Tweeting the Tardis: Interaction, live-ness and social media in Doctor Who fandom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Studies of media audiences and their relationships with producers have often taken online fan communities and forums or message boards as their focus, considering how fans were able to talk to writers, producers, or stars of favourite media texts. Such work often focused on cases from the television industry where those involved in the production of shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost often courted the involvement and opinions of fans. Until the recent Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who, however, this was not a common strategy of those involved in the production of the BBC series; the prior Head Writer and Producer Russell T. Davies did not participate in any online discussions with fans. However, in the Moffat-era, a shift has taken place in which Moffat’s participation, not on online fora but rather on the micro-blogging website Twitter, has opened up a new dimension of fan participation and contact. Indeed, work on audiences’ use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook is emerging (see Deller, 2011). This chapter thus examines the uses fans make of Twitter through interaction with Steven Moffat to consider how this contributes to a sense of ‘ambient intimacy’ for fans (Thompson, cited in Arceneaux and Amy Schmitz Weiss 2010). Taking the 2011 Christmas special as its main point of analysis, the chapter will consider the interplay between fans’ ‘real-time’ discussions of episodes as they air, comments made to and by the official Steven Moffat on Twitter, and playful uses of Twitter through fan-created accounts for figures such as ‘Angry-Moffat’ and ‘evilMoffat’ (comedic accounts offering imagined rantings from the show’s creator). The chapter thus seeks to offer consideration of the new dimensions of fandom in the era of ‘New Who’ and the broader ways in which Twitter interactions further our understandings of online fandom in the era of social media.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Dimensions of Doctor Who
Subtitle of host publicationAdventures in Space, Time and Television
EditorsMatt Hills
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781845118662
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameReading Contemporary Television
PublisherI.B. Tauris


  • social media
  • television
  • Fandom


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