Since the BBC announced it has signed a deal with Disney for Disney+ to become the streaming home of Doctor Who across the globe going forward, there has been speculation in the press and among fans that the deal could mean spin-off shows appearing left, right and centre and a huge amount of extra cash ploughed into main show’s budget. One report even suggested that Doctor Who could enjoy as much as a £10 million per episode budget for the new season, more than trebling from the current estimates reported to be between £1m and £3m per episode.
And although showrunner Russell T Davies is happy to admit the show will enjoy an increased budget going forward, he has dismissed rumours of £10m per episode, calling it “exaggerated.”
Asked whether the show will be getting a bigger budget thanks to the Disney deal, Russell T Davies told Doctor Who Magazine: “Yes. But it’s not the reported budget.”
When asked specifically about the £10m an episode claims in the papers, Davies said: “That has been exaggerated. If that was the budget, I’d be speaking to you from my base on the Moon. That is not the budget, and I worry that misinformation like that creates false expectation. Nonetheless, we have a lovely, handsome budget, and we’re very happy with how we’re proceeding with it.”
Jane Tranter, executive producer on the show added: “It’s a really good budget for us. But we are not Game of Thrones. Or The Rings of Power,” referring to the huge fantasy hits made by HBO and Prime Video respectively. Indeed, Rings of Power is reported to be the most expensive television show ever made with some estimates putting each episode close to $90m.
Phil Collinson, who also executive produces the show was keen to reiterate there was no blank cheque for Doctor Who now and that they had to continue to be careful how they spent the money they had in the greatest traditions of the BBC’s science fiction show: “I still spend 75 per cent of my day in meetings, trying to work out how many monsters we can afford and how we can make it look like we’ve got twice as many, how we can revamp that set and re-use it, how do we take these massive, ambitious, brilliant, gorgeous scripts and make them absolutely the best we possibly can for the money we’ve got. Which is what Verity Lambert [Doctor Who’s original producer] was doing in 1963. It’s always been a show that reaches beyond its means and pushes every creative person.”
Doctor Who will next be on our screens in November 2023 when David Tennant returns to the TARDIS as the Fourteenth Doctor in three 60th anniversary special episodes. This will be followed by Doctor Who season 14 which is filming right now (and fans have spotted a new star and a new monster) and will star Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and Coronation Street star Millie Gibson as his time travelling companion Ruby Sunday.