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“These sci-fi people vote”

Well, that’s according to Kelly Osbourne at last night’s National Television Awards to explain away how David Tennant could bag the Most Popular Actor gong in favour of Charlie Clements off of EastEnders.

Well, at least that’s what I thought she mumbled in a barely audible and awkward manner during the backstage show put out by ITV2. One can only assume, based on Kelly and her brother Jack’s performance at hosting this post awards show, that the Chuckle Brothers were unavailable to take the gig. I mean, really…

But I digress from the main point.

There’s been talk elsewhere in the media this morning (well, it was on breakfast telly) in the post-match discussion that Doctor Who won Most Popular Drama and David Tennant won Most Popular Actor at the NTA’s because the Doctor Who dafties are more mobilised and get their voting arses in gear. Yes, that’s exactly why the awards were won.

Which is kind of the point. Doctor Who is popular enough to have a massive fanbase who want to vote for it in awards ceremonies. Look at the name above the door of each award – it says “Most Popular”. On the basis of ratings and Audience Appreciation Index, Doctor Who is the most popular non-soap drama on TV. I know shows like New Tricks and Waking the Dead often rate higher (and let’s not forget Doc Martin’s current stellar ratings), but with AI on top, it’s a pretty good indicator of Who’s popularity.

This isn’t about which drama is best, which is a fairly difficult concept to quantify for an award’s bash. It could be argued that Life on Mars, also up for most popular drama, is better than Doctor Who, but there’s no way it’s more popular. That’s a provable fact (although I’m now prepared for the barrage of theories telling me otherwise).

And I don’t buy that Doctor Who’s third win at the NTAs is down to the dafties mobilising en masse to put in multiple votes, which was a touch more difficult this year. If only the die-hards were voting, I seriously doubt it would be enough to seal the deal. No, this show, which lord knows has its faults, has struck a chord with a wide-ranging audience who like the show and love its charismatic and popular star.

So yes, Kelly Osbourne, those sci-fi people probably do vote in awards ceremonies like the NTAs, but no more so than those EastEnders people, or those X Factor people, or those… After last night’s turn, love, I doubt there’ll be many people voting for you anytime soon.


To be number one in the popularity stakes you need more than the central fan base. To win this kind of award you need the backing of a wider audience. The core 'Who-vians', wouldn't be enough in number to propel Dr Who to the top, it relies on those who may not be really into sci-fi but just love the show. Maybe they couldn't even tell you why, they just do. Also, there is also the fact, which may have little to do with these popularity votes, but David Tennant is one of the best actors this country has ever seen. He's been brilliant way before Doctor Who picked him up. If you've ever seen him on stage, you'll know exactly what I mean. If not, have a gander at Takin' Over the Aslyum, made when he could only have been in his early 20s. Even then, you could see it. He's got something special, and it shines way beyond one kind of fanbase.

I have to echo Emmy's comments above. DT is brilliant. The show may have flaws but I haven't seen them. I am a US viewer who must wait for the shows to trickle over on Scifi, BBCAmerica and my local PBS station. I watch this show--with both the 9th and 10th Doctor whenever it's on. I'm not sure how but it captures a kind of joy and sorrow that that illuminates the human condition. The writing is better than almost anything I've seen here and the acting is superlative. I agree with Emmy DT is one of the best. When I see one of his performances for the second, third, tenth time, it's like seeing it for the first time. And Christopher Eccleston, whose performance as 9 first drew me into the new DW shows is great also. Much credit to RTD for bringing this show to life.

loke at x fator

I, too,agree with Emmy in that you need more than a scifi fanbase to win the major awards. That said, I am a scifi fan and, most especially, a fan of time travel stories. I am also a U.S. viewer (who stumbled across the NTA website and actually voted) . I have now seen all three seasons and have enjoyed every minute. For me, it all boils down to the cast . I became quite attached to Chrisopher Eccleston's Doctor, and now to David Tennant's -- and to Rose, Jacquie, Mickey, Captain Jack, etc. These characters have a very wide appeal that transcends the genre. David Tennant's mercurial doctor just sweeps us all along. Who could resist going on an adventure with him?

Funnily enough, a popular vote is how we get our governments as well. Those who are 'mobilised' enough, go and vote for who they want to win and that determines who takes control of our whole country for the next 4-5 years. In my experience, those who don't bother to vote complain loudest that they don't like the government they end up with. It seems that television award shows suffer from the exact same problem ... who'da think it.

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