Doctor Who’s Next Season Gets Record-Breaking Budget on Disney+

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Doctor Who, Disney Plus

Doctor Who will return in 2023 with a new leading star, familiar writers, and a new international home on Disney+, one which will offer a record-breaking budget.

The longest-running sci-fi series ever has been through a tough few years under Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor and Chris Chibnall's leadership. Now, Doctor Who is preparing to re-enter familiar territory as Russell T. Davis, the man who originally brought the show back to screens in 2005, returns as showrunner.

But that's not all as the familiar writer is bringing some old faces back to the TARDIS. The ever-popular David Tennant recently became the Doctor once more after Whittaker's shock regeneration, and will soon reunite with Catherine Tate's Donna Noble for three 60th anniversary specials releasing in November 2023.

This all comes before Sex Education alum Ncuti Gatwa finally takes control of the TARDIS next December as the 15th Doctor for Season 13 of the revival era. Although there will be some changes to the age-old structure as, Doctor Who will now be going to Disney+ outside of the UK, bringing with it a host of new perks.

Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor Who Receives Exciting Budget Update

Doctor Who Logo, Disney Plus

According to a new report from Broadcast, the BBC's deal with Disney+ to release upcoming seasons of Doctor Who on the streaming platform from 2023 onward will give the long-running sci-fi series a record-breaking budget increase.

While recent seasons of the British epic have been produced for around $1.1M to $3.4M, the budget could increase to around $11.5M when filming begins on Ncuti Gatwa's Season 14 this month. As recent seasons of the show have been 10 episodes, not including specials, this could make its total budget over $100M.

This will make the upcoming Doctor Who era the most expensive season of a BBC series ever, with the record having been previously held by His Dark Materials. The HBO collaboration, which saw the American giant share the cost, reportedly had a budget of less than $7M per episode - around $40M to $50M for all of Season 2.

How Doctor Who's New Budget Will Improve the Sci-Fi Series

With Doctor Who now seeing a budget increase of over five times as it makes the jump to Disney+, the series is taking big steps to move into the modern era. This drastic jump in financial freedom will allow it to fit right in with Marvel and Star Wars' visually stunning and star-studded projects on Disney's streaming platform.

Not only will the transition allow the sci-fi mainstay to create bigger worlds, scarier monsters, and crazier action, but it will also allow for more major stars to get involved. Although the show has already welcomed plenty of major British icons, more A-list stars could be showing up soon for one-off and recurring roles.

This change can already be seen beginning as How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris will appear as an unknown villain in one of Tennant's specials - potentially sporting a British accent. So, there are already signs of Doctor Who starting to turn to Hollywood for its guest actors in this new era. 

Perhaps when it comes to casting Ncuti Gatwa's companion to join him in his time and space adventures, there may be even more famous names in the mix. Usually, Doctor Who tends to pick from newcomer actors and actresses, but now casting already-known names may not be out of the realm of possibility. 

As Doctor Who prepares to enter competition with the giants of streaming, many existing fans will be worried about the essence of the show being lost. But the BBC and Russell T. Davis' Bad Wolf Studios will likely remain in full creative control as Disney serves as more of a silent partner to bring in a wider audience. 

Doctor Who will return in November 2023 with three specials starring David Tennant; Ncuti Gatwa's TARDIS tenure will follow shortly after in December 2023. 

- In This Article: Doctor Who (Series 14)
Release Date
May 10, 2024
Ncuti Gatwa
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.