Doctor Who Showrunner Defends Season Release Despite Fan Outrage

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Doctor Who is switching from airing new episodes on television to debuting them on streaming first, and fans are unhappy about it. While it’s pretty normal for fans of any series to post about their qualms with their favorite series online, enough people have expressed their outrage at the updated release schedule that Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies addressed the matter in the latest edition of the show’s magazine. Essentially, Davies told fans that while he hears their calls of distress, the changes are permanent.

Doctor Who Hitting Disney+ Before Anything Else

When Ncuti Gatwa steps into the role of the Doctor in May, the debut season will kick off with its new release schedule. Doctor Who will have a staggered release, starting with streaming on Disney+ before the show’s traditional TV broadcast. In the UK, episodes will still air on Saturdays, so fans can continue to watch new episodes at the same time they always have. 

Not All Releases Times Are Equal

The trouble stems from the streaming release time. Doctor Who will hit iPlayer at midnight Saturday morning for local UK residents. The time slot was picked because it matches up with 7 pm Eastern Time, the time when the series will be released on Disney+ for US residents. 

Changing The Classic Way To Watch Doctor Who

Essentially, this means that while the new episodes will be available to stream online at the same time for both US and UK residents since the UK release time is at midnight, most Doctor Who fans will have to avoid spoilers on the internet until they have a chance to watch it. It’s especially risky for fans who want to keep up the tradition of watching new episodes on television broadcasts (a format they’ve been accustomed to for twenty years) since they’ll have to wait until Saturday evening before seeing new content. 

British Fans Will Have To Avoid Spoilers

“You’re not having to change your habits to fit the show; the show is changing to fit you. And it’s adapting to the patterns of modern TV shows, which I believe will soon be the norm,” Davies explained in his segment in the latest issue of Doctor Who magazine. “This is the future, and it’s already here.”

As Davies pointed out, in the modern age, most people are used to picking between television broadcasts and streaming when it comes to watching their favorite series. It’s already a standard practice to learn how to safeguard yourself from spoilers on the internet, and if the occasional spoiler slips through the cracks, it’s not that big a deal. When it comes to Doctor Who, fans will simply have to invoke the practices they’re used to for other shows like Game of Thrones or The Last of Us.

Remain Off The Internet

Using his experience as an example for Doctor Who fans, Davies said, “If you want to stay spoiler-free before Saturday night’s airing, it can be done. I managed to stay spoiler-free when Game of Thrones aired in the UK during the early morning hours. I would watch it at 9 pm that night, blissfully unaware. Perhaps I’m not as active online as you, but managing your online activity for about 18 hours on a Saturday should be feasible.”

Doctor Who will return on May 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Disney+ and on May 11 at midnight UK time on BBC iPlayer.