Doctor Who Spinoff Series Reportedly In the Works

Details of a new Doctor Who spinoff have emerged. Deadline reports that the spinoff will focus on UNIT, the military science organization that has appeared sporadically in Doctor Who since 1968, most notably when it took on the Doctor (then in his third incarnation, played by Jon Pertwee) as a scientific advisor after the Time Lords exiled him to Earth. That era is also when the Doctor befriended the Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, one of UNIT's founders and father of Kate Stewart, the character said to lead the spinoff, played by Jemma Redgrave. Redgrave is already reprising her role as Stewart, which she's played as a recurring guest star since 2012, in Doctor Who Season 14, with some reports suggesting she'll be back as early as this year's Christmas special.

Returning showrunner Russell T. Davies has not been shy about his desire to see Doctor Who become a franchise in the mold of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The BBC's new international streaming deal with Disney+ might give the show the extra exposure, not to mention extra funding, it needs to achieve Davies' vision. He previously enacted that philosophy during his original run show-running Doctor Who, when he rebooted the series in 2005 and developed the spinoffs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Chronicles.

"I was in the middle of running an empire," Davies explained to Radio Times in 2021. "And my god I did that 10 years too soon, didn't I?"

He continued, "There should be a Doctor Who channel now. You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think, we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series. Genuinely. You laugh, but did Star Trek fans ever think they'd be getting a Captain Pike series? Ever? That's insane. The whole science fiction world is so creative and so money making right now, I think your wildest dreams can come true."

When will Doctor Who return?

Doctor Who Season 14 will be the first new season of Doctor Who, following the anniversary specials, to stream globally on Disney+ as part of a new deal between Disney Branded Television and the BBC. Just days after Whittaker's farewell episode, the BBC and Disney announced a plan to "transform Doctor Who into a global franchise for UK audiences and the rest of the world." Rumor has it that Disney has some creative control over the franchise and wants to give Doctor Who a "Hollywood makeover." 

"I love this show, and this is the best of both worlds – with the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+ together we can launch the TARDIS all around the planet, reaching a new generation of fans while keeping our traditional home firmly on the BBC in the UK," Davies said in a press release. Doctor Who returns in 2023 for its 60th-anniversary specials ahead of 2024's Season 14. All seasons of modern Doctor Who are streaming now on HBO Max. Check out our guide to get caught up on Doctor Who.