DOCTOR WHO Showrunner Russell T Davies Talks New Disney+ Budget; "We're Not On That STAR WARS Level"

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies addresses the show's budget increase courtesy of Disney+, revealing how it compares to Star Wars, while confirming it's had an effect on his storytelling approach.

Russell T Davies was tasked with bringing Doctor Who back to television in 2005, and the writer did such a great job, he's since become synonymous with the property. While he happily passed the reigns of the hit sci-fi series to other creatives following that successful run, the news of his return has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. 

Davies will oversee this year's specials starring David Tennant before forging ahead with a new era of storytelling revolving around Ncuti Gatwa's Fourteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson as his companion, Ruby Sunday. He'll do so with an increased budget too, courtesy of BBC's deal with Disney+.

The streaming service will have exclusive rights to the sci-fi series outside the UK, and that financial investment means the publicly funded BBC can bring the franchise up to a level where it can compete with other heavy hitters in the genre. 

During a recent interview with GQ, Davies addressed Doctor Who's recent budget increase. 

"The world has changed. And we're now in the age of the streamer...It wasn't my idea, it was the BBC's notion to go for a streamer [Disney+] to invest in the show worldwide, which I completely agree with," he explains. "We're not on the budget level with Star Wars and the Marvel shows."

"[The budget is] better than it was, yes yes yes. I mean any piece of television costs millions. We're not allowed to talk about budget, and we're not on that Star Wars or Star Trek level, but it's more than I've ever had to work with."

After once again dismissing reports that Doctor Who now has a $10 million per episode budget, the writer and producer confirmed that more money has definitely had an impact on his approach from a creative standpoint. 

"Yes, I think it does, it's one of the reason I've come back — you can tell stories on a bigger scale. It's the same old problems, I still have to cut scenes because they're too expensive, and I still have to reduce the number of monsters, and things like that. But my imagination feels more free, a lot more free, actually. It's just a joy to write anyway. I'm really proud of it."

It sounds like an exciting time to be a fan of this franchise, that's for sure. Doctor Who is set to return this November for three specials with David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, while Gatwa assumes the role over Christmas 2023.

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