There’s a lot of talk right now about Doctor Who spin-offs.
Ever since Russell T Davies returned to Doctor Who as showrunner there has been speculation that we might see a return of Torchwood, or that there could be other spin-off shows in the offing.
These rumours and this speculation were compounded by the news that the BBC had inked a deal with Disney for Disney+ to be the international home of the show. This has led many to speculate that not only will there be more budget available for the main show going forward (some reports saying it could be as much as trebled), but also that a bigger potential audience on Disney+ across the globe from 2023 could make for an excellent launchpad for a “family” of Doctor Who shows that all sit within the same universe.
And although the idea of Doctor Who becoming quite as sprawling as Marvel’s MCU or as prolific as Star Wars has become in the cinema and on TV seems a way off, there does seem to be some momentum behind the talk of Doctor Who beyond the main series.
Of course, this is no new thing for the show. In 1981, the BBC tried it with K-9 and Company which saw a pilot air to over 8 million people as the robotic dog and Sarah Jane Smith went on an adventure. This one never made it to a full series, but a precedent was set for expanding the DWU (Doctor Who Universe) on television.
In 2005, Russell T Davies, the architect of the return of Doctor Who after more than 15 years in the wilderness as a series, was thinking up new shows and Torchwood launched the following year starring John Barrowman, Eve Myles and many more. It was followed by a return of Sarah Jane to the world of spin-offs when Elisabeth Sladen reprised her role as the companion in the youth-focused Sarah Jane Adventures in 2007.
And even when Russel T Davies had left the show the idea of spin-offs continued, and Class was released in 2016, set in Coal Hill School.
There have also been shorts on YouTube like Daleks! animated adventures and numerous spin-offs in literary forms – but for some years now, the Doctor Who TV spin-off has been a quiet space.
And the question is, Doctor Who fans – do you want more spin-offs on the telly, or would you prefer the attention to be on the main show?
There’s an assumption sometimes that more is good in TV terms, but perhaps quality should trump quality, and spin-offs may mean there’s less time for the main show?
On the flip side, it could be argued that building of the Doctor Who franchise into something bigger and better could only improve the main show by bring more money and eyeballs to DW and allowing the programme to move to a new level.
It’s complicated, but this question is simple.
Would you like to see more Doctor Who spin-offs? Have your say below…