The Doctor is in. And streaming.
BritBox, the new streaming service from the BBC and ITV, announced Tuesday that it will be the exclusive U.S. streaming home of an extensive collection of classic episodes of Doctor Who. The new service, which streams several British TV series, will feature nearly every episode of the show in its first incarnation, from 1963 to 1989, known as Classic Who. The current BBC series, which kicked off in 2005 and stars Peter Capaldi as the 12th incarnation of the time-traveling alien Doctor, is known as New Who.
In all, BritBox will stream more than 550 of the show's episodes. Missing are 90 "lost" episodes and 20 more for which the service was unable to secure rights. "It will be the most comprehensive offering of Classic Who," says BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. "These (episodes) have been different places before (to stream), but never as many and never as comprehensively."
For viewers intimidated by the vast library, BritBox is offering curated playlists based on monsters or companions (the humans and aliens along for the ride with the Doctor). "We will make sure people are able to come in through a conduit," Sriraman says. For superfans, the service will soon offer audio portions of some of those "lost" episodes.
"You must give it a chance, because there's there's nothing quite like it," says Tom Baker, who played the fan-favorite fourth incarnation of the Doctor. He says he hopes streaming the classic episodes will get more young people into the show. "It's been going since 1963, so I have nothing but confidence that it will go on and on and on because it's good."
The classic Doctor Who episodes are available to stream now on BritBox, which costs $6.99 per month. Its other Anglophile-friendly offerings include Blackadder and Emmerdale.