RTD Will Protect Show’s Britishness from Disney Influence



We first heard the rumblings about it back last summer, and then those rumblings turned into press releases & announcements in October 2022. In what could turn out to be one of the biggest moves in the long-running series’ history, we learned that Disney+ would be the exclusive streaming home for the BBC’s Doctor Who outside of the U.K & Ireland beginning in November 2023. That means that the three-episode 60th-anniversary event can be found on “The Mouse’s” streamer in about ten months. Of course, concerns were raised about how much creative “say” Disney would have on the show moving forward since “The House of Mouse” will be writing some production checks. In response, fans were reassured that the BBC and showrunner Russell T. Davies are still the creative decision-makers. We even shared our thoughts on the matter. Now, thanks to Doctor Who Magazine #586 (which you can order here), we’re learning more about what the deal means from Davies, producer Phil Collinson, and executive producers Jane Tranter & Julie Gardner. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

Image: BBC, Disney Screencap

The BBC Had Grand Plans for Doctor Who Pre-Disney: “It’s worth saying that, to begin with, the entire impetus for that was from the BBC. It was their next future for ‘Doctor Who.’ That was decided before any of us came on board,” Davies shared during the interview. “The BBC backed Doctor Who before anyone, a streamer, had been signed up. That’s what drew us in – the BBC’s commitment to making this series come hell or high water.”

“Doctor Who” Needed a Co-Producer to Accomplish Its Goals: “It was always needed – how do you make a show like this, in 2022, without that co-producing partner? But it wasn’t a shoo-in because the market is really complicated and cut-throat. You know, I felt frightened: ‘Are we going to find someone? How do we do this?’ There were a lot of things to work through,” Gardner revealed. But knowing what they were looking for in a co-producing partner helped shorten the list of possibilities. “Our task was to find a partner who understood both the particularity of Doctor Who, but also how that particularity could resonate across the world – and how to do that without ruining the particularity. And Disney+, they were the best in class,” Tranter added.

“Doctor Who” Fans Will Have Davies, BBC & Bad Wolf to Protect Show’s “Britishness”: “Disney+ is buying into his [Russell T. Davies] vision, and Russell’s vision is very, very clear, and it’s very British, and it’s everything your readers will want it to be. The second thing is the BBC. The BBC owns Doctor Who, and the huge strength of Doctor Who for Disney+ is the title, having a known brand. And having that commitment from the BBC in terms of UK funding – that’s all very, very appealing. And the third thing is Bad Wolf, what we understand the show to be, and how we’re here to serve Russell’s vision,” Gardner reassured fans.

Disney Will Boost the ‘Doctor Who” Budget, But Don’t Believe The Hype: Regarding the reported £10 million per episode production boost the show was said to be getting, Davies put those rumblings to rest. “That has been exaggerated. If that was the budget, I’d be speaking to you from my base on the Moon. That is not the budget, and I worry that misinformation like that creates false expectations,” Davies explained. “Nonetheless, we have a lovely, handsome budget, and we’re very happy with how we’re proceeding with it.”

Davies Shares/Teases a Disney “Note” on Series 14: “They [Disney] sent us a note on episode one [of Ncuti’s first series] that said, ‘That opening isn’t as much fun as the other episodes.’ It was a great note. So I’ve written a new opening… and it’s broken everyone’s backs. But it’s absolutely worth doing.” As Davies was answering, Collinson interjected that it was “an expensive new opening” that was also “brilliant” and one that viewers will appreciate.

Posted in: BBC, Disney+, Doctor Who, Preview, streaming, TV | Tagged: bbc, david tennant, disney, doctor who, Ncuti Gatwa, russell t davies

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