ABC loses rights to Doctor Who after BBC signs deal with Disney

ABC has lost the rights to new episodes of the sci-fi series Doctor Who after the BBC signed a global deal with Disney Branded Television. It marks the end of a 50-year partnership between the BBC and Australia’s public broadcaster and the end of the British series on broadcast television in Australia.

Whovians will need an $11.99 per month subscription to the Disney+ streaming service to watch the show starting in 2023.

ABC has had a long and close relationship with Doctor Who, and a blue model of the Tardis still takes center stage in the lobby of ABC’s headquarters at Sydney’s Ultimo. A former ABC CEO, Mark Scott, was a big fan and hinted at the importance of the rights in 2014.

“I think in the long history of ABC there’s only been one show that we think Australian rights should cover all dimensions of time and space, and that’s the magnificent Doctor Who,” he said.

Scott said on Wednesday that he “never felt the BBC fully understood the value and importance of a 90-year relationship with sister public broadcasters when faced with reams of commercial money.”

However, from next year, all new seasons of the hit British show starring the next Doctor, Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa, will stream exclusively on Disney+ outside of the UK and Ireland.

“After a long friendship spanning over 50 years, the universe has called the Doctor in a different direction and Doctor Who will no longer appear on ABC beyond the current season,” ABC said on Wednesday.

“ABC audiences can currently enjoy past seasons of Doctor Who, including the recent centenary special, on ABC iview.

“We are incredibly grateful to the generations of Whovians who have enjoyed Doctor Who with us on ABC.

“Everyone at ABC wishes the Doctor well on his adventures and we hope that the Time Lord will visit us again at some point in the future.”

Gatwa made the announcement overnight during an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

In May, the BBC announced that the 29-year-old Gatwa would replace Jodie Whittaker to become the Fourteenth Doctor.

However, there was a surprising twist in Monday’s episode when Whittaker didn’t regenerate at Gatwa, but rather the return of Time Lord David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor.

Disney+ president Alisa Bowen said the show will be introduced to the next generation of audiences in more than 150 markets.

“The series is a perfect addition to our ever-growing catalog of global content that continues to make Disney+ the home of exceptional storytelling,” said Bowen.

The series’ showrunner, Russell T Davies, said the deal combined the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+.

“Together we can launch the Tardis across the planet and reach a new generation of fans, while maintaining our traditional home at the BBC in the UK,” he said.

The BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, said the broadcaster was committed to “ensuring that audiences around the world have the chance to enjoy the Doctor’s epic adventures with the scale and ambition they deserve.” .


Author: Hardeep Singh

With over 2 years of experience in the field of journalism, Hardeep Singh heads the editorial operations of the Elite News as the Executive Writer.

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