Fewer Episodes With Bigger Budget? Doctor Who Showrunner Explains The Math

Fewer Episodes With Bigger Budget? Doctor Who Showrunner Explains The Math
Image credit: BBC

Russell T. Davies' focus seems to be on quality and expanding the Whoniverse.


  • Last year, Russell T. Davies revealed that future seasons of Doctor Who would consist of nine episodes, including a holiday special.
  • In the recent interview, he confirmed and addressed this information.
  • The showrunner explained that the cost of producing an episode has increased and it would be difficult to deliver more episodes.
  • However, he promised more Doctor Who content with new spin-offs.

It's been 13 months since we last saw the Doctor on screen, and right now the Whoniverse fandom is buzzing with excitement about the fast-approaching 60th Anniversary special episodes that will be landing every Saturday on BBC and Disney+ from November 25th to December 9th. But what comes after?

Season 14, which introduces Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, is set to debut with a holiday special on December 25th this year. The rest of the season will be released in 2024, but with a significant change that has frustrated many longtime fans.

Doctor Who Season 14 and beyond will have only 9 episodes each

Last year, showrunner Russell T. Davies revealed to Doctor Who Magazine that Season 14 would be eight episodes long, with an additional Christmas special. And he recently confirmed this in an interview with SFX Magazine.

For comparison, all of the seasons featuring the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors were 13 episodes long, the Twelfth Doctor appeared in three seasons of 12 episodes each, and the Thirteenth Doctor had two 10-episode seasons and one consisting of six episodes due to COVID-related production problems.

This means that all future Doctors starting with the Fifteenth (Ncuti Gatwa) will likely have less screen time than their predecessors, which doesn't sit well with fans.

At the same time, with the move to Disney+, Doctor Who's budget per episode has reportedly increased tenfold, which makes you wonder: why not just make more episodes?

Russell T. Davies weighs in

In a recent interview, the showrunner explained that even before Season 14, the series had been on a trend of releasing fewer episodes each year. The reason for this, according to the showrunner, is the increasing cost of production.

‘The numbers have gone down over the years, partly because it’s so expensive. I don’t think we could make more episodes a year,’ Davies told SFX Magazine (via The Direct).

It looks like the showrunner wants to focus on the quality over quantity approach. But nine episodes a year is not all that the fans are going to get, if Davies has his way.

With his return and the transition to a major streaming platform, the showmaker has promised to deliver more new Doctor Who content by expanding the Whoniverse with spin-offs.

‘It takes a while to get the empire in shape, but that's a serious plan: annual Doctor Who, no gap years, lots of content, on and on,’ he told Doctor Who Magazine, adding in the interview with SFX Magazine, ‘I think spin-offs will allow more episodes per year.’

Well, that sounds like a plan.

Sources: TV Zone UK, The Direct.

Given the choice, which would you pick?