Stephen Conroy pressured ABC on Doctor Who

Dr Who 017At the opening of a Doctor Who exhibition at ABC’s Ultimo headquarters last night, managing director Mark Scott revealed a trade secret about former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

“The ABC of course is fiercely independent. We’re funded by government, we deliver for the Australian people, but we are independent. But I must say that the only time I’ve ever felt any pressure on me was by our former Minister Stephen Conroy who was such a devoted Doctor Who fan,” he said.

Dr Who 013“And the only calls that I ever calls I ever got from him were always around Doctor Who. It would be on the availability of Doctor Who merchandising in his local ABC Shop, it would be whether in fact we were fast-tracking the new series when it arrives, or to tell me that he was one of those people who would get up at 4 in the morning to watch it when it arrives.

“That’s just the kind of political interference that we could deal with.”

Dr Who 015Mark Scott opened the Doctor Who exhibition in the ABC Atrium last night with BBC Australasia’s Jon Penn. In attendance were ABC1 Channel Controller, BBC Australasia Director of Content Deirdre Brennan and ABC Acting Communications Manager Lynne Shaw.

The exhibition includes the Tenth Doctor’s costume as played by David Tennant as well as Kylie Minogue’s costume from Voyage of the Damned, an Ood head, Cybermat, Tom Baker’s scarf, an original Dalek, an iconic TARDIS, sonic screwdriver and more.

The free exhibition is open until January.

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  1. Frick! First I found out he was a Chelsea fan! So I gave up being a Chelsea fan. The I find out he supports Collingwood! I can never get his rendition of “Good Old Collingwood Forever” out of my head (as if someone nailed a stake into my skull!) And now I find out he is a Doctor Who fan? What is this man trying to do? Ruin everything I love????

  2. I think Mark Scott was only having a little joke here, but the way Doctor Who gets the red carpet treatment at ABC is just plain bizarre. It’s just a primetime kids program that only does okay in the ratings. It looks like it’s brainwashed a lot of important people, from Conroy down. Maybe if we could play some episodes backwards we’ll be able to decipher the alien message it’s sending out to its captured minions?

  3. If i remember it was on iview a week before it was shown on ABC because they scheduled it in on a saturday at the beginning of the year.

    So nothing to see here…

  4. Wow, conspiracy theories have exploded. Maybe Mark Scott was telling an anecdote, there are only three people that know, Mark Scott, David and Conroy. And Pertinax I didn’t know personal favours meant asking whether a Sonic Screwdriver was in stock in his local store, oh quick better get that to a Senate Inquiry. Get Eric Abetz to head that, he sounds like a Dalek.

  5. By admitting he gets up at 4 am to watch Doctor Who, he’s inadvertently admitting that he’s torrenting to achieve that – that’s if what ajaymackay was saying is true. 4 am is about the time it would finish airing in the UK…but whether the ABC is also airing it straight after is another thing.
    It just goes to show that even our politicians have their favourite TV shows, and will do anything to watch them when the rest of the world does, no matter what time. I wish Foxtel and FTA would see that, instead of holding viewers hostage to their waiting times.

    • No, Mark Scott is referring to events like the Dr Who special at 4am and Dr Who episodes that were added to iview early in the morning (pretty sure we’ve had some 6am uploads from iview). Sorry to shoot down your conspiracy theories, I was there and heard the context from Mark Scott.

  6. “or to tell me that he was one of those people who would get up at 4 in the morning to watch it when it arrives”

    How else would he watch it at 4am in the morning? (apart from youtube, dailymotion etc)

  7. Why does the Minister think it is appropriate for him to be ringing up senior staff at an independent public broadcaster and asking for personal favours?

    Demonstrates what is wrong with Labour’s approach to government and why they are incapable to getting anything done right.

  8. Wait a minute, has Stephen Conroy admitted to torrenting Doctor Who? To the managing director of the ABC, no less? The ABC only put episodes up on iView in advance of their Sunday evening screening for one year … and I’m pretty sure that they didn’t hit iView at exactly 4am. Correct me if I’m wrong. And I don’t think that he just meant The Next Doctor recent special, so an interesting question for someone to put to the former Communications Minister 🙂

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