Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Changing Channels

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ANTHONY SMITH, retiring Director of the British Film Institute, in the third of a special series, interviews MICHAEL GRADE, who has recently taken over the role of Chief Executive at Channel 4, vacated by Jeremy Isaacs, who was interviewed last week.

The most nonsensical row at the BBC was the row over Doctor Who. I took Doctor Who off for being too violent, and it was decided not to make the reason public at the beginning because we didn't want to start a whole violence debate, although it seemed to me a perfectly good reason to take a programme off that was going out at five o'clock on a Saturday evening with kids watching. Bill Cotton and I didn't bother to tell the Governors, and the tabloids got hold of it and there was 'GRADE AXES DOCTOR WHO' and all that stuff—millions crying in the streets, civil unrest, etc, etc. The Governors went absolutely potty about this completely fabricated nonsense. What that told me was that the Governors were taking their agenda from a hysterical circulation war in Fleet Street. The fact that Doctor Who was one of the least popular programmes in the whole of the BBC canon, nothing to with it, the fact that it was taken off because it was too violent, nothing to do with it. They just saw those big headlines in all the newspapers, and instinctively reacted. It was only an issue because they made it an issue.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Smith, Anthony (1988-10-06). Changing Channels. The Listener p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Smith, Anthony. "Changing Channels." The Listener [add city] 1988-10-06, 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Smith, Anthony. "Changing Channels." The Listener, edition, sec., 1988-10-06
  • Turabian: Smith, Anthony. "Changing Channels." The Listener, 1988-10-06, section, 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Changing Channels | url= | work=The Listener | pages=6 | date=1988-10-06 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Changing Channels | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 July 2024}}</ref>