Doctor Who’s Disney+ deal may well be bigger than anyone had thought. Next year, the world’s longest-running science-fiction TV series will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in style. Russell T Davies is returning as Doctor Who’s showrunner as the BBC enter into a range of partnerships that should mean Doctor Who becomes a bigger brand than ever before.
The BBC has entered into an unprecedented deal with Disney that means future Doctor Who seasons and specials are going to Disney+ for international release. This is a massive change for the show, which has previously been distributed by the likes of BBC America and ABC in Australia. It means that, for the first time, the entire world will see Doctor Who standing alongside the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars.
However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the BBC’s Doctor Who deal with Disney+ is bigger than had previously been reported. They report this is in fact a co-production deal, with Disney+ co-financing in return for distribution rights and an element of creative input. The sums involved are considered commercially sensitive and thus have not been revealed, but this will certainly allow Doctor Who to command a budget beyond anything it has previously enjoyed.
The Telegraph’s report raises interesting questions about creative control of Doctor Who in this bold new era. Assuming the report is accurate, this is actually the second co-production deal affecting Doctor Who, because the BBC has already entered into an agreement with Bad Wolf (now owned by Sony). Bad Wolf is believed to be responsible for the creative direction and production, while Disney+’s focus lies in global distribution. The BBC reportedly retains international sales, merchandise and other ancillary matters. No doubt navigating this triple partnership will be tricky, but the results should be rewarding, especially under the stewardship of returning showrunner Davies.
Classic Doctor Who was often derided for its low-budget special effects and wobbly sets, and even the modern series has often struggled; many were particularly disappointed with one recent special, « The Legend of the Sea Devils. » Those problems should be consigned to the past, however, allowing Doctor Who to compete at a time when audiences are becoming increasingly demanding due to the hefty budgets science-fiction and fantasy shows now command. It isn’t just the Doctor who’ll be regenerating in 2023, but Doctor Who itself.
Source: Daily Telegraph