Doctor Who Finds New Home On Major Streaming Service
New Doctor Who episodes will stream on Disney+ in late 2023.
Upcoming new Doctor Who episodes will premiere on both the Disney+ streaming service and the BBC, according to a new report in Deadline. The long-running British science fiction series will begin streaming new episodes of the 14th season (or 40th, depending on how you see it) of Doctor Who in late 2023. However, Disney+ will not be streaming older episodes of the show, which will remain licensed to Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max platform for at least the time being, nor will new episodes be available in the UK and Ireland.
We reported several months ago that the Walt Disney Company and the BBC were in negotiations to bring Doctor Who to Disney+, and it seems that talks went well. However, it will likely rankle some fans of the show that they will still need to subscribe to another service in order to watch the many back episodes of the series in addition to Disney+. Doctor Who initially ran for 26 seasons between 1963 and 1989, and then was revived for its ongoing episodes in 2005.
As such, Doctor Who is generally considered the longest-running science fiction show in history (according to the Guinness Book of Records), as well as one of the most successful science fiction franchises ever. The BBC is no doubt hoping to expand the cultural imprint of the show outside of the UK via Disney+, which is currently one of the most popular streaming services on the planet. Along with Disney’s own back catalog of movies and shows, the Marvel branch of the company, and Lucasfilm, Doctor Who is yet another enormous piece of IP for the platform to offer.
The new upcoming season of Doctor Who will star Rwandan-Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor, which is to say, the latest incarnation of the time-and-space traveling alien Time Lord who gets into adventures with human companions in each series. Gatwa will be the first Black actor in the role, following Jodie Whittaker’s turn as the first female Doctor Who; we also recently reported that fan-favorite Doctor Who David Tennant will be returning to the role for several upcoming episodes. Tennant will be returning as the 14th Doctor, making him the first actor to play two different incarnations of the character, making this quite the time period for Doctor Who firsts.
Chris Chibnall has been serving as Doctor Who head writer and showrunner since 2016, taking over from Stephen Moffat. It has been announced that Chibnall is stepping down and will be replaced by Russell T Davies, the writer and producer responsible for the 2005 revival of the show. As one might expect for a long-running science fiction series, pretty much every showrunner and new lead actor is controversial among some faction of the Doctor Who fandom, so it will be interesting to see how the returning Davies and Gatwa are embraced.
Soon, viewers outside the UK and Ireland will be able to access those new Doctor Who episodes a little bit easier, at least until Disney+ also decides to raise its prices like everyone else.