The TARDIS doors swing open wide as BBC iPlayer introduces the largest collection of Doctor Who to the platform, offering hundreds of episodes with a range of accessibility features for the first time.
Prior to the Anniversary Specials gracing our screens, viewers will have the chance to journey through time with any of the Doctors across the show’s 60-year history in the classic series. They can also explore the expansive world of Doctor Who through spin-offs like the Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood, and Class, or venture behind the scenes with every episode of Doctor Who Confidential – all conveniently available in one place on BBC iPlayer.
As the perfect companion to the back catalogue, the BBC will simultaneously unveil an extensive online archive from the show’s history at bbc.co.uk/doctorwho. This archive will encompass everything from cast interviews to written materials, long-forgotten audio, and behind-the-scenes photographs. Together, these pieces will narrate the tale of this groundbreaking series through 60 archival treasures for its 60th anniversary.
The archive invites fans to delve even further into the show with curated journeys, such as the genesis of Doctor Who, where audio from former Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, alongside documents with his original handwritten notes, will guide you through the origins of Doctor Who.
BBC iPlayer’s back catalogue and the online archive will launch on 1st November, just before David Tennant reprises his role as the Fourteenth Doctor for three special 60th anniversary episodes.
Episodes from Doctor Who’s extensive back catalogue of classic programmes will join the post-2005 revival of the show, now available for fans to watch on iPlayer for the first time. This enables them to revisit the Doctor’s formative adventures and some of the series’ greatest moments. This includes the First Doctor William Hartnell’s initial encounter with the Daleks, the first episodes made for colour TV with the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, and fan favourites from the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker’s iconic run, including “City of Death” and “The Brain of Morbius”. Also included is the 1996 TV movie with Paul McGann, featuring his takeover from the Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy.
Every episode available on iPlayer from the back catalogue will be equipped with multiple accessibility options, including subtitles, audio description, and sign language.
With over 800 episodes of Doctor Who programming on iPlayer, Showrunner Russell T Davies stated: “I’d like to thank the BBC for all the hard work, to get this massive back catalogue under one roof, at long last. I’m so excited for new viewers – imagine being 8 years old, spending winter afternoons exploring the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. And we’re determined this won’t be a dusty museum – we have exciting plans to bring the back catalogue to life, with much more to be revealed!”
Dan McGolpin, Director of iPlayer and channels, said: “Doctor Who has captivated countless millions of viewers on the BBC for 60 years and in celebration of this special moment we are bringing classic series to BBC iPlayer for the first time. Fans will be able to enjoy many of the Doctor’s earliest adventures with William Hartnell right through to the very latest series and the soon to be released and tremendously exciting new anniversary specials with David Tennant. We want everyone to be able to enjoy this breath-taking back catalogue, so we are making each episode on iPlayer as accessible as possible, with subtitles, audio description, and sign language all available for the first time.”
The new online archive will launch at bbc.co.uk/doctorwho, so fans of the show can delve deeper into Doctor Who’s history than ever before.
In its initial stages, this new site will offer curated journeys through the archive to vividly portray the show’s extensive history for fans – with items like interviews with cast members, news pieces, audio, imagery, and written documents.
Over time, additional content will be added to the archive, including a special collection of photos that have been scanned at 8k resolution from an estimated total of 25,000 prints, negatives, slides and digital images, providing an unprecedented insight into the show with access to all areas throughout the years.
The expanded archive will also feature additional gems from over 100,000 documents, including memos, correspondence, designs, and audience research, alongside orchestral scores of sheet music.
Also being added is a selection of audio clips about Doctor Who, including radio programmes, documentaries, interviews, and music.