With this 60th anniversary of Doctor Who approaching the BBC have announced that from 1st November, every available episode of Doctor Who, new and old, will be on there to stream. Disney+ will also have it…. however….
The first four episodes, “A Unearthly Child,” will not be included due to a rights issue. I did a little digging and it would appear that the estate of the writer Anthony Coburn are not happy with the offer made by the BBC and seem to harbour some il- will towards the BBC, holding them responsible for Coburn’s poor health and eventual death. No mention of their feelings about Disney hosting the episodes.
When the serial was made, it was commonplace for the writer to hold the copyright for the story elements they wrote. The estate also makes claim to the “Tardis” and their copyright and this is also being fought over.
Turns out there was a rights issue over the Daleks some years ago and apparently they did not feature in the show for a good while.
I guess it makes sense that studios wrap all the loose ends up into one big contract so this type of thing can’t happen.
I’m lucky enough to have purchased A Unearthly Child on DVD some years ago, apparently the episodes are going to become very difficult to find. YouTube and Amazon have removed them in the last few days.
So look forward to most of Doctor Who arriving on iPlayer next week.