Doctor Who’s new logo reveals a lot more about the upcoming Russell T. Davies era than many viewers may realize. Change is the secret to Doctor Who’s longevity. Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall both ended their time on the show in the BBC Centenary Special, The Power of the Doctor, and now viewers are getting ready for the next era. Russell T. Davies is returning as showrunner, with next year’s Doctor Who 60th anniversary celebrations featuring David Tennant as The Doctor alongside Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. The BBC has even released a new logo, although it’s unclear whether this is just for the 60th anniversary or whether it will be continued into Doctor Who season 14, which will star Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor.
The new logo features a diamond design that will be familiar to viewers of the classic Doctor Who era. The new logo is a clear homage to the iconic Doctor Who logo introduced in the 1973 story The Time Warrior, subsequently used throughout most of Tom Baker’s tenure as the iconic Fourth Doctor. The original Doctor Who logo is also closely related to tie-in media; it was the logo first used when Doctor Who Magazine launched in 1979, and it’s associated with many of the most popular Doctor Who novels and novelizations. The homage is perfectly fitting for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, and feels delightfully child-friendly.
Returning showrunner Russell T. Davies was responsible for bringing Doctor Who back to the TV screens in 2005, and back then he took a streamlined view to the show’s history and heritage. He carefully avoided diving too deep into continuity and lore, adding in a Time War that effectively wiped the slate clean, and he was careful to reintroduce classic ideas at a slow pace. This time round, though, the new Doctor Who logo suggests the new era will openly acknowledge its longevity.
The new Doctor Who logo may be a blatant appeal to nostalgia, but it’s been balanced by promotion focused on Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa. Best known for playing the part of Eric in the hugely successful Sex Education, Gatwa is one of the highest-profile recruits to Doctor Who to date – noted for an Instagram account where he has 2.6 million followers. This means he has the chance to bring in a whole new generation of viewers, and it’s telling that promotion of the 60th anniversary has already featured a video in which he answered basic questions about Doctor Who – an obvious attempt to fill these potential new viewers in on Doctor Who. Nostalgia is clearly only one part of Davies’ plan.
Doctor Who has traditionally released on BBC America in the U.S.; in fact, according to the BBC’s last annual report, Doctor Who: Flux was BBC America’s biggest hit in the 2021-2022 financial year. But the Centenary Specials will see Doctor Who move to Disney+ for international distribution, placing the world’s longest-running science-fiction TV series alongside Marvel and Star Wars. It’s possible the new logo is a hint that, in this new era, Doctor Who will be unified; at present, the distribution rights for classic Doctor Who, the 2005 relaunch, and even spinoffs such as The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood are scattered between different streaming services. This would be the perfect logo for bringing them all together on one platform, which would truly be something for Doctor Who viewers to celebrate in the show’s 60th anniversary.
Ncuti Gatwa, the next Doctor, joins us to answer some questions about all things #DoctorWho \u2764\ufe0f\u2764\ufe0f\u2795\ud83d\udfe6 pic.twitter.com/6Z4aGH5XqV— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) October 25, 2022