With Doctor Who in the news recently following the excellent farewell to Jodie Whittaker’s iteration of the character, it wasn’t a surprise when Disney+ announced they would be the home of the show in the US, rather than BBC America. It’s a big streaming platform and the connection makes some sense. I wasn’t expecting further details to emerge of this deal which turns out to be more than just a place to park the existing show.
Now, Disney are becoming full partners in the show, getting some creative input but also, obviously, throwing some of their money into the budget as well. The statements from all the main players talk the talk of bringing the show to a great audience and building up its scale to something epic - fully realising the vision of showrunner Russell T Davies.
But, of course, longtime fans will be nervous of this. One of the best things about Doctor Who is how very grounded in its Britishness it is, low budget sci-fi, with the TARDIS generally always returning to a UK city during and after adventures, and with a whole host of actors from the British TV and film industry.
It’s an icon and for good reason. The headlines are all suggesting this show is getting an “American makeover” which I don’t think anyone particularly wants to see. But I have to admit that the idea of the show having a bigger budget is enticing. I marvelled at how great the latest episode was but I have to admit that opening sequence on the train really left something to be desired on the graphics front. Imagine the Doctor being filmed in the Volume, where Star Wars in particular has done incredible things.
There’s naturally going to be some concerns about losing control of such a beloved and long-lasting programme but equally, it’s an opportunity for the show to go on to bigger and better things. I’m conflicted, I’ll admit, but deep down I think I’m excited about what can be done with Disney on board. And if it all goes wrong, well, we’ll always have the DoctorDonna episodes to fall back on.