In 2005, the BBC relaunched its classic sci-fi series Doctor Who under showrunner Russell T. Davies. Looking back, Davies thinks he may have been ahead of the times in trying to build a shared universe around the series, and he wonders why the BBC hasn't pushed that idea further since he left. Under Davies, the BBC launched two Doctor Who spinoffs for two different audiences. Torchwood catered to viewers with more mature tastes, while The Sarah Jane Chronicles was for children. It's similar to how Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek have pursued expanding their respective franchises for the streaming television era. "I was in the middle of running an empire," Davies tells Radio Times as he reflects on his time with Doctor Who. "And my god I did that 10 years too soon, didn't I?"
Davies paid attention to all those Marvel and Star Wars projects that Disney announced during its investor day in December, which included movies, live-action television series, and miniseries as well as cartoons. Davies thinks Doctor Who should be operating on the same scale.
"There should be a Doctor Who channel now," he says. "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."
Those kinds of series led by past Doctor Who stars or focusing on supporting character have been the domain of Big Finish Productions' audio dramas, making the proposition of them coming to television seem unlikely. Davies points to Star Trek's recent expansion as evidence that anything is possible.
"You laugh, but did Star Trek fans ever think they'd be getting a Captain Pike series? Ever? That's insane," he says. "The whole science fiction world is so creative and so money making right now, I think your wildest dreams can come true."
The BBC did try one more Doctor Who spinoff after Davies left, the series Class during Peter Capaldi's run as the Doctor. It didn't last past its first season.
Do you think Doctor Who could become a rival to Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Doctor Who is currently filming its 13th season, which the BBC intends to debut sometime in 2021.