Today (18 October) the BBC announced their decision to end daytime drama Doctors after 23 years. Read the full statement from our CEO Andy Harrower below:
“At a time when directors and production teams are struggling for work, it’s especially sad to see this long-running drama come to an end. For many of our members, Doctors has been a launchpad for their careers.
It’s been somewhere that directors like S. J. Clarkson, Jordan Hogg, and Directors UK Board member Alexander Jacob have honed their craft. It’s opened doors for directors from underrepresented groups, by providing an important first step on the ladder and a credit - not least through the long-running Continuing Drama New Directors’ Training Scheme which we’ve run in partnership with the BBC.
Continuing drama is undoubtedly a training ground for directors. With this cancellation, coupled with that of Holby City, a smaller episode order of Casualty, and the move of Hollyoaks from Channel 4 to E4 and streaming, we’re extremely concerned that this vital stepping stone is being lost completely.
We want to understand the BBC’s plans as to how they will provide the career pathways that are being lost. How will the BBC ensure other recent daytime commissions bridge the gap to ensure continuing drama remains a rung in the ladder in the career of a director?”
Alexander Jacob, Nations and Regions representative for the Directors UK Board, added: “I’m grateful for the opportunities it [Doctors] provided, the knowledge it imparted, and the lasting impact it has had on my career. The BBC and other broadcasting networks must recognise the void left by Doctors and continue to invest in similar programs, ensuring that aspiring directors have the training grounds they need to flourish, innovate, and contribute to the continued success of the industry.”
Alexander has also written a piece for Broadcast in response to the BBC’s cancellation of Doctors, reflecting on the loss of this key training ground for directors and urging greater investment in continuing drama.