Following the news that US Netflix customers are to lose access to Doctor Who episodes from the end of January, it seems UK fans may only have a limited time to enjoy the series too.
Netflix UK’s current Doctor Who licensing deal with the BBC expires on 1st May, a spokesperson for the streaming service told RadioTimes.com, meaning that if nothing changes customers will have just three more months to catch up on, or re-watch, the adventures of Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith’s Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors.
There is apparently still “a chance” the deal could be extended, but it’s unclear how likely this is to happen.
The news will be particularly disappointing to fans, coming as it does after the announcement made via RadioTimes.com that the BBC will not be airing a new series of Doctor Who this year.
US Netflix customers have already expressed dismay that they will have nothing to tide them over until the Christmas special at the end of the year and British viewers are likely to feel the same.
It’s possible that Netflix’s failure to renew its Doctor Who license in the US is due to the BBC’s plans to launch its own streaming service there, but what is preventing the deal being extended in Britain is unclear.
The Corporation recently launched BBC Store, where UK residents can buy and download programmes from its extensive archive, which includes the Doctor Who back catalogue. But BBC Worldwide’s managing director Marcus Arthur said at the time that it would have no impact on what shows the Corporation could sell to streaming services.
“BBC Store is not a subscription service,” he said. “It is about opening up the archive. For me they are separate markets.”