DOCTOR WHO EXPANDS iPLAYER OFFERING WITH CLASSIC EPISODES AND ACCESSIBILITY
The TARDIS doors are being thrown wide open as BBC iPlayer welcomes the biggest collection of Doctor Who to the platform with hundreds of episodes becoming available with multiple accessibility features for the first time.
Before the Anniversary Specials hits screens, viewers will have the opportunity to travel back in time with any of the Doctors through the show’s 60 year history with the classic series, as well as explore the vast world of Doctor Who with spin-offs like the Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood and Class, or step behind-the-scenes with every episode of Doctor Who Confidential – all available in one place - BBC iPlayer.
BBC iPlayer’s back catalogue and the online archive will launch on 1st November before David Tennant returns 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, available for fans to watch on iPlayer for the first time, and enabling them to revisit the Doctor’s formative adventures and some of the series greatest moments.
This includes First Doctor William Hartnell’s first encounter with the Daleks, the first episodes made for colour TV with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, and fan favourites from 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 him taking over from Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy.
Every episode on iPlayer from the back catalogue will be available with multiple accessibility options, including subtitles, audio description, and sign language.
However, as previously reported, this back catalogue will not include Doctor Who's first ever story An Unearthly Child following a rights dispute with Stef Coburn, son of the story's writer Anthony Coburn.
The BBC said in a statement: "This massive iPlayer back catalogue will be home to over 800 hours of Doctor Who content, making it the biggest ever collection of Doctor Who programming in one place but will not include the first four episodes as we do not have all the rights to those."
With over 800 episodes of Doctor Who programming on iPlayer, Russell T Davies, Showrunner said: “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 beginning stages, this new site will feature curated journeys through the archive to bring the show’s extensive history to life for fans – with items like interviews with cast members, news pieces, audio, imagery, and written documents.
Over time, more 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 25,0000 prints, negatives, slides and digital images, which will give 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.