Disney Is Improving Doctor Who

Disney is giving Doctor Who a massive budget increase, going from just $1.1 million to $11.5 million per episode.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Since its debut in 1963, Doctor Who has done a lot of cool stuff with very little money. And while the days of embarrassing cardboard sets are long gone, the creative minds behind the popular show often have ideas that are too big for BBC’s modest funding. But things are about to change as the British network signed an exciting new deal with Disney+ which will bring the show to audiences across the globe and triple its current budget.

The deal grants Disney exclusive worldwide streaming rights to Doctor Who outside the U.K and Ireland starting in 2023. As such, the House of Mouse will raise the show’s budget of approximately $1.1 to 3.4 million per episode to about $11.5 million for each new installment, Broadcast Now reports. Russell T Davies also has plans to expand the series with spinoff shows, much like Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Speaking to the publication, sources say the budget increase aims to bring Doctor Who to mainstream audiences as it competes with larger productions by HBO, Netflix, and Amazon. While not reaching the cash flow highs of series like House of the Dragon, which has a working capital of $20 million per episode, the news marks a major financial boost for the once modest BBC show.

However, the report fails to disclose if the financial injection from Disney comes with any creative control clause for the studio as previously claimed in The Telegraph. “The BBC had to make the decision for the future success of Doctor Who because any show of scale needs a good partner,” an unnamed source told Broadcast about the new financial deal.

Speaking about the collaboration with Disney+ via the Daily Mail, Russell T Davies said with the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+ the TARDIS can be launched all around the planet. He added that it will allow the show to reach a new generation of fans while keeping its traditional home firmly on the BBC in the U.K. Due to the new budget from DisneyDoctor Who has already secured huge names for its 60th-anniversary episodes, including Neil Patrick Harris starring as a mystery villain.

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David Tennant as the Doctor

The 49-year-old will play the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced, with fans convinced that he will take on the nostalgic villain The Toymaker during his guest appearance. Doctor Who will return for three episodes in November 2023 to celebrate its 60th anniversary, starring David Tennant as the 14th Doctor. The series will return during the holiday season and in 2024 with Ncuti Gatwa as the new Time Lord.

Broadcast by BBC One since 1963, Doctor Who chronicles the adventures of a Time Lord known as the Doctor, who is an extraterrestrial being that appears in human form. Throughout the series, the Doctor explores the universe in a time-traveling spaceship called the TARDIS, whose exterior looks like a blue British police box from the 1960s. With various companions, the Doctor defeats evil doers, works to save civilizations, and helps people in need.