The BBC and Disney Branded Television – two giants of entertainment – have come together to transform Doctor Who into a global franchise for UK audiences and the rest of the world.
There is no information yet on how this agreement may the licensing of the show. Disney, for example, also own Marvel Comics. Both Panini UK, publishers of Doctor Who Magazine, and Titan Comics have longstanding licenses to publish Doctor Who tie-in comics across the globe.
(Separately, downthetubes sources suggest all licensing agreements were put under review following BBC Studios partnership with Bad Wolf to produce the series, announced last September, and after Sony Pictures Television acquired a majority stake in Bad Wolf, which was announced last December).
In a joint statement, BBC and Disney say that under a shared creative vision, they will deliver this quintessentially British show to future generations on an unprecedented scale with Disney+ as the exclusive home for new seasons of Doctor Who outside the UK and Ireland.
The announcement – which was made this morning by the next Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa, during an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan – begins a new collaboration between BBC and Disney Branded Television.
Both partners have aligned under returning showrunner Russell T Davies‘ bold vision, who takes control of the TARDIS in 2023. He was responsible for Doctor Who‘s revival in 2005 and is credited with propelling the show into one of TV’s biggest hits.
The new episodes will premiere on the BBC and Disney+ beginning in late 2023 for fans all over the world.
The agreement means that broadcasters such as ABC in Australia have lost the rights to new episodes of the series. This brings an end of a 50-year partnership between the BBC and the public broadcaster in the country, and the end of the British series on free-to-air television there, to the dismay of fans, and ABC.
The show will be produced in Wales by Bad Wolf with BBC Studios Production.
“I love this show, and this is the best of both worlds,” says Russell T Davies. “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.”
“We are thrilled to announce this exciting global partnership with Disney who are the perfect partners to bring this very British show to the rest of the world,” says Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer. “Russell T Davies’ vision for Doctor Who has always been out of this world and we are committed to ensuring that audiences across the globe get the opportunity to enjoy the Doctor’s epic adventures with the scale and ambition that they deserve.
“Joining forces with Disney will elevate the show to even greater heights and reach new audiences so it’s an extremely exciting time for fans in the UK and across the world.”
“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,” says Alisa Bowen, President, Disney+.
“The series is a perfect addition to our ever-growing catalogue of global content that continues to make Disney+ the home for exceptional storytelling.”
“Doctor Who has captivated the imaginations of families around the world for the past six decades,” commented Ayo Davis, President, Disney Branded Television. “We are so excited about this collaboration with the BBC, and the opportunity to bring this iconic franchise – and Russell T Davies’ brilliant vision – to life for a huge new global audience. Grab your sonic screwdrivers and prepare to travel through time and space!”
“We’re delighted to join forces with a partner who shares our vision and ambition for one of the most iconic shows in British TV history,” says Rebecca Glashow, CEO, Global Distribution, BBC Studios. “This is great news for everyone who loves Doctor Who, and for all the new fans we will reach through this powerful partnership.”
“For Doctor Who to have the backing of two of the most innovative and respected media organisations in the world is a testament to the unique drive and vision at the heart of this show,” note Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, Executive Producers and Co-founders, Bad Wolf.
“Bad Wolf are beyond delighted to be once again working with the genius that is Russell T Davies and, with the exciting new partnership between the BBC and Disney, we can together reach to even greater heights, producing from Wolf Studios Wales ambitious stories through time and space for audiences across the globe.”
New episodes of Doctor Who will return to screens in November 2023 to coincide with the 60th anniversary and will premiere exclusively on the BBC for the UK and Ireland. David Tennant will play the Fourteenth Doctor for three specials, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role as the Fifteenth Doctor over the festive season.
This article was updated on Wednesday 26th October 2022 to add information on the status of licensing agreements
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.