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Russell T. Davies Explained Why Doctor Who's Shift To Streaming Happened, And I'm Curious How Big Disney's Influence Will Be

 Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor.
Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor.

Doctor Who now exists as a co-production between Disney and The BBC, making a Disney+ subscription the easiest way to watch in the U.S. and certain other markets. So far, we have seen the immediate effects of a sizable increase in the budget for episodes, and also a larger potential viewership stateside. Russell T. Davies recently commented on why looping in another company beyond The BBC was so necessary, and it's made me wonder how big Disney's influence will be in the future.

Davies was a guest on the They Like To Watch podcast and spoke about Doctor Who's partnership with Disney. The returning showrunner noted that beyond feeling like streaming was a necessary avenue where many major franchises are already at, the move was also just as much about preparing for the longevity of the show in an era where The BBC is struggling financially. In his words:

Even before they 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. You also have to look at the longterm of the end of The BBC which is somehow, surely, undoubtedly on its way out in some shape or form. What, is Doctor Who going to die then? No, you've literally got to prepare for that kind of stuff.

The BBC has long made headlines over needing to cut content and budgets, and to find more funding with each year that goes by (via $ Barrons$ ). Essentially, it sounds like Davies' plans for Doctor Who couldn't be sustained financially by the British network alone, which made bringing in a mega-studio like Disney more of a necessity. Now we have $ gorgeous Doctor Who trailers with David Bowie$ playing over them and an opportunity for the show to flourish as more viewers discover it streaming.

The most interesting part of what Russell T. Davies said is that the move was a necessity should The BBC cease to exist. One could gather then that if The BBC does fold or relinquish Doctor Who, it could solely become a Disney production. I'm not sure how British fans would feel about their beloved series being housed by an American organization, but it's not uncommon, especially in the world of streaming.

How Much Could Doctor Who Be Disney-fied In The Future?

One does have to wonder what would happen if Doctor Who eventually called Disney its sole production company. I think it's a given we'd see The Doctor and the TARDIS at Disney parks worldwide, and I'd love to see a section of the park dedicated to the character. Maybe Whoopi Goldberg would finally get that offer to guest star, considering she missed her chance to be the first female Doctor.

I could understand the fear of Disney meddling in the franchise, but truthfully, it feels like a perfect pairing. Doctor Who has never been a show that's heavy on swearing or graphic violence, and the company has made enough hit shows over the years to know better than to make the series some completely Americanized adventure series. Full transparency, however, if Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor bi-generated into a Doctor with an American accent who handled things in a completely separate spinoff, I wouldn't be mad about it.

Doctor Who Season 14 will premiere on Disney+ on Thursday, May 11th. Tune in to witness Ncuti Gatwa's first full season as the Fifteenth Doctor, and get ready for some adventures that cover everything from The Beatles to Victorian times.