Matt Smith as the Doctor (courtesy of Boxofdelights)
He’s fought Daleks from Skaro, Cybermen from Mondas and even his greatest nemesis The Master. And won.
But the Doctor may finally have met his match when he went face-to-face with perhaps his fiercest adversary to date: local government bureaucracy.
Since its 2005 reboot, Cardiff has been the proud home of Doctor Who which has been filmed in the Welsh capital since Christopher Eccleston took the keys to the Tardis.
Now, Cardiff Council has been ordered by the Information Commissioner’s Office to release details of its correspondence with the BBC over the hit TV series.
The move comes after the council refused to honour journalist Christopher Hastings’ Freedom of Information request made on 10 December, 2011, to obtain the relevant information on the grounds it would have taken longer than the 18 hours man-hours permitted to formulate a response.
Mr Hastings subsequently took his complaint to Information Commissioner Christopher Graham who issued the council a Decision Notice on 30 August, 2011, stating it had no grounds to engage the relevant sections of the Act.
And despite an appeal to the Information Rights Tribunal, the Commissioner’s decision was upheld.
“The tribunal concluded the appellant [Cardiff Council] had failed to prove, on the balance of probabilities, responding to Mr Hastings' inquiry would have involved in excess of 18 hours work.
“It is not sufficient for a public authority simply to assert the appropriate limit has been exceeded,” read the Tribunal report, which added its judges were “bewildered” by the quality and nature of the evidence supplied by the council.
A spokesperson for the council said while it accepted the Tribunal’s decision, it was still concerned the request would take more than 18 man-hours to act upon.
“We estimated the cost of processing the original request for information would have been prohibitive.
“In hindsight, we accept we did not provide sufficient evidence to the tribunal in regard of the costs of processing the request for information, however, we note that the tribunal recognised the efforts made to clarify the request which were rejected by the requester of the information.”
The council initially outlined two issues with Mr Hastings’ request. Firstly, it was deemed “vexatious” in accordance with Section 14(1) of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act.
And secondly, formulating a response would take longer than 18 hours permitted in accordance with Section 12(1).