Russell T Davies confirms that Amazon and Netflix wanted Doctor Who rights

Leon Miller
A collage of several Doctors in Doctor WhoBBC

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies recently revealed that Disney+ beat out the likes of Netflix and Amazon for the international streaming rights to the long-running sci-fi show.

Doctor Who has aired on the BBC in the UK and Ireland since its debut in 1963. It has also been broadcast on various other networks around the world since then, and the revived series is currently available in more than 50 countries.

With the advent of streaming, viewers can now access Doctor Who on-demand from a range of different platforms, as well. These include BBC iPlayer, BritBox, Google Play, Max, Apple TV, and Netflix.

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This is all set to change on November 25, though, when a new deal between the BBC and Disney comes into effect. The deal gives Disney+ subscribers outside the UK and Ireland access to all future Doctor Who content, starting with the three Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials.

Amazon and Netflix wanted Doctor Who rights

It’s a major coup for Disney – not least of all because the House of Mouse wasn’t the only interested party. Davies said as much in a recent interview with SFX, confirming that virtually every major streamer, including Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, was keen to add Doctor Who to their respective libraries.

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“It could have been Netflix, it could have been Amazon [that landed the international rights to Doctor Who],” he said. “It could’ve been anyone – you could say any name there that we went to. It’s our job to go to every single streamer in the world. All of them were very interested.”

Ultimately, it was Disney that emerged triumphant, although not everyone is as pleased with this development as Davies and the BBC. This includes many fans of the show, who expressed concerns about how the Disney deal could affect Doctor Who’s future direction immediately after it was announced.

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Anti-Disney sentiment spiked again after Davies announced that Doctor Who Series 14 will now be known as “Doctor Who Season 1” – a controversial change that more than one online commentator attributed to Disney’s involvement.

The BBC Unveils the Whoniverse on iPlayer

However, Disney’s supposed role in the Series 14/Season 1 switch-up remains pure speculation for now. For his part, Davies stated that Doctor Who’s overhauled numbering simply reflects how the arrival of Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor will “reset” the show in general.

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Certainly, the change seems to align with the BBC’s own efforts to reposition the franchise via the launch of the Whoniverse portal on iPlayer, complete with its own newly-developed branding. Launched on November 1, the Whoniverse boasts over 800 episodes of Doctor Who, as well as a new spinoff, Tales of the TARDIS – a six-part series exclusive to iPlayer.

Not sure where to stream Doctor Who in your region? Check out our guide on how to watch every episode of the series.

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About The Author

Leon is a freelance Movies and TV writer at Dexerto. His past writing credits include articles for Polygon, Popverse, The Escapist, Screen Rant, CBR, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more. Originally from Australia, Leon is currently based in the UK.