While the future of Doctor Who is already confirmed in the short term - with the show returning for a Christmas special this year and another season next year - beyond that, things are currently less certain.


This is because the show's fate in its current form rests with Disney Plus, who the BBC did a deal with for the new era.

Not only does Disney distribute the series internationally, it also helps to finance it, meaning that while the show could continue without the streamer, its budget may have to be slashed.

The question of the show's future following what have been described as season 14's "underwhelming" ratings was raised in a recent article in The Times, and now the BBC has weighed in.

A BBC spokeswoman told the publication: "Overnight ratings no longer provide an accurate picture of all those who watch drama in an on-demand world.

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"This season of Doctor Who premiered on iPlayer nearly 24 hours before broadcast, and episode 1 has already been viewed by nearly 6 million viewers and continues to grow.

"Doctor Who remains one of the most-watched programmes on iPlayer and is the BBC’s top drama for under-35s this year, making it one of the biggest programmes for the demographic across all streamers and broadcasters."

Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel in Doctor Who. They are sat in the doorway of the Remembered TARDIS and look sad and scared
Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel in Doctor Who. BBC Studios/Alistair Heap

This statement lines up with a comment previously made by showrunner Russell T Davies, who said: "In coming back, I wanted to make it simpler and I wanted to make it younger. Those two things are often not discussed – you read reactions to it and people are missing that.

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"It's simpler and younger – and it is working. The under-16s and the 16-34 audience, as well, is massive. It's not doing that well in the ratings, but it is doing phenomenally well with the younger audience that we wanted."

Hopefully these assurances will calm fans' nerves about the show's future. It certainly appears that Davies seems hopeful, as he has already started writing season 16.

The writer has also confirmed that "there are offices that exist" that are dedicated solely to planning potential spin-offs, although what these would be focused on is currently unclear.

Doctor Who will return at Christmas on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.


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