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According to Wikipedia between 2005 and 2008 Doctor Who, one of the BBC's flagship programs, was shot in 576i (standard definition). However, Torchwood, a spin off of the popular franchise which ran during a similar time period, was shot in 1080i (Full HD). Both series were produced by the same company - BBC Wales.

What explains the difference in quality? It's evident that the technology was there and that the production studio was willing to use it, so why didn't they?

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In part, it was down to Russell T Davies not wanting to do Doctor Who in HD after having bad experiences with Torchwood.

"I'm fighting it off," Davies said at a Broadcast event in London. "I had a terrible experience on Torchwood. There was a lack of training and there was no extra time or money."

He added: "We'd have to stop and rebuild the TARDIS. The flaws would show and it would take a lot of money to fix it. So we won't move to HD while I'm there."

hd who would mean rebuilding tardis

Although it looks like filming started in HD from Planet of the Dead, although the Season 4 Specials were pretty TARDIS light episodes.

doctor who to film in high definition

So when RTD left the show, they re-designed the TARDIS and at that point the upgraded it to look good in HD.

doctor who exclusive tardis to be redesigned

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