When November 2023 rolls around, fans of BBC Doctor Who will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the long-running series in a big way. Returning/new showrunner Russell T Davies offers us the returns from David Tenant (also our fourteenth doctor) & Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) and on-screen introductions of the new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa (our fifteenth doctor) and Millie Gibson (new companion Ruby Sunday) in a three-episode event is also intended to serve as a bridge to the new series. And this is where it gets a little complicated…possible. Because after looking at our calendars, we realized something that a lot of other people also realize. In honor of the 60th anniversary, the first episode would be scheduled to air Thursday, November 23, 2023 — which also happens to be Thanksgiving in the US. You might think that this isn’t a big problem because in the past in the UK the episode/special has aired at normal time (usually 7pm ET) and either at the same time, around 2pm ET (with a re-broadcast later in the day). But that was BBC America Days… and Disney isn’t BBC America.
At the end of October we learned that The Mouse would be the exclusive home of new Who outside the UK and Ireland from November 2023. And since then there have been rumors that Disney would also be an active investor in the series and may have some say in how the series works. If that’s the case, Disney will try to maximize its investments as much as possible. With that in mind, hosting the 60th anniversary in the middle of Thanksgiving Day in the US is one hell of a challenge considering more and more streamers are looking to flex their muscles when it comes to live streaming numbers. The special would be to compete with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, dog shows, soccer, family dinners and a whole host of other obstacles. Sure, Disney could make hell out of this for months because nobody does PR like The Mouse does. Yet these obstacles remain.
Could the broadcast time be adjusted? Sure, when Disney wants to be portrayed as the “big bad” by a bunch of Brits with their torches and pitchforks trying to catch “The Mouse” in the town square. I can already imagine how ugly social media would get and create a PR nightmare of David & Goliath that Disney doesn’t really need right now. Of course, if “The Mouse” plays the long game when it comes to that Doctor Who since they care more about the streaming numbers “empty” days, then there’s no problem and it should be full steam ahead. But still, something that keeps rumbling in the back of our minds.