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.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1991

Even though large parts of my school life have disappeared from my memory due to trauma or age or both, there is one image that remains vivid. The internet tells me it happened in early January 1991: sitting in the form room before registration and assembly, listening to coverage of the Gulf War on a radio that another boy had brought in for the purpose.

This was unusual. The school had strict rules about what could and couldn't happen in classrooms. Having a radio blasting out, even the news, was very much frowned upon. (Although having half the class taunt one of its pupils to the point of sobbing was apparently fine, but I digress. See what I mean about trauma?)

Radio 4 News FM, as it was officially known (or Scud FM as quickly dubbed by the media), ran from January 16th until March 2nd, 1991. The channel's usual schedule continued on longwave (LW). Despite its immense popularity, internal fears at the BBC about news and current affairs over-reaching led senior executives to close it abruptly as the war ended.

Also around that time, we were moving from a house in Speke to where we still live now. Scud FM became the backdrop for packing and unpacking, and the longest sustained period of my listening to the BBC's fourth channel (which had usually only been for repeats of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Afterwards, I probably went back to my usual background music – Debbie Gibson tunes and shit. It was certainly the last time I remember a radio being smuggled into school. But, it held the door ajar slightly in my understanding of what was available on the BBC,  leading to Five Live becoming a mainstay during my university years.


"Midlands Today prepares for a move to a new studio, and the introduction of a separate news programme for the East Midlands."
[BBC Rewind]


"Noel’s House Party: A Decade Of Crinkley Bottom - some highlights from the archives, produced by Richard Latto."
NHP began this year and this (perhaps little seen) clip show was created specially for the History of the BBC website.
[BBC Clips]

"Nickelodeon asked me for ideas. I thought, All I do right now is watch my four and 15-month year old kids go to the bathroom."
[The Guardian]

"In the early summer of 1991 I was coming to the end of my degree course at the then Nottingham Polytechnic and found myself killing a few hours in its library whilst nervously awaiting my results. As I leafed through the day’s broadsheets, trying desperately to distract myself from my anxiety, I came across an article which caught my eye and excited me."
[Off The Telly]

"Revisiting Stephen Gallagher’s Chimera, an early 90s TV mini-series exploring the perilous consequences when scientific advancement meets government corruption…"
[Horrified Magazine]

"One thing I’ve become vaguely obsessed with over the past year is how often the things that “everyone” knows about a TV show turn out to be incorrect. Of course, by “everyone”, I don’t actually mean everyone. The person on the street doesn’t mutter Brittas Empire TX dates as they go about their shopping. At least not in my local Tesco."
[Dirty Feed]

"Although Thunderbirds had premiered on British television back in 1965 and would be repeated several times over the next two decades, the fragmented regional makeup of the British television landscape of the time meant that different regions would see different episodes airing at different times – with some regions receiving more broadcasts than others."
[The Official Gerry Anderson Website]

"Some people probably think I compile lists of recording dates for sitcoms in lieu of having anything interesting to say about them. These people are entirely correct.  Nonetheless, as I’ve just had a delightful time watching the whole run on iPlayer, let’s take a look at Series 1 of Andrew Marshall’s brilliant 2point4 children."
[Dirty Feed]


From Blondie to Lulu: The songs the BBC banned during the Gulf War
"When the Gulf War broke out in 1991, the BBC acted with responsibility."
[Far Out Magazine]

"This has been another testing year, filled with change and challenge for the BBC. But what is more significant for our millions of viewers and listeners, both in the UK and around the world, is that it has also been another year of programme achievement."
[World Radio History]