As if the surprise regeneration at the end of this weekend’s Doctor Who special wasn’t enough news about the long running BBC series, it’s been announced that international audiences will have a new destination when searching for the Tardis starting late next year, with the BBC partnering with Disney on the show moving forward.
The partnership between the BBC and Disney Branded Television means that, outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the show’s exclusive new home will be Disney+. (UK and Irish audiences will continue to enjoy the show on the BBC, as has been the case for the past 59 years.) Previously, American audiences have watched the show on BBC America, with previous seasons available to stream via HBO Max since the service’s launch in 2020.
In a statement about the partnership, incoming 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 added, "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."
The new partnership follows last year’s announcement that the BBC would co-produce future episodes of the series from 2023 on with outside production company Bad Wolf Studios, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Television a couple of months later.
Terms of the new partnership were not disclosed, but it’s safe to assume this was a big deal for the BBC; a recent report suggested that Doctor Who earned around $1.8 billion in global sales in 2021, with $550 million of that from the U.S. alone, and has long been amongst the top 10 international television properties in terms of value. Choosing to end multiple existing relationships across the world to go with Disney is not likely to have been an easy decision… nor one that was made at low cost to Disney, for that matter.
Doctor Who is currently on hiatus until November 2023, when it will return with three special episodes featuring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor.
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