Webcasts are stories which have been formatted for “broadcast” on the Internet.
One of the earliest examples of a Doctor Who webcast was the 1999 Comic Relief comedy episode The Curse of Fatal Death, which was broadcast on TV in the UK, but also made available online worldwide. Today such streaming of televised programming is not considered “webcasts”, but Fatal Death predated this format by several years.
The BBC subsequently has produced fouroriginal webcasts which were “broadcast” on a weekly schedule on the BBC website. These were animated (or partially animated) stories featuring the voices of TV cast members.
Death Comes to Time
Scream of the Shalka
Following the broadcast all stories have been released on CD, except Scream of the Shalka; plans to release a DVD edition of that story were cancelled after the announcement of a new TVseries in 2004. A novelisation was, however, published and the DVD was eventually released in 2013.
All four stories were produced for the BBC, howeveronly Death Comes to Time was produced by the BBC. Real Time and Shada were produced by Big Finish Productions who produced Doctor Who (and Doctor Who-related) and Bernice Summerfield audio and prose stories.
The BBC website also featured Captain Jack’s Monster Files, a series of retrospectives on various Doctor Who monsters, featuring original footage of John Barrowman. This is to date the only original webcast to use live-action footage. In 2009, a “spin- off” production of the Monster Files, A Ghost Story for Christmas, appeared on the website.
Attack of the Graske, an interactive game from 2005, is often erroneously referenced as a webcast; it was not, however, produced for the Internet.
During the second season of the revived Doctor Who, broadcast in 2006, the BBC uploaded brief one-minute “Tardisodes” to The Doctor Who website and to mobile phone users. These mini stories tied in with the episode broadcast that week, often filling in backstory for the episode. These features were never released to DVD.
The sixth series also featured prequels to three stories, broadcast in a similar manner.
A different form of “webcast” is original fiction published exclusively online, with no print version made available. Since approximately 2004 a numberof original short stories have been published by the BBC online, beginning with The Feast of the Stone featuring the so-called Shalka Doctor, and between 2007 and 2009 the BBC’s Doctor Who website periodically featured original fiction featuring the Tenth Doctor, as well as a series of Web-exclusive comic strips dubbed the Writers’ Comics.
The internet has for years also been a venue for fans to informally share their own original, though un official original works namely fan fiction.
A controversial aspect of BBC Online’s content is that much of it is”geo-fenced” or “geo-locked” (the exact term varies) so that only users whose computers are recognised as being in the United Kingdom can access it. In the early days of the BBC’s Doctor Who website, content such as the webcast serials was viewable internationally. Since the show’s return to television in 2005 (and subsequent launch of a redesigned website), much of the content — in particular anything with video — has been restricted to UK users only. Reasons given for this include issues involving copyright clearance and license fees for characters and actors appearing in the clips, to the fact that BBC Online’s content is generated using funds collected from UK-based TV licence-fee payers. Text-based material such as the short stories and e-books, as well as other material such as photos and comic strips, has generally been left available for all users. (Despite the restrictions, all video-related content has at one point or another ended up on file-sharing and video-sharing services.)
In January 2010, many links to content on BBC Online’s Doctor Who website now point to a “placeholder page” promoting the new era of Doctor Who which will involve a redesign and rebranding of the official website. Material from the 2005-2009 version of the site (and earlier) can still be accessed via a link. However the link includes the notation “Only available in the UK”. As of 15 January 2010 this link is still active for international users; it is at present unknown whether content from BBC Online’s Doctor Who home page will continue to be available to users outside the United Kingdom as it has been since the 1990s.
During Lockdown many new Webcasts were released and a list of them is as follows:
A Return to Skaro for the First Doctor
A Visit from Prof Summerfield
The Best of Days
The Big Finish Christmas Advert 2000
Cyberon is back
The Defence Drones
The Descendants of Pompeii
Doctor Who Festive Holiday Yule Log
Farewell, Sarah Jane
Fear Is a Superpower
The Home Assistants of Death?!
The Legend of… The Master?
Listen to the voice of your Master!
The Master wants to be your Santa Claus
Masterful social media-only exclusive scene
Message from The Doctor
A New Year’s message from The Doctor…
The Raggedy Doctor by Amelia Pond
Return of the Autons
The Secret of Novice Hame
The Shadow in the Mirror
Shadows of Doubt
Strax Saves the Day
Sven and the Scarf
Time Lord Victorious: Trailer
U.N.I.T. On Call
United we stand, 2m apart
Vincent and the Doctor’s Gallery
The Zygon Isolation
The Daleks had their own animated series called Daleks!
The Archive of Islos
The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy
Planet of the Mechanics
Day of Reckoning
The Deadly Ally
Some of the DVDs featured webcasts including the return of Peri Brown, Melanie Bush, and Ace
The Eternal Mystery
There was a webcast before the Premiere of Flux
The Flux is Coming