so-called “Tardisodes” that served as preludes to each episode of Series 2) to somewhat longer and more detailed interludes (mostly with key episodes of Matt Smith’s run, such as the prequels to Asylum of the Daleks or the aftermath of A Good Man Goes To War), to the more recent online episodes that have dug their teeth into serious impactful plot (the recent Night of the Doctor being the most resounding example here).
Well, good news to any fans of the online format, because apparently there are plans in the works for some development there! Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat discussed this with SFX recently, and from the sound of things he has some rather big ideas. Indicating that web content has gained more interest due to the runaway success of episodes like the aforementioned Night of the Doctor or the short miniseries Pond Life, Moffat says that “online stuff isn’t a spin-off anymore”. Indeed, he seems to be pushing for it to be seen as simply another facet of the TV show, saying “why not do an episode that’s ten minutes? Or an episode that’s half an hour?”
Exciting stuff, to be sure! While I know I’m now on mention three of it, The Night of the Doctor really went a step above and beyond as far as net-based episodes are concerned, giving us one of the most dramatic episodes of Doctor Who there is, and managing to do it in under seven minutes nonetheless. There’s a lot of potential for unexplored characters and settings there, I reckon, and the shorter format could lead to a lot of interesting ideas. But that’s just me talking, what do you think?