Doctor Who breaks new ground for television

It would seem Doctor Who is breaking new ground in some interesting ways.

They’ve engineered a “world tour” which involves the show’s stars jetting around the world for live appearances in 6 cities around the globe over about a week. It’s just about finished now… I’d imagine they’d be suffering horribly from jetlag by the time they get back to the UK. It was a set of public screenings for fans, but given limited capacity at each venue, I suspect was mostly set up as a media event.

Doctor Who: Deep Breath cinema ad, The Age, 15/8/2014

Next week “Deep Breath”, the new series opening episode will be simulcast on the ABC at the same time as it airs in Britain — 7:50pm Saturday in the UK, 4:50am Sunday in eastern Australia. It’ll then be available on iView straight afterwards, with a prime time repeat at 7:30pm. The same occurred with the 50th anniversary episode “Day Of The Doctor” last November.

It’ll also be shown in the cinemas on the Sunday: from the looks of listings on yourmovies.com.au, almost 100 cinemas in Victoria alone will show it.

Cinemas do seem to be moving into this kind of special event area. Perhaps they are looking to diversify from traditional movies, and also sensing that people will willingly pay a higher “event” price: Village is charging $25 for tickets, about $6 more than the normal price, and $40 for Gold Class, which is about the usual price. So they’ve recently taken on screenings such as showing the Monty Python live concert from London, a similar Stephen Fry event, classical music concerts and operas — and Doctor Who episodes — “Deep Breath” follows “Day Of The Doctor” in this regard, and recently some cinemas have also shown episodes in the past (though well after the TV broadcast).

I guess the production of TV programmes in 1080p HD now allows projection onto the big screen, and digital media allows distributors to rush it to cinemas worldwide without messing about trying to get physical film out there. But still, in the world of television, this and the simulcast appear to be almost unique to Doctor Who.

Of course there’s long been a relationship between TV and cinema. In the 60s in particular it was common for TV series (particularly in the UK) to be remade as films, sometimes with the same cast and writers, and considered part of the TV series; sometimes independent (as with the 1960s Doctor Who movies).

Many of our family is going to see “Deep Breath” in the cinema. The kids are going to screenings with their friends — M and myself have splurged on Gold Class, and will most likely avoid the early TV broadcast and try and avoid spoilers until we see it on the big screen. (I avoided seeing “Day Of The Doctor” because it was only shown in 3D, which doesn’t work on me.)

Notably, booking on the Village Cinemas web site, we found that on top of the ticket price there was a $2 booking fee for standard tickets… but a whopping $10 for Gold Class. Using the identical web site of course, and you have to print the ticket or show it on your mobile phone. The cheek of it.

Oh well, cost aside, it should be great — but it makes me wonder: Doctor Who is probably helped into this situation by being a cult show that’s also very popular, and being targeted at all ages… but is any other TV show getting this kind of treatment?

Tron (and why home theatre is so popular)

I don’t see a lot of movies in the cinema, so call me slow if you like, but I think I’ve worked out why big TVs and DVDs and Bluray are getting so popular.

Cinema tickets

Freaking $18.50 for an adult, $13.50 for kids? (And this is at 10am on a weekday — I don’t know if their pricing varies at peak times.) Plus $4 each for Choc Tops, and $3.90 for a bottle of water. $61.40 for a movie with a snack? Gordon Bennett.

The silver-lining is there was only one other person in the theatre, sitting right up the back, so we got pick of the seats.

And the movie itself? Spectacular, but not deep. Enjoyable but not utterly brilliant. A little like the original, in fact.

Bentleigh once had a cinema

I lived in Elsternwick once, and since then have always envied residents there. Everything’s there: supermarket, lots of shops, restauraunts, train or tram to city, bus to the beach. And a cinema: The Classic, which originated in 1913, and thanks to investment and renovations in the 90s, survives (and thrives) today.

Bentleigh, where I now live, once had a cinema, next to the station. What became Bentleigh Hoyts originally opened in 1928, and ran until 1984 — later than I thought it might have survived. From the looks of the photos, a marvellous art deco building. A little bit of the facade on Nicholson Street survives, but it’s now offices of a real estate agent.

Bentleigh Hoyts


View Larger Map

What a shame it closed. We have heaps of real estate agents. A cinema would have been terrific to still have in the neighbourhood.

(Prompted by a Twitter post that popped up in my Bentleigh feed.)