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Regeneration of a Brand: The Fan Audience and the 2005 Doctor Who Revival

By Douglas McNaughton


The BBC television series Doctor Who ran in its original form from 1963 until 1989, and was revived in 2005 to great acclaim. This paper draws on Hills’ (2002) work on fan cultures to analyse fan responses to the series’ revival, and observes online fan communities and other sources to examine fan discourse around the return of the series and reactions to the first new 2005 episode, with a focus on fan assessments of authenticity in the text. It explores reasons for the revival and to what extent the demands of fans brought it about and the different strategies employed by producers to address the existing fanbase. It untangles some of the complex power struggles that have been waged around the various versions of the show within the broadcaster-text-audience relationship and concludes that despite the increased time-shifting activities of modern audiences, fans constructed the new series as a ‘media event’ (Dayan and Katz 1992) in order to ensure its success

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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