It’s a nice time to be an Anglophile with the March launch of BritBox. For $6.99 a month, users have been privy to upwards of 2,000 hours of British programming through the streaming service, created in collaboration with BBC Worldwide and the UK commercial broadcaster, ITV.
With a diverse collection that ranges from the classic Ricky Gervais comedy “The Office” and long-running British soap “Emmerdale,” there was still a TARDIS-shaped hole in their programming. Lucky for loyal Whovians out there, one of the cornerstones of classic British television has come to BritBox. “Doctor Who” is coming to the platform with a full collection of Classic era episodes – that is, the episodes of “Doctor Who” which ran from 1963-1989.
With an upcoming new companion and the end of an era for the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), “Doctor Who” is approaching a transitory period — during which looking back at the early years of “Doctor Who” might be incredibly comforting.
Originally meant to be educational in its exploration of history and science, “Doctor Who” premiered in late 1963, with one plot serialized across four to six episodes. (This practice lessened to three to four episodes per serial in later years.) Ditching the educational element early on, “Doctor Who” flew into cult classic status, as it became a family show enjoyed by fans across the UK. BritBox president Soumya Sriraman said in a statement that thanks to this comprehensive catalog, American Whovians will have the opportunity to “either relive the exciting adventures with their favorite Classic Doctors, or experience for the first time how it all began.”
With the new release of these Classic “Who” episodes, there are so many different ways to approach the series and the order in which to watch them. Brush up on your favorite writers from past seasons, such as “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” author Douglas Adams during Four’s (Tom Baker) years, or appreciate New “Who’s” showrunner Russell T. Davies’s favorite Classic Who writer, the prolific Robert Holmes (known for his work on the iconic “Doctor Who” story “The Ark in Space”).
From favorite writers, to favorite Doctors, this wide array of methods to watch the full breadth of Classic “Who” might almost seem overwhelming. Especially when looking at the many conflicting theories on the best ways to watch it – from skipping straight to the beginning of the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), when “Doctor Who” has settled into its groove and is suddenly in color, to going straight to the 20th anniversary featuring the first five Doctors.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect to come from this curation of Classic “Doctor Who” episodes is the plan for BritBox to recreate what they can from the notorious lost episodes of Classic “Who.” (Through the accidental wiping of old tapes and poor curation of early episodes of “Doctor Who” in the ‘70s, 97 episodes of the 253 episodes from the first six years of “Doctor Who” are missing.)
BritBox will also offer specific playlists allowing you to sort episodes by monsters, companions, and more. Thus, the elements that made “Doctor Who” iconic, such as the Daleks, can be enjoyed chronologically, allowing the viewer with the chance to experience the show from a whole new perspective.
Check out the full catalog now at BritBox.