Could Doctor Who Disney deal see more US stars on the show?
We don’t know much about the deal between the BBC and Disney for Doctor Who beyond the fact that they have a “shared creative vision” for the show, that all international streaming of the science fiction show will be on Disney+ from the 60th anniversary onwards, and that there have been many reports across the media for plans of piling more cash into episode budgets and making spin-off series about Daleks and Cybermen.
But could the unified distribution outside of the UK have another effect? Could it mean there are more international stars, quite specifically American stars, on the show?
It’s fair to assume Doctor Who is going to be getting a pretty big push across Disney+ in 2023. With three new hour-long 60th anniversary specials on their way, the first episode with Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson as the Fifteenth and Ruby Sunday around Christmas and then season 14 in 2024, there’s already a lot to shout about – but could their be even more international interest in the show garnered were there to be more internationally recognised guest stars in the 60th shows and beyond?
The anniversary specials already have American actor Neil Patrick Harris confirmed, an international star for his role in the long-running comedy How I Met Your Mother – but might a few more big names help to attract in first-time international viewers to the show?
How about Whoopi Goldberg, for a start? She’s never been shy in talking about her love for Doctor Who, indeed, last year she told the Edinburgh TV Festival audience that she wanted the top job.
“I wanted to be Doctor Who and I still do,” reported Deadline from the event last year.
“I think it would mean an evolution into being American and I don’t know that that’s correct for Doctor Who. I don’t know I can usurp that. As much as I love it, I love watching it still in all the iterations.
“There are certain things that are blatantly all English. Doctor Who is like that to me. It’s like Marmite. It’s very English and needs to stay that way.”
Now although we know that the lead role is sown up by David Tennant for the specials and Ncuti Gatwa – himself an international star thanks the huge success of Sex Education on Netflix globally – could someone like Whoopi Goldberg popping up in an episode or two attract the interest of Disney+ browsers?
And what about other celebrity Doctor Who fans? Would Tom Hanks arriving in an episode get some press? I think so…
Hanks has admitted in the past that he grew up in the 60s watching Doctor Who and has a great affection for the show.
”We got our first colour TV in 1968, and in California that meant meant all these extra channels nobody watched, filled with trippy Japanese cartoons – and ‘Doctor Who’!
”And we always watched because the English video just looked so weird, and you had the guy with the big red hair and the bow tie [Jon Pertwee]” he told ContactMusic.
Added the Hollywood Star: ”And everyone talked in English accents and there were these big salt and pepper shaker robots and we’d look at each other and say, ‘Can you make any sense out of this?’ But it was intriguing. And that’s the root of my affection.”
Of course, there is a history of celebrity fan guest stars in the show, with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Stephen Fy and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor all making appearances in the past. So could we just see more of the same?
With so much going on in the show right now it’s hard to know what will happen next. But we certainly can’t discount the idea of more big names joining the Whoniverse in some capacity over the coming years.
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