The Downside of Disney+

TV  There we have it.  Until about an hour ago, the co-production deal with Disney+ in the making of Doctor Who seemed to be all upside.  Larger budgets, a series every year for at least another four years and the possibility of it finally becoming a global franchise which is famous enough to have its own proper Lego that isn't just adding a fan-made mini-figure to the pirate set (or whatever).  There even seemed to be some agreement on the scheduling with the past four episodes premiering globally at the whims of the BBC One scheduling.  Well, it couldn't last.
Doctor Who is set to make an explosive return on 11 May.

The TARDIS will make its global premiere around the Whoniverse and for those in the UK, for the first time ever, the Doctor will land with two episodes premiering on BBC iPlayer at 00:00  on Saturday, before arriving on BBC One later that day right before the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final.

At the same time, those outside of the UK can watch the Doctor and Ruby on their epic adventures as the TARDIS is set to land on Disney+ where available.

Viewers in the UK will now be able to watch whenever and wherever they choose, with the option to watch from midnight on BBC iPlayer or tune in at primetime on Saturday nights on BBC One.
As though in the year of our lord Rassilon 2024, fans are going to wait until tea time to watch brand new Doctor Who episodes which have been in circulation for eighteen or nineteen hours.  Instead we're now all going to be watching our favourite programme at midnight every Friday night into Saturday morning when some of us will be tired as fuck and have work the following day.  It's either that or living through a digital iteration of the No Hiding Place episode of The Likely Lads week after sorry week unable to use social media or visit our favour news websites for fear of spoilers.

This will, of course, be part of the co-production agreement that going into the main series, Disney+ (the richer of the co-production partners) didn't want the global launch of these episodes to be at the whims of the BBC One scheduling which in fairness rarely follows a strict timing on a Saturday night any more so that everyone in the world can watch the episodes at the same time, 7pm ET as it's described in the press release, which means it'll be on a Friday evening in some parts of the world and in the middle of the night in others.  In Australia it'll be first thing in the morning.

I'm trying not to feel too cross about this and at least Russell T Davies will be able to spin a page of his Production Notes in the party circular offering us a metaphoric hug.  Plus it means that fans outside of the UK will see it at the same time as us after decades of it largely emerging there on whatever channel, at whatever time, days, months or even years after its original transmission.  Although you could argue that's been the case in the UK for a range of shows although that was usually in the era before everything which happens being talked about everywhere all at once.

It's just that Doctor Who's been one of the last remaining communal viewings amongst genre fans in the UK.  We'd watch the episode and then visit our social media of choice to talk about what we've just seen albeit with the understanding that some fans won't have been able to see it on TX and stinting our claps unless its something so big (ahem) that it would be impossible not to avoid it anyway.  Perhaps that'll still be the same now.  We'll just be doing at at one in the morning and hope that people have various words muted (as I did with Game of Thrones for many years).  Hey ho.

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