Next time someone from the BBC argues that it is worth spending vast amounts of the licence fee on the football (the last round of FA Cup rights cost the BBC and BSkyB Â£300 million, ITV won them away for Â£425 million), rather than spending it elsewhere, or they argue that moving popular shows for the football is a good idea because ‘more people will watch the football’, show them these figures from last night. The viewing figures increase by almost a third – nearly 1.9 million extra viewers for Doctor Who over the FA Cup game, and by 8pm there were another 0.4 million again.
So tonight, Doctor Who comes face-to-face with his greatest enemy – FA Cup Football. The semi-final clash between Manchester United and Watford has been scheduled for late afternoon, so even if it is all settled within ninety minutes, it is a late start for Doctor Who. However if it goes to extra time or penalties, the BBC has announced that they will cancel the showing of Doctor Who as otherwise it will be shown too late for younger fans. With regards to the older fans, you only need to listen to this weeks Now Show, where Mitch Ben, an avid Liverpool supporter, and therefore genetically predisposed to loathing Manchester United has penned a song to encourage Manchester United to produce a decisive normal time win.
Having said that, my brother who has been a long-time Watford supporter seems to think we’ve got nothing to worry about. Although he’s headed off to see the game, he thinks that based on the two teams form mid-week, Manchester United will walk it – although of course if Manchester United themselves think that they will walk it, that might lead to a long battle of attrition ending on the penalty spot… There is also the added pressure that this years final will be the first played at the new Wembley Stadium – looking at the teams left in the competition, which combination do you think the FA would prefer, Blackburn/Watford or Chelsea/Manchester United?
Anyway, assuming the game finishes on time, what have we got to look forward to in Doctor Who? There have been a number of hints dropped that alongside the returning Face of Boe, there is the reappearance of a classic series monster. There hasn’t been any official announcement of who it might be, other than that it isn’t the Ice Warriors. There is some speculation that it might be the Macra, but we’ll have to wait and see if that is true…