In a landmark deal for Time Lord fans world-wide, Disney Branded Television has acquired the streaming rights to BBC’s long-running series “Doctor Who” outside of the UK and Ireland for Disney+.
Under the terms of the new deal, starting in November 2023, Disney+ will air all new episodes of the series in all territories outside of the UK and Ireland, where the BBC will still retain rights.
HBO Max will continue to be the U.S. streaming home for the original seasons, 1 through 13, while BritBox will continue to stream S1-26.
The news was revealed by the newest Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa, during an appearance on “Live! With Kelly and Ryan.” He will take over as the title character starting with the season that will debut under this new deal.
Gatwa also filmed an announcement video for the new deal:
Until then, David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor in the early-2000’s, returns to play the Fourteenth Doctor is a trio of specials before Gatwa becomes the Fifteenth Doctor.
In a statement, showrunner Russell T Davies said, “I love this show, and this is the best of both worlds – with the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+ together we can launch the TARDIS all around the planet, reaching a new generation of fans while keeping our traditional home firmly on the BBC in the UK.”
Disney+ president Alisa Bowen responded, “We’re excited by the opportunity to bring new seasons of this beloved franchise exclusively to Disney+ and introduce the show to the next generation of audiences in more than 150 markets around the world. The series is a perfect addition to our ever-growing catalog of global content that continues to make Disney+ the home for exceptional storytelling.”
“Doctor Who” began in 1963 on the BBC in the UK, which means the November 2023 start date of the new contract coincides with the show’s 60th anniversary.
The series depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called the Doctor, an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human.
The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS, which appears on the outside to be a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired.
However, it is definitely much bigger on the inside.
With various companions, the Doctor combats foes, works to save civilisations, and helps people in need.
The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show using the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation, a plot device in which a Time Lord “transforms” into a new body when the current one is too badly harmed to heal normally.
The show’s run has not been continuous, either. The series originally ran from 1963 to 1989, and then was revived in 2005 by the BBC, where it has run ever since.
Are you excited “Doctor Who” will be coming to Disney+ next year? Let us know in the comments.