The new Doctor Who series, featuring Ncuti Gatwa, could reportedly end up on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, following talks between Disney and the BBC.
The new series, which also features the return of Russell T. Davies as a showrunner and writer, is expected to return sometime in 2023.
According to Bloomberg, the talks between Disney and the BBC are in the early stages, with Disney looking to acquire the streaming rights for the new Doctor Who series.
If an agreement is reached, Doctor Who could stream on Disney+ around the world, while the BBC would remain the show’s home in the UK (although, past seasons of Doctor Who were available on the BBC and Netflix UK at the same time, so we may see something like that again).
This sort of agreement would, most likely, just give Disney+ the streaming rights, without any direct influence over the content of the show – but many worried Doctor Who fans have already taken to social media to express their concerns (see below).
Doctor Who has been airing on the BBC (with breaks) since 1963.
In 2005, a successful reboot was created by Russell T. Davies, featuring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor, and the show became more popular than ever around the world, with Jodie Whittaker being the latest incarnation of the Doctor, until Ncuti takes over next year.
In recent years, with the growing popularity of streaming services, the new episodes of Doctor Who were available to stream on a variety of platforms around the world.
In the UK, the classic Doctor Who episodes all became available on BritBox, the streaming service from ITV and the BBC (which is now owned solely by ITV).
The modern Doctor Who episodes, however, were available in the UK on both BBC iPlayer, and on Netflix. Then, in 2020, Doctor Who was removed from Netflix, with all the episodes now freely available on iPlayer.
Doctor Who Coming To Disney?
Disney+ (see our full review) can be streamed on most streaming devices and Smart TVs in the UK and around the world, and includes content from the worlds of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star – which is Disney’s general entertainment category for more mature audiences.
In the UK, Disney+ costs £7.99/month or £79.90/year – and you can subscribe directly via this link.
With the rumours of talks between Disney and the BBC over the future streaming rights of Doctor Who, many worried fans have taken to Twitter to either express their concerns – or try to calm down fellow fans.
Disney reportedly wanting to buy Doctor Who means we're one step closer to a return to this nightmare pic.twitter.com/4C7SRwFrzP
— Matthew (@DiscipleOfBrad) July 22, 2022
Disney aren’t going to get any control over Doctor Who you panicky little pickles. Streaming rights is just streaming rights. It still wouldn’t be their content, and we’d still have it on iPlayer.
— Gareth (@Garferty) July 22, 2022
Of course, getting more money for Doctor Who’s coffers could potentially be a good thing for the show.
The positive implication of this news is that Disney are unlikely to be interested in the streaming rights to Doctor Who unless BBC Studios are committed to making multiple series with the new regime. https://t.co/S4pSUUGN8D
— Jonny Morris 🔶 (@jonnymorris1973) July 22, 2022
Yet many are still worried…
Disney trying to get doctor who is quite frankly the worst move ever
— Scout 💙💙//Believe Me It Would Be You (@whittakertsoni) July 22, 2022
It remains to be seen whether this deal even moves past the rumour stage – and if it does, what implications this could have (if any) on the production and budget of the show.
For example, on BBC iPlayer, we don’t even get 4K versions of Doctor Who (except for one Christmas special). Perhaps a Disney+ deal will give us more access to 4K versions of the show.