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It’s been a busy few weeks for Doctor Who and the future looks very, very bright…

November 8th, 2022 by Marc Comments

It’s been a crazy few weeks for Doctor Who and it seems that it’s all – hopefully – heading to a very bright future for our favourite Time Lord – and sometimes Time Lady.

It all kicked off in earnest when, credit where it’s due, showrunner Chris Chibnall did the completely unexpected and gave 13th Doctor Jodie Whitaker a wonderful send-off in the feature-length Power of the Doctor.

The episode was a real emotional thrill ride featuring past doctors, past companions, Daleks, Cybermen, the Master and Whitaker giving the performance we always knew she could, given the right material. Honestly, it was superbly and felt like we were back in the days of Russell T Davies… making us winder if the returning showrunner had some had in the adventure. But I digress.

The very end of the episode saw the 13th Doctor regenerate – a regeneration that was, when filmed, meant to be left open-ended as the show’s future was unknown (here) – into – gasp! – David Tennant:

“I know these teeth…”

Shortly after, Davies, who will be back in charge of the series from next November when the show’s 60th Aniversary episode – starring Tennant – airs, confirmed that Tennant is, in fact, the 14th Doctor and not glitch or a blip (many suspected he is more than a normal regeneration because he appeared along with his clothes, not a regular occurrence for the character, well, not in the last 40 or so years anyway).

Of course, we shouldn’t be too shocked that Tennant is a real regeneration after all, didn’t The Curator, a future regeneration (possibly the last) of The Doctor, played by the great Tom Baker (previously the 4th Doctor), tell the 11th Doctor that “in years to come you might find yourself revisiting a few… but just the old favorites, eh?”. Yes, he did… and they don’t come much more favourite than Tennant:

This means that the next actor to take the mantle of The Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa,  will be the 15th Doctor after Tennant’s limited three-episode (feature-length we hear) return appearance. Oh, and the BBC released a new image of the actor with what may be his new look and is that a new TARDIS too?

As well as all this, the show got an exciting new logo:

The new logo is gorgeous and is a real nod to classic Doctor Who. Literally, as it’s an updated version of the classic Tom Baker era logo:

Speaking of Baker again, while The Power of the Doctor saw several classic Doctors come back as projections of themselves – Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davidson, Paul McGann and David Bradley as the 1st Doctor, fans were wondering where Baker was as the man is a big fan of the character and is certainly a fan-favourite in the role.

Sadly, showrunner Chibnall said he was approached but couldn’t appear: “We asked Tom,” he said, “but sadly he could not do it. He was not available. Such a shame.”

However, one actor that says he’s ‘done his time’ is 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi, left, who says he’s not going to return to the role anytime soon (here), saying, when asked if he’d return:

“I don’t think so, no.

“I love Doctor Who – I love it in all of its forms – but I’ve sort of done my time on it and I like the idea that you leave that as it is, instead of constantly digging up more of it.”

Of course, he could be lying – he’d not be the first actor to keep quiet about a role – and we hope he is because, like a fine wine, Capaldi’s Doctor gets better and better with age.

So… classic Doctors returning, Tennant back for the 60th and Ncuti Gatwa waiting in the wings to take over, could it get any better? Well, it seems it could, indeed.

Ok, so we know that Davies has said in the past that Doctor Who should be an ’empire’ (here), saying: “There should be a Doctor Who channel now. You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think, we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series. Genuinely.”

Quite the dream. And Davies has attempted it before with spin-offs such as The Sarah-Jane Adventures, K-9, Torchwood and Class but sadly, between one thing and another, it was shorter lived than w’d have liked.

Enter Disney.

Doctor Who was announced as, when it returns next year, moving to Disney+ outside the UK, with BBC keeping it airing in the UK:

Under a shared creative vision, they will deliver this quintessentially British show to future generations on an unprecedented scale with Disney+ as the exclusive home for new seasons of Doctor Who outside the UK and Ireland.

Both partners have aligned under returning showrunner Russell T Davies’ bold vision, who takes control of the TARDIS in 2023.

Russell T Davies, left, says: “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.”

The new episodes will premiere on the BBC and Disney+ beginning in late 2023 for fans all over the world. The show will be produced in Wales by Bad Wolf with BBC Studios Production.

Many fans wondered if this would result in Disney perhaps trying to get a little hand-on with the show and a new report claims that the show’s usual budget of £1-3m per episode could triple with an episodic budget of £10m now that Disney are involved.

As a little side note, I’d like to remind long-time fans that The Doctor has crossed paths with Marvel in the past here in the UK and once McCoy’s 7th Doctor even met the bounty hunter Death’s Head:

Now, that’s a crossover I’d like to see re-ignited.

Just me? Ok.

Anyway, the report goes on, saying that this new deal will also see the show having multiple spin-offs similar to those listed above.

The report says: “The BBC had to make the decision for the future success of Doctor Who because any show of scale needs a partner. Reliability is the most important factor irrespective of how many episodes you make or who the Doctor is.

“If you can bring in a single partner with one distribution agreement, while retaining exclusivity in the UK, that is the best of both worlds for the BBC.”

Of course, the last thing we want is for Doctor Who to begin looking and feeling like an American production – the show is quintessentially British in every aspect and some are concerned that this is exactly what Disney plans… after all, we know that back in 1996 when Paul McGann’s movie was made/released, the plan was to bring The Doctor to America in a big way and, while it can be felt in the movie’s production, luckily McGann was embraced by fans and still is to this day.

But I have faith in Davies. I trust him to not allow the show’s heritage to be compromised… he is a fan first and foremost and he understands Doctor Who more than most and I hope that, down the line, we might finally see more adventures of McGann’s Doctor or animated adventures, a new Torchwood, fronted by Martha Jones… there’s no bigger universe out there than Doctor Who and now we may finally see that realised.

And I find that very exciting, indeed,

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….