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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: Amy’s voiceover intro for the international episodes — good or bad?

I was a little upset to hear from friends and fellow Doctor Who fans in the U.S. that the BBC America versions of the episodes in the current season have been opening with a voiceover by Amy, setting up the scenario. I finally got a look — and hear — at the intro thanks to Ken, who sent this video:

As the bug on the bottom right of this screengrab video indicates, ABC1 in Australia is also running the intros; if this is the international version of Doctor Who, I presume that it’s the same on Space in Canada as well as on BBC America in the U.S.

What Amy says:

When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. And when I grew up, he came back. He’s called the Doctor. He comes from somewhere else. He’s got a box called the TARDIS that’s bigger on the inside and can travel anywhere in time and space. I ran away with him, and we’ve been running ever since.

I have to say that this really bugs me. It makes it sound as if we don’t know anywhere near as much about the Doctor as we do. (We know perfectly well where the “somewhere else” he comes from is.) It makes it sound as if Doctor Who is all about Amy. Which it isn’t. One of the things I’ve loved most about New Who is that it has been about the Doctor — as a character, as a man — in ways that the classic series rarely went near. This appears to negate that.

Yes, sure, the episodes themselves are the same as we see in the U.K. (or, at least on BBC America, they air the first time unedited, even if they are edited for subsequent rebroadcast). But still: this messes with Doctor Who in ways that annoy me.

Am I alone in this?

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

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  • Quite right. I didn’t see them the first time through (since I saw them through dubious channels), but I finally saw this intro when the episodes hit Netflix. I found the Amy voiceover doubly annoying since I knew full well every little thing it was saying, AND it totally ruins the flow of the cold open into the credits music. Lame.

  • Esbanks303

    It’s so annoying! One thing I loved was how the craziest moment of a crazy scene would happen, and you’re on the edge of the couch going “WHAAAA?” right when you hear “WEEEEEERRRRRR–Bum bum, bada bum bum, bada bum bum…” And I’d be all jazzed and bouncing along to the music and excited about the episode! Now I get all psyched during the opening scene and then am completely taken out of it by that voiceover. By the time the credits hit, my adrenalin is down and I feel like that experience is lost forever. I’m upset they kept it in for the Netflix edition, as that’s how I’m watching it.

  • Just starting watching a couple of months ago and now I’m completely possessed by it.  I’m American and the voiceovers are sooooo getting on my nerves.  I love Karen’s accent but the voiceover just totally disrupts the mood established by the opening scenes.  It’s distracting and unnecessary.  If someone’s made it all the way to Season (Series) 6 then they already know where he’s from his history with Amy.  It’s actually rather insulting that to assume that a view can’t figure out the “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” premise..

  • Ty lee<3

    Calm down guys. The VO lasts about five seconds, takes barely any time, and doesn’t even matter. It just tells new watchers what’s going on. So calm down and just enjoy the show.

  • Steven Farquhar

    Quite frankly, if they are a new viewer, what the hell are they doing
    picking up in the middle of series 6??? The information she is giving is
    so basic about the show, that if someone doesn’t know any of these
    things, they deserve to be confused. :P

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Not everybody has Netflix.

  • Moriaelini

    You are absolutely not alone in this. I am late to the party, only having recently decided to pull the trigger and watch the new show (I watched the old one on PBS as a child), and just started on season 6. The voice-over intro makes me ridiculously furious. I feel it denigrates the show and makes it out to be like some americanesque action-adventure show. I cannot see what purpose it serves either. I mean if you ARE an American and you have watched this far, chances are you are fully vested in the show and don’t need these moronic trappings. ARGH!

  • S.J

    I do not have a problem with the intro. I feel it does not take away from our knowledge of the show. Have you ever seen the show “Continuum? If you haven’t, if might just be a US show. The first two seasons start with her talking about what happened in the pilot. I think it’s fine. Though I see what you mean about it making sound like its about Amy.


    I’m watching this season for the first time on netflix.

    All this time later…and this intro is utter bollocks I have to skip every time.

  • Roxie

    The intros are especially unnecessary on Netflix since people watching the show on there are binge watching and are likely to know what happened before season 6 (they can just go back and watch the previous seasons since they are also on the site). This is my first time watching the Americanized version of the show, when I watched it before during the time it was originally airing, I watched the episodes as they aired in Britain, and they did not have those stupid intros. I was surprised to see the intro and wish that Netflix would have edited it out of the shows, since it is especially a waste of time when watching the show on there.

  • Kanye Asxs

    Hi Roxie, I have a similar experience of parallel universes, can I contact you? Give me your e-mail please, I need help, I need to go home !

  • andychrist

    late to the party , the whole series is geared to american audiences , intro included , starts in america , brits saying “gasoline” instead of petrol , guns and explosions (yanks like guns) , mel driving an american car in the uk , showing deference to the president (nixon was a terrible prez , but not here) , its the first series that was very heavily advertised and promoted in america with tv ads , hoardings , train posters etc so everything in the show was skewed toward to be recognised by america .

  • That’s true. Are you British, though? Americanisms are creeping in *everywhere* in British culture, not just in this show.

  • Ben Pleasant

    I just want to say, Amy, in a way, is the main character. If you actually know the show, you would notice that, even though it’s called “Doctor Who”, the protagonist, or main character, is the Doctor’s companion(every one, not just one of them). Thank you!

  • Danielm80

    I think it’s safe to say that MaryAnn actually knows the show:


    She’s been watching it for most of her life, and writing about it for decades.

    But mazel tov on the “upvote” from…yourself. Self-confidence is important.

  • I’m guessing you’ve never seen any of the original series…

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