BBC Doctor Who boss hints end of Beeb is 'on its way' as he speaks out on future-proofing sci-fi drama

BBC Doctor Who boss hints end of Beeb is 'on its way' as he speaks out on future-proofing sci-fi drama

Special Feature: Doctor Who - The Robots of Death

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 28/03/2024

- 14:14

Updated: 28/03/2024

- 14:14

Disney+ recently became a new home for the BBC series making it accessible to international fans

Doctor Who boss Russell T Davies has revealed the plans that have been put in place to protect the long-standing series in case the BBC should ever meet its demise.

The sci-fi drama first began back in 1963 and has seen 15 different Doctors regenerate throughout the years.

Much loved by millions, the series has recently celebrated its 60th anniversary with the special episode seeing David Tenant return and quickly hand over the reins to Ncuti Gatwa.

The anniversary episode, recent Christmas specials and co-production is something that boss Davies has admitted was always necessary for the series – with Disney+ now being part of the hub for Whovians.

Davies recently discussed the partnership on the Firecrotch & Normcore: They Like To Watch podcast and said: “We now live in a science fiction age, we live in a world of streaming.

"We live in a world where every 11-year-old is watching Stranger Things because there are 11-year-old kids in it and that's their language, that's their culture, that's their references, that's their muse."

Russell T Davies and Alan Yentob

Davies has revealed he is future-proofing the series for 'the end' of BBC


He added that it would be a “real shame” if Doctor Who missed out on the opportunity to be a big hitter with the younger generation – much like the popular Duffer Brothers production and the Mandalorian.

“Even before they [Disney] approached me, I had already said in various interviews, 'I think Doctor Who would have to become a co-production, there's no way the BBC is going to fund that'."

The partnership was well thought out by Davies, with the showrunner claiming: “You've also got to look in the long term at the end of the BBC.

“Which is somehow surely undoubtedly on its way in some shape or form. What, is Doctor Who going to die then? No, you've got to prepare for that kind of stuff.

David Tennant

David Tennant recently came back to celebrate the 60th anniversary


“But all of that is kind of the flim flam on top of the fact that I love it and it's the only chance you have in television, for me, to really write in pictures."

The Disney+ funding has meant that the production value has increased, leaving Davies to admit if the show got dropped it would go back to making episodes on a “normal BBC budget”.

Admitting he thought the stories would become “claustrophobic ghost stories”, he said: “I'm not saying you have to have this happen.

“But while it's happening elsewhere I think it's unfair that it doesn't happen to Doctor Who and it does open up stories that are now sometimes on a vast scale."

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson

Ncuti is the latest actor to take on the role as The Doctor


He did note that despite the success of his Doctor Who reboot, the BBC doesn’t have him contractually tied down.

“It’s kind of a rolling contract. It’s very free. Look, if I had enough tomorrow, I could walk out. Well, I wouldn’t walk out, because I wouldn’t let people down. But nothing could trap me … I would never be in a situation where I had to write things.”

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