Doctor Who episode budget ‘could triple to £10m’ with Disney deal

Doctor Who could see its budget triple to around £10m per episode as part of the new deal between the BBC and Disney to make Disney+ the international streaming partner of the long-running BBC science fiction show from 2023, according to reports.

A deal between BBC Studios and Disney Television was announced on October 25th which spoke of a “shared creative vision” between the partners for the show that would make “Doctor Who into a global franchise for UK audiences and the rest of the world.”

Although there hasn’t been a great amount of further detail on what exactly the “partnership” will entail, the industry magazine Broadcast quotes scripted sources who currently estimate the show’s budget to be between £1m and £3m per episode but say that this number “could triple to circa-£10m as the global SVoD strikes up a creative partnership with the BBC from 2023.”

The BBC has not commented.

As Screen OD has previously speculated, they believe the investment from Disney could help the show breakthrough into more mainstream television viewing in the United States and may lead to further spin-off series in the future.

One individual speaking to Broadcast with knowledge of the deal said that it is an “incredibly exciting” time for the franchise, while another added that the ramping up of production values could help it break into the mainstream in the US.

An individual with knowledge of the deal is quoted as saying: “Beyond the hardcore fans, Doctor Who has never quite became a broad appeal show there [the US],”

Adding: “But with the right investment on Disney+, Russell [T Davies] has a bigger blank piece of paper to really do something different.”

Russell T Davies has launched several Doctor Who spin-off series in the past including Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures and so would be no stranger to creating more from the Doctor Who universe should the opportunity present itself.

The first episodes of Doctor Who that will be part of the BBC and Disney deal will be the three 60th anniversary Doctor Who specials that will air in November 2023 and star David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor. These will be followed by Ncuti Gatwa’s first full episode as the Fifteenth Doctor around the festive season and a full season with Fifteen sometime in 2024.