BBC | The broadcasting corporation’s end is “undoubtedly on its way” says Russell T Davies

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Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies foresees a gloomy future for the BBC, saying its end is “undoubtedly on its way”.

Russell T Davies knows a thing or two about the inner workings of the BBC, given that he’s worked at the corporation since the start of his career in the mid-1980s (he worked on the kids’ TV show Why Don’t You?, pub trivia fans).

Now the showrunner on Doctor Who, Davies has some gloomy thoughts to share on the future of the BBC. Talking on the podcast They Like To Watch (as picked up by Deadline), Davies talked about the need to make the latest series of Doctor Who a co-production with Disney+, and added that such a deal was necessary in order to secure the show’s long-term future. The reason being that the BBC itself may be reaching the end of its life.

“I had already said in interviews that I think Doctor Who will have to become a co-pro [co-production], there’s no way the BBC is going to fund that,” Davies said. “You’ve also got to look in the long term at the end of the BBC, which is somehow, surely, undoubtedly on its way in some shape or form. What is Doctor Who going to do then? You have to prepare for that.”

Read more: Doctor Who in the 1960s | The William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton years

Both the BBC and Doctor Who have celebrated significant milestones in recent years: the BBC’s centenary landed on the 17th October 1922 while Doctor Who reached its 60th anniversary last year.

Recent years have, however, seen the British Broadcasting Corporation’s future come under competitive pressure from rival streaming giants, and there are now questions being asked about the viability of the licence fee, which is as old as the BBC itself. The BBC’s director general Tim Davie has pledged to “secure the future” of the corporation as a decline in licence fee payments and government cuts have eaten into the BBC’s income.

The licence fee is up for renewal in 2027, and there have been investigations into what might replace it if it’s scrapped altogether; what these might be isn’t currently clear.

Doctor Who’s latest series, starring Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson, will begin streaming on BBC iPlayer from the 11th May.

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