Doctor Who: Redacted creator says she is “heartbroken” after being dropped by BBC

Senior producer James Goss takes over role for newest season

Ella Watts, former staff producer at the BBC and Doctor Who: Redacted podcast creator, took to Twitter to share her “heartbreak” after finding out that season 2 of the series will be moving forward without her. 

The producer told PodPod that, while she had been informed in September that she would not be working on the second season, she only discovered yesterday that James Goss, a senior content producer at the BBC and head of the official Doctor Who website, would replace her role as producer of the podcast.

As well as fiction podcasts such as Eliza and narrative fitness app Zombies, Run!, Watts has worked on Doctor Who: Redacted since she first pitched the show in 2018 to BBC Sounds and has since worked on producing, casting, script-writing and editing, and directing after the show got commissioned by the BBC. The second season of the show has not been formally announced by the BBC, but Watts said that she discovered the news through “sharp eyed Doctor Who fans” who spotted actors and writers adding it to their CVs.

“As a fan and a queer woman, to be part of bringing a queer woman fronted show to the Whoniverse was an immensely proud moment of my life,” Watts tweeted. “I’m sorry I’ve not been given the opportunity to see it through. This isn’t the first time in podcasting that women have been replaced by men following successful first seasons. I’m heartbroken that it happened here.”

Watts told PodPod that she left her position as a staff producer for the BBC in March 2022, with the “explicit understanding” that she would continue to work as a freelance producer for the podcast, citing similar arrangements which had previously been made for other colleagues such as Simon Nicholls on Radio 4’s Nature Table and Andy Goddard with The Sink

However, in September last year, Watts claimed, a verbal request from the show’s executive producer to return for the upcoming season was followed less than a week later by an email stating that “concerns had been raised” and that the series would be taking a different direction. She said that she was given no explanation for the decision or which of the project’s multiple stakeholders it came from, and was not offered an application process for the role.

The BBC declined to release an official statement on the situation, stating that it does not comment on contractual matters. However, PodPod understand that Watts was notified of the decision well in advance of the announcement of the new series - which still has not been officially made - and that changing producers between seasons is common practice within the organisation. 

Watts’ tweet garnered massive attention from the podcasting community with over 300,000 views and over 170 replies with many industry people expressing their support and disappointment over the situation, one of which was podcast veteran and broadcaster Helen Zaltzman. 

“You have handled this with such grace but I don’t have to,” Zaltzman tweeted. “It’s absolute trash that they did this to you!” 

Despite Watts’s sadness over the news, she still showed her support to Goss in her Twitter statement, saying that she wishes him the best and that if the second season of Redacted is anything like his previous work, then it will be fantastic, adding that she wishes the production well and that she “can’t wait to listen!”