Good news for Doctor Who fans everywhere! A BBC Worldwide press release indicates that the show could be sticking around through season 15.
Rest easy, Doctor Who fans. Despite all the change heading our way following season 10 in the form of a new Doctor and a new showrunner, the series itself remains a comforting constant. And now it looks like it may be sticking around through a purported fifteenth season.
The eagle-eyed folks over at Doctor Who TV first spotted and reported on a very interesting new tidbit in a recent BBC Worldwide press release. The company has inked a new broadcasting deal with a Chinese media outlet, Shanghai Media Group. This new distribution partnership will make the entire catalog of the modern Doctor Who available on Chinese TV channels and on-demand viewing platforms. This includes spinoffs Torchwood and Class.
Plus, the deal covers the Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat eras of Who (i.e., Seasons 1-10). But it apparently already includes incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall’s season 11. And that’s not all. It also grants “a first look” for Seasons 12-15, which haven’t even been given the go-ahead yet.
Such a deal would take the series into 2022.
The pertinent bit of the press release reads as follows:
"The deal not only covers Showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat’s Series 1- 10 but also incoming Showrunner Chris Chibnall’s yet-to-film Series 11, as well as a first look for Series 12-15. “This marks the start of a longer and even more fruitful partnership with SMGP,” said Jaclyn-Lee Joe, Chief Marketing Officer, BBC Worldwide. “Doctor Who already has a substantial fan base in China. Now, Chinese fans will be able to access the entire catalogue of Doctor Who and its spin-offs thanks to this agreement. The MOU is an affirmation of both parties’ commitment to build the Doctor Who brand and grow its fan base in China.”"
This news should probably come as no surprise to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to the show. True, Doctor Who’s ratings have struggled a bit in recent seasons. (And they’ve actually gone down again during season 10.) But the show is a massive global brand now. That makes it as valuable for its merchandising sales and international distribution value as its terrestrial ratings. Possibly more so. Given all these external factors, Doctor Who will likely run as long as someone wants to make it. (At least for the foreseeable future.)
Of course, this is not the same thing as an official renewal. And this is no guarantee that the show will run through season 15. But it’s a pretty good look at where the BBC is in its internal thought processes regarding the show. And the fact that they considering it in terms that extend five seasons into the future can only be a good thing.
Doctor Who season 10 currently airs on Saturday nights on BBC One and BBC America.