Doctor Who Coming To Disney+?

Doctor Who is set to take on its next revival series with Ncuti Gatwa in the lead, and the series could be making its way to stream on Disney+.

By Mark McKee | Published

jodie whittaker doctor who

Allons-y! If you are a fan of time travel, aliens, convoluted science fiction, and blue phone booths, you may have all the reasons in the world to get excited. There have been 13 doctors who have operated the tardis controls and exposed their companions to new worlds and exciting adventures (albeit with plenty of dangers), and the 14th doctor may be moving to a new home. With the 60th anniversary coming up, Disney+ is in contract negotiations to bring Dr. Who to the streaming service, just in time for the 14th doctor to take the controls and meet his companion. 

According to a report from Bloomberg, Disney is in talks with the British Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the streaming rights to Dr. Who. While the discussions are private and ongoing, Disney seems to be a pro at acquiring new companies and properties. Even though a deal isn’t guaranteed, there doesn’t seem to be much of a downside for the BBC as they would retain the domestic streaming rights, and Disney would simply acquire the international streaming rights. The acquisition would come at the perfect time, as Ncuti Gatwa takes over as the new doctor for the 60th anniversary of the science fiction mainstay. 

Amid the current streaming wars, content is king. While Disney is definitely one of the big players, along with Netflix and HBO Max, original content is expensive and time-consuming. Acquiring the rights to established properties with many seasons and a built-in fan base allows the service to develop a deep catalog of content to keep subscribers happy while they create new and original content. With a grand total of 39 seasons (and a 40th on the way), Disney stands to gain years of viewing pleasure for its audience. They also stand to gain millions of fans loyal to Dr. Who when they subscribe to watch. There is no word, of course, whether they will secure the rights to all existing seasons (a fair amount of older episodes have been lost) or if the deal will focus on the revival of the series beginning in 2005. If it is the latter, they still stand to gain 13 complete seasons and all new seasons as they come out. 

Dr. Who first aired in 1963 and has since aired 870 episodes, a television movie, and multiple specials. All told, there are 299 stories over 39 seasons. It holds the record for the longest-running science fiction series in the Guinness Book of World Records. One would think that Star Trek is right behind them, but Dr. Who seems to show no sign of slowing down. The series ran non-stop until 1989 before it went on hiatus. The TV movie aired in 1996, but the intended series to follow was scrapped, and the series disappeared again until 2005. 

As of now, HBO Max holds the rights to stream Dr. Who in the US, but there is a one-season lag before fans get to see the new seasons. If Disney acquires the series, you can bet they will want to air the episodes along with the BBC in an attempt to continue the dominance they are enjoying with the likes of Marvel and Star Wars.