This month BBC Worldwide announced in a press release on 25th May that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese broadcasting and production company Shanghai Media Group Pictures (SMG Pictures). In addition to the MOU, a content deal was signed that provided SMG Pictures the rights to the entire catalogue of Doctor Who including spin-offs, Torchwood and Class available for use on both broadcast channels and on-demand platforms all over China. The two companies will be working together to increase the Doctor Who fan base overseas.
Great news for Doctor Who fans in China but why is everyone on the net so excited? Well apart from the fact that the more Doctor Who is sold worldwide the more likely it is likely to continue despite being a bit less popular at home, there were a few lines in the PR that caught everyone’s eye.
The deal not only covers Showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat’s Series 1- 10, but also incoming Showrunner Chris Chibnall’s yet-to-film Series 11, as well as a first look for Series 12-15.
Series 12 to 15? Yes, that is what everyone is over the moon about. Series 12-15 are guaranteed!! Welllllll, not really. (To misquote a certain Tenth Doctor.) This is a memorandum of understanding. And while it all sound brilliant, MOU are non-binding legal agreements. That means if one side or another doesn’t follow through – ie there isn’t a series 12 to 15 — there are no penalties or protections. As they say, no harm, no foul.
So having SMG Pictures interested in Doctor Who distribution in China is great but we’ll still have to wait and see if there is series 12 to 15.
In the meantime, series 10 is stellar. We hope you are all enjoying it! We’ll just have to keep vigilant for more Doctor Who beyond series 11.
On a side note, Doctor Who TV was quick to the mark at finding the press release and getting the info out there. They are a great site and are asking for your support to help them keep running. So why not stop by their patron page and see what you can do to help. We have every sympathy and understand their issues completely. Good luck guys.