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“End Of The BBC… On Its Way”: Why Doctor Who’s Disney+ Deal Is Necessary Explained By Russell T Davies-TGN


  • According to Russell T Davies, the Disney+ deal secures
    Doctor Who
    ‘s future amid BBC uncertainty.
  • BBC has already been cutting funds ahead of the UK government’s decision on licensing fees.
  • Doctor Who
    ‘s next season will see a major release shake-up with a global premiere on Disney+ and BBC.



Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies explains how the Disney+ deal is necessary for the show’s continuity given BBC’s uncertain future. The long-running British sci-fi series became the subject of an agreement between the studio and the UK broadcaster, as the latter will contribute to the production and handle international distribution. The new era of Doctor Who under the BBC and Disney’s agreement will continue to be seen in season 14, led by Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday.

While Doctor Who’s season 14 return in May will give audiences a greater glimpse at what Disney and the BBC’s deal can bring on-screen, Davies also had other factors to consider when agreeing. When he made an appearance on the They Like To Watch podcast (via The Guardian), Davies stated the uncertainty of the BBC’s long-term existence played a key part in agreeing to the US company’s involvement, alongside explaining what could happen if the deal should ever change or fall through. Read Davies’ full explanation below:

“You’ve got to look in the long term at the end of the BBC, which is undoubtedly on its way in some shape or form. Is Doctor Who going to die then? No! You’ve got to prepare for that kind of stuff.

If Disney collapsed tomorrow and we had to go back to making Doctor Who on a normal BBC budget, you know what? We’d all rally round and make it and suddenly the stories would become claustrophobic ghost stories. A lot of people would like that very much, so I’m not saying you have to have this happen. But while it’s happening elsewhere, I think it’s unfair that it doesn’t happen to Doctor Who.”

What Uncertainty Faces The BBC & How Has The Disney Deal Already Changed Doctor Who?

The UK Government’s Decision On The TV License Fee Will Impact The BBC & Doctor Who.

Though the BBC’s closure isn’t finalized just yet, viewers can already feel Disney’s impact on the popular sci-fi show.

While Doctor Who remains the BBC’s most valuable and successful property, the corporation is enduring a period of turmoil. Currently, the UK Conservative government is deciding whether the TV license fee, which helps fund the BBC’s television, radio, online, and educational outputs, will be scrapped ahead of the expiration of the current Royal Charter agreement in 2027. The corporation has seen funding cuts, leading to the closure of several channels and a pivot to “digital first” methodology. As such, Davies’ assumption is a likely possibility should the current cabinet remain in power in the next general election.


All 8 Times Doctor Who Survived Being Canceled

It’s not just the Doctor that can cheat death, as these seven stories of Doctor Who’s survival against permanent cancelation can attest.

Though the BBC’s closure isn’t finalized just yet, viewers can already feel Disney’s impact on the popular sci-fi show. Alongside the production having received notes for filming since season 14 and 2023’s seasonal special “The Church on Ruby Road,” it will see a major release shake-up. Before the Doctor Who season 14 trailer dropped, it was announced the show adopted a simultaneous global release and a two-episode premiere akin to other Disney+ series, as opposed to waiting until its television broadcast. While the BBC and other UK broadcasters adopted similar boxset style releases, season 14 marks a first for the long-running sci-fi series.

Doctor Who is no stranger to facing a potential untimely end, as seen with the original 1989 cancellation and the scrapping of Paul McGann-led US co-produced series following the 1996 TV movie. However, through each of these situations, the BBC would still somewhat guarantee the series would live on through rebroadcasts, expanded media, and home releases until its revival. While only time will tell what Disney’s full impact could be on the series, it is clear the company sees Doctor Who as an asset and worthy of potential expansion.

Doctor Who
season 14 will return with a two-episode premiere on May 11 on Disney+ for international audiences and on BBC iPlayer for UK viewers, followed by a TV broadcast on BBC One.

Source: The Guardian

Doctor Who Poster

Doctor Who

Release Date
November 23, 1963


Mark Gatiss , Toby Whithouse , Neil Cross , Steven Moffat , Chris Chibnall

Doctor Who

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