This November marks the 60th anniversary of “Doctor Who”, which is the longest-running action-adventure television series in the world. This quintessentially British show has a huge global following and tells the story of a mysterious 2,000-year-old time traveller called “The Doctor” and his companions, who journey across time and space in a ship known as TARDIS.
For the first time in the show’s history, the BBC has teamed up with Disney, so now new episodes of the show will debut on Disney+ globally except in the UK and Ireland, where they will air on the BBC. The injection of additional money from Disney should provide the show with a bigger budget, but also, more importantly, the show is going to be able to reach a much larger audience.
The partnership will begin later this month with the release of the first 60th anniversary special, which has seen David Tennant return as the Doctor and he will reunite with his former companion, Donna Temple-Noble, played by Catherine Tate, as they come face-to-face with their most terrifying villain yet: the Toymaker (played by Neil Patrick Harris). There will be three specials, titled “The Star Beast” (November 25th), “Wild Blue Yonder” (December 2nd) and “The Giggle” (December 9th).
Following these three specials, there will also be a new another special over the Christmas period, which will see Ncuti Gatwa take control of the TARDIS as the Fifteenth Doctor. And in 2024, a brand new series of “Doctor Who,” will stream globally in 2024 on Disney+ and on the BBC in the UK and Ireland.
During a recent interview by SFX with the show’s creator, Russell T. Davis, confirmed that series 14 of “Doctor Who” will actually be known as season one.
“Next year, Season 1. Yes, we’re calling it Season 1.”
This won’t be the first time the show has gone through a numbering change, as from the launch of the show in the 1960s until the show’s cancellation in the late 1980s, “Doctor Who” ran for twenty-six seasons and when it returned in 2005, the show was relaunched as series one, and the most recent series was the thirteenth.
With the show now moving to Disney+ around the world, this marks a major jumping-on point for new viewers to the franchise. While every time a new Doctor is regenerated, it’s usually a starting on point for new viewers and the way the show uses a companion, so viewers can see the world through their eyes for the first time, means the show is always straightforward for new viewers people to jump into.
But with a brand new Doctor and a brand new home around the world, it would be confusing for some viewers to see a brand new series drop onto Disney+ and it states “Series 14”, as the previous series aren’t available and might put people off from joining. But with a brand new “season 1”, it’s much easier for them to jump in on. Currently, Disney doesn’t have the distribution rights to the previous 800 episodes of the show, (these have recently been made available on iPlayer in the UK). So, it makes sense why Disney would want to start from scratch in building up the new show. Filming has already begun on the second season of “Doctor Who” and the creator is already mapping out the third and fourth seasons of the show.
And while the BBC has been heavily promoting the 60th-anniversary specials, Disney has been much more quieter; it’s been posting the odd trailer here and there, but according to Russell T.Davis, Disney is more focused on promoting the new “season” of “Doctor Who” next year, rather than these 60th-anniversary specials, as that’s when they want to get new viewers into the show, when it properly reboots.
While long-time fans of the show might be disappointed to see that the next season of “Doctor Who” is going to be a soft reboot of the series, it’s still going to be featuring lots of well-known characters from the show’s 60-year history, but it’ll be presented in a new way for a new generation to get into. This is ultimately good for the show in the long run, as over the 60 years, we’ve seen many different actors play the Doctor and many reboots along the way.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.