With Doctor Who due to be streamed on Disney+ later this year, many fans have raised concerns about how the House of Mouse might change or influence the series. But Head of Drama Commissioning, Lindsay Salt, implies that there’s no need to worry.
“My experience so far in terms of the co-pro partners — they’re hugely respectful to the BBC. They defer to us, check in, and Disney included, on Doctor Who. They’re really respectful of the brand that has lasted 60 years. The methodology of Doctor Who is absolutely at the core of British culture. Russell [T Davies, new showrunner] is the great person to be holding the pen to that.”
Salt was at the Edinburgh TV Festival alongside BBC Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore, talking about the upcoming episodes, including The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder, and The Giggle, i.e. the three 60th anniversary specials. However, we can infer from comments made by Moore that the celebrations will extend beyond these sole episodes:
“[The 60th anniversary] will be a massive event moment at the BBC. Russell is at the heart of that show, but, just like any good co-production partner, obviously, you work in a great partnership creatively, but absolutely, the BBC owns the IP for that show and drives the creative. We’ve got a great working relationship [with Disney]. Having that kind of co-production deal at the moment is a fantastic thing for Doctor Who. Audience expectation, young people wanting to feel it is the big global show, is incredibly exciting. Obviously, the UK audience gets exclusivity to watch it on the BBC here. It makes the whole thing incredibly ambitious and creative and really exciting. So it is a great partnership.”
That all sounds very promising. There are significant consequences for Doctor Who switching to Disney+, with some audiences unable to watch the series on traditional channels as they did before, but on the whole, it’s nice at least to have the support and distribution power of such a massive media giant.
Doctor Who returns in November with David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, before Series 14 airs, starring Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson as the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday, in early 2024.