Starting Next Year, Doctor Who Will No Longer Air on the ABC

Starting Next Year, Doctor Who Will No Longer Air on the ABC

The BBC has announced that it has finalised a new agreement regarding the global distribution of its beloved, long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who. For those of you who have long watched the series on the ABC, listen up because things are changing.

Where to watch Doctor Who in Australia

Per the recent announcement, the BBC will continue to air Doctor Who in the UK and Ireland, while Disney+ will carry the show exclusively across the rest of the world. It’s a decision that has had a knock-on effect here in Australia.

Because the show will be moving to Disney+, the ABC will no longer have the rights to air the show in Australia. The ABC issued a short statement to that effect on October 26. The beneficiary of a longstanding partnership with the BBC, the ABC has aired Doctor Who in Australia, for free, for over 50 years. The move to Disney+ is, I’m sure, a lucrative one for the BBC which has historically struggled to cover the cost of producing the increasingly expensive show. Doctor Who has appeared on streaming services before, but that never affected its availability to free-to-air broadcasters like the ABC.

But this new deal puts the show firmly behind a single paywall and, in an era where it is becoming harder and harder to afford little luxuries like Disney+, it puts the show out of reach for many. Given the lessons of the show and its main character over the years, locking the Doctor away from people who can’t afford to see them seems antithetical to the spirit of the entire project.

This deal has probably paid all the show’s bills for the next couple of years, but at what cost?

Past seasons of Doctor Who, and the recent Centenary Special, are still available to watch on ABC iView and will remain there until the end of the year. After that, Doctor Who will depart the ABC and who knows if or when it will be back.

New episodes of Doctor Who will premiere on Disney+ beginning in November 2023.

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