Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ Suggested To Fill ‘Doctor Who Spot’ On Saturdays

It’s been an ongoing problem for the BBC; what should fill the Doctor Who spot on Saturday nights when Doctor Who isn’t on?

The Guardian reflects that the BBC has tried to fill the slot with Merlin, Robin Hood, and the recently canceled Atlantis, but that the issue remains a “persistent stone in the shoe of the BBC.”

“Since the Doctor’s rebirth in 2005, the corporation has dredged folklore for popular myths and legends, in the hope that updating them with spry, plucky, improbably good-looking young male leads will eventually pay dividends. Since it has also displayed an almost compulsive habit of killing these shows off, it clearly hasn’t yet.”

So, with Atlantis gone, it’s time to consider—again—what the BBC might do next.

Digital Spy seems to hope that the BBC will try something new with the Doctor Who spot. Matthew Stott wrote, “Now, I can’t be the only one suffering a serious case of sandal fatigue.”

Stott talks about how rebooting Doctor Who wasn’t a safe choice at the time; most people thought the dinosaur would suffer through a series or two before dying again. It wasn’t a safe choice, but due to the way that Who can tell a variety of stories and adventures, it found a new audience and succeeded. Stott suggests this is the ultimate limitation on the other shows that the BBC has tried in the slot—and he offers a solution.

“These shows are also limited in the type of stories they can tell, the imaginative places they can leap to. If they want another long-standing hit like Doctor Who on their hands, the BBC needs to be bold. It needs to dive into the rich fantasy world of Neil Gaiman‘s Neverwhere.”

Neverwhere was originally a BBC series in 1996, an urban fantasy about London Above and London Below that was later adapted as a novel by Gaiman, and more recently as a BBC Radio adaptation that got great reviews.

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The Guardian makes other suggestions, such as a Torchwood style spin-off—perhaps featuring the adventures of a female Time Lord, or the adventures of a companion post-Doctor like The Sarah Jane Adventures—or perhaps even something a little different.

“A homegrown intelligent, high-concept drama that isn’t based on anything or set in ancient something-or-other, with an established writer at its helm, a talented young cast and a steadfast belief placed in it by the BBC? Sounds perfect.”