The Mirror in the U.K. is reporting that worried BBC chiefs are considering scrapping next year’s series of Doctor Who and screening feature-length specials instead.
The legendary sci-fi drama – starring Peter Capaldi as the Time Lord and Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara Oswald – is the Beeb’s biggest-selling programme overseas, earning an estimated £60million a year.
But the cult show has hit a crisis period. Viewing figures have plunged below four million.
Coleman is leaving and Capaldi may do the same to spend more time with his family. Now BBC executives are discussing a range of ways to revive their cash cow.
Last week they announced a spin-off series, Class, aimed at teenagers, to try to find a new army of Doctor Who fans.
Sources say they are also weighing up the drastic step of axing the 12-series run planned for 2016. Instead they would film a couple of Sherlock-style feature-length specials plus a Christmas episode.
A BBC source admitted: “Doctor Who’s decline is very worrying and needs to be addressed. At this stage all options are being considered.
“Everyone accepts that drastic action may be needed.”
Another plan under consideration is rebooting Doctor Who with a new cast in 2017. Game of Thrones and Lady Chatterley star Richard Madden tops the wish list – although BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore has not ruled out introducing a female Doctor.
A BBC spokesman said: “We are only three weeks into this year’s run. It is far too early to discuss next year’s commission.”