Doctor Who AI Controversy Cancels Promotion

By TeeJay Small | Published

Doctor Who is poised to return to the BBC this May, with a brand new Doctor in the leading role, leaving many fans highly excited for the latest news and updates on the franchise. However, a recent promotional messaging program shared by the station had some viewers in a frenzy, after it was revealed that the marketing push used generative AI to produce text in the ad. After facing significant backlash, the BBC has promised to stop using AI while promoting the series.

BBC Used AI To Promote Doctor Who

According to the marketing team behind the BBC, the AI text was used as part of a small promotion employed to invite fans of Doctor Who to sign up for email and mobile notifications about the show, including the release date of the season premiere. Decision-makers at the marketing department specifically assured fans that all the text was proofread and verified by real human employees, though this didn’t seem reassuring to the masses.

AI In Media Is A Hot-Button Topic

While it remains unclear just how many infuriated Doctor Who fans wrote in to the station to complain, the BBC’s quick response seems to indicate the frustrated patrons turned out in droves. AI has been a major sticking point for film and television audiences at large in recent years, with protections against AI serving as a root cause for last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

The strikes, which concluded in September and November respectively, culminated in the very first protections for writers and actors against artificial intelligence, though some argued that the protection was less than comprehensive.

Expect More AI In Hollywood

The film industry within the UK also proposed regulatory framework for artificial intelligence this year, offering a set of principles for filmmakers and studios alike. Despite all these new regulations, the developers behind OpenAI, which runs generative models like ChatGPT and the DALL-E 3 have already begun meeting with Hollywood execs, with the explicit intention of using generative AI videos and graphics in big-budget movies. For fans of Doctor Who, the promotional materials may have come off as the first step in a slippery slope, eventually leading to a path of robot-created art.

Doctor Who Promises To Stop Using AI

doctor who

Luckily, the network seems to have fully heel-turned its policy on AI-generated content in the face of this Doctor Who backlash, proving that the voice of the masses can be used to achieve great things when audiences band together. Doctor Who has been known to have a passionate fanbase, who don’t always mind sifting through a few man-made quirks to suspend their disbelief in the first place. As with any franchise that dates back decades, early Doctor Who episodes featured a host of imperfections due to human limitations.

Doctor Who’s 14th Season Out Soon

Doctor Who‘s 14th season is on pace to premiere with a stunning two-part arrival on May 10. The latest season offers the long-awaited return of celebrated showrunner Russell T. Davies, as well as the launch of Barbie‘s Ncuti Gatwa in the leading role. The BBC has assured fans that there is no artificial intelligence in the series itself in the wake of the current backlash.

Source: Deadline