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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing of the day: what the heck is going on in Cardiff?

Saw this mysterious thing at Doctor Who News the other day:

Council Is Ordered To Release DW Records

A tribunal has ordered Cardiff Council to hand over all its records to do with Doctor Who.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act was made last year by journalist Christopher Hastings to see all documents between the BBC and the council relating to the series. He also wanted to see complaints about the programme that had been sent to the council, as well as all the relevant civic correspondence with utility firms and other public bodies.

The council had refused to comply, saying that it would take longer than the 18 hours that legislation allows. That stance was rejected by the Information Commissioner so the council appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal. However, the tribunal ruled that Cardiff “failed to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that responding to Mr Hastings’ enquiry would have involved in excess of 18 hours’ work.”

Ordering the council to release the information, it also reproached it for what it called poor evidence, with two officers at the civic authority – Phil Bradshaw and Dave Parsons – contradicting each other, and one of them (Bradshaw) contradicting himself.

The site Local Government Chronicle offers a teensy bit of insight into what this could be about:

Cardiff corresponds regularly with the BBC over road closures for filming the science fiction series in the city.

Okay, so, it seems a journalist is investigating what sort of impact the production of Doctor Who is having upon the citizens of Cardiff. And the council makes up some fairly bullshit reasons why it can’t comply with this request. Why? Does the council fear losing the Doctor Who business — and the cachet it lends to the city — if it was more generally known how disruptive the production is? (It seems to me that any politician worth her salt would be able to convince the citizenry, if it’s not already convinced, that whatever inconvenience is incurred is more than offset by the benefits of having a world-famous, tourist-drawing TV show filming in its fair town.) Is the Master somehow involved in the council’s decisions regarding the series, and needs his involvement to remain a secret? (The new supervillain superweapon: bureaucracy, redtape, and endless paperwork!)

What else could be going on in Cardiff concerning Doctor Who that the council doesn’t want anyone to know about?

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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