While Russell T Davies has confirmed that Doctor Who spin-offs are in the works, one won’t be a show aimed at children — because budgets for kids’ TV are just too tight!
The showrunner says:
“It’s an ideal, but we’re coming back to a world in which money in children’s [TV] is in even shorter supply. Even with all the good will in the world, we’d find it very hard to do now, unfortunately. There are fantasy shows – they do do stuff. But our stuff is expensive.
“You also have to keep the spin-offs looking as good as the main show, in order to maintain the entire brand – that’s part of the problem as well. So it’s genuinely tricky. There is no plan at the moment for children’s, and I’m sad about that, but just affording it would be hard.
“Hopefully! We’ll get there, give us time.”
It certainly is a shame: the last “children’s” spin-off was The Sarah Jane Adventures, which proved to be the best Doctor Who spin-off, capturing the feel of 20th Century Who and tackling big topics like homelessness, familial relationships, and grief.
Nonetheless, at least Davies is optimistic that one could still happen.
This is, of course, very telling of the industry. Children’s TV has suffered a lot, with the regular afternoon slots on main channels abandoned in favour of dedicated channels that are still being whittled away. Yes, it might sound good that kids’ TV has set channels that run for the majority of each day, but losing a schedule on main channels like BBC1 and ITV1 means there’s less focus on and importance given to accessible television for youngsters by an adult audience. It’s easy to forget that Blue Peter exists, for instance, if you don’t catch the last 15 minutes of it when you come home from work.
Fortunately, Doctor Who has always been family viewing, so there’s still something to bring everyone together on a weekend night…