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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

'Doctor Who' to become a Disney+ exclusive in 2023, leaving BBC America behind in new deal

The TARDIS is landing at the House of Mouse.

By Matthew Jackson
David Tennant in Doctor Who

If you want to watch the next incarnation of Doctor Who, you're going to need a Disney+ subscription.

Disney announced Tuesday morning that it will be the new home for upcoming seasons of the classic BBC science fiction series in the United States and around the world, a major streaming acquisition for a streaming service that's already home to major franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars. Ncuti Gatwa, who will play the Fifteenth Doctor on the series, confirmed the news during an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan this morning, according to a Disney press release. 

The BBC, which first aired the series in November of 1963 and has remained its network home ever since, will continue to produce and air the series in its home base of the United Kingdom. The show has most recently aired on BBC America in the United States.

"I love this show, and this is the best of both worlds – with the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+ together we can launch the TARDIS all around the planet, reaching a new generation of fans while keeping our traditional home firmly on the BBC in the UK," Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies said in a statement.

The BBC also unveiled a regenerative new logo for the series on its social media channels in honor of the deal. 

The show's official Twitter page also put Gatwa front and center with the news by giving him in a little showcase Q&A to celebrate the reveal. 

Doctor Who famously made an impact in the United States first through reruns, often broadcast on public access stations and in syndication around America back in the 20th century. When the series returned for a revival under Davies' leadership 2005, the global audience for the show grew significantly, until cable network BBC America became the North American home for the show, airing new episodes just hours after UK audiences go to see them. Apparently, last weekend's The Power of the Doctor special will be the last time that happens, as Disney+ will take over airing new Who when the series returns for its 60th anniversary celebration next year. 

Disney's announcement does not specify what will happen to past seasons of the series under this deal. At the moment, all seasons of the Doctor Who revival are still streaming on HBO Max. 

The news comes just two days after Doctor Who made headlines for replacing outgoing Doctor Jodie Whittaker not with Gatwa, as was expected, but with returning Tenth Doctor David Tennant, who will be back in the TARDIS for a trio of specials next year. That makes Tennant the Fourteenth Doctor, while Gatwa will be the Fifteenth, though we still have no idea how such a thing will be explained in the continuity of the show. 

Doctor Who returns in late 2023.

Looking for more timey-wimey science fiction? Check out SYFY's Resident Alien, streaming now on Peacock.

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