Doctor Who Is Fighting The British Government

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Russell T Davies, the current showrunner behind the long-running iconic series Doctor Who is about to go up against the British Government. Well, it’s not exactly that dramatic, but he is steering the series in a new direction that pulls away from the government’s control. The series has long been distributed by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), which is currently under scrutiny from the government, and this has led Davies to choose partnerships with larger platforms like Disney.

Doctor Who Breaks Away From The BBC

The 61st season of the series comes with quite a few changes. First, there’s the expected: a new Doctor and companion, as well as new storylines and adventures. Then, there’s the unexpected: Doctor Who’s new home on Disney+.

In a recent interview, Davies alluded to the challenges the BBC is encountering with the British Government, particularly regarding its budget and operations. BBC’s funding comes from a license fee, an annual UK payment the law enforces in order to watch broadcast and streaming TV. This fee is then allocated to all public broadcast services provided by the BBC, including the news, radio, and its fictional dramas like Doctor Who.

Finally A Bigger Budget

As Doctor Who has increased in popularity over the decades—even more so since the age of streaming—there’s been a desire to increase the show’s budget and production quality. The problem Davies sees in this is that increasing the series budget takes away from other public broadcast budgets since it all comes from the same license fee. To Davies, the only answer is to join a larger broadcaster and co-produce the series with them.

No Such Thing As A 100% British Production

That bigger broadcaster is Disney. While partnering with the House of Mouse allows for more freedom in the financial department, the move has not been made without criticism. Many question the logic of moving something so wholly British as Doctor Who to an American production house. 

According to Davies, this is a non-issue. “Let’s face it, there’s been no British drama made in the last 30 years that hasn’t had American money in it,” the showrunner said, explaining why it doesn’t matter that Doctor Who is now partly American. He emphasized his point by explaining that every Dickens adaptation British media have created was likely made with Masterpiece or HBO, companies based in the US.

Telling The Stories Davies Wants To Tell

Using the financial backing from Disney, Davies has more freedom in every aspect for the new Doctor Who season. He plans to use that freedom to tell the stories he wants to tell. Over the course of a 40-year career, Davies has spent much of his energy shining a light on queer stories. 

New Season, New Companion, New Doctor, New Home

Ncuti Gatwa joins Doctor Who as the new Doctor, and his stylish wardrobe has already made an impact on the media, even before the series premiere. However, beyond mere sartorial decisions, the series actively integrates queer characters and narratives into its storytelling fabric. This inclusive approach is exemplified by instances such as the introduction of Donna Noble’s transgender daughter, Rose, portrayed by Yasmin Finney. 

This commitment to representation is a departure from the sporadic efforts seen in previous iterations of Doctor Who. As the show moves forward, Davies is advocating for a natural and unobtrusive portrayal of queer identities within the show’s universe.

Doctor Who Arrives On Disney+

Doctor Who‘s new season premieres with two episodes on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET on Disney+ worldwide. In the UK, it will also be available on the BBC iPlayer simultaneously at 12 a.m. local time on Saturday, May 11, followed by a broadcast on BBC One later that day.

Source: Gizmodo