‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary to Be Simulcast Across the Globe [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by

doctor who matt smith david tennant Doctor Who 50th Anniversary to Be Simulcast Across the Globe [Updated]

[UPDATE: BBC America has released a statement about the forthcoming simulcast. Scroll for details.]

It’s a known predicament for the US based fans of UK based properties: the waiting game, be it hours, days, or even more than a month before you can see the same episode that the folks across the pond get to watch when it premiered. Doctor Who fans don’t usually have to wait too long, but when there is a huge episode like the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special, every second counts.

Thankfully, the BBC has recognized this and are working to ensure that the special will air simultaneously across the world.

Here’s a bit from a statement by the BBC (notice how they don’t even mention the Archangel Network):

“It’s always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international ‘Doctor Who’ fans can enjoy the 50th Anniversary special at the same time as the UK. We’ll have more details soon about our very exciting global plans for November.”

Now, while this will be a treat for fans, it won’t necessarily be a convenient one, because we don’t know what time the episode will air. Logic dictates that a prime time broadcast in the UK is likely, and that would mean an afternoon broadcast in the US and an even earlier broadcast in other parts of the world. Luckily, November 23rd is a Saturday, so global productivity shouldn’t decline too much. The BBC is expecting record-shattering numbers, airing the special in as many as 200 countries for approximately 100 million people who won’t have to live in fear of twitter spoilers.

doctor who 50 anniversary trailer Doctor Who 50th Anniversary to Be Simulcast Across the Globe [Updated]

Another thing fans don’t have to fear? Overexposure. Steven Moffat always keeps things close to the vest, but for the 50th, he’s surely going to kick things into high gear.

We already know that he threatened to wash away the chance of any future Doctor Who San Diego Comic Con exclusives should the special trailer screened at the con make its way onto the Internet, and it doesn’t seem likely that the BBC is going to nullify the point of those words anytime soon by releasing it themselves.

That doesn’t mean that at some point we won’t see some kind of trailer, but it isn’t likely going to do anything more than break off the tiniest sliver of a morsel of a detail, and for once, that might be okay.

A deluge of spoilers and teasers are the norm now, but for an event such as this that will play out on a global scale, do we really need to be lured in anymore than we already are? Besides that, isn’t it a bit of a throwback to an earlier era when we would all plop down in front of the TV without a shred of inside information or a clue as to what we were about to witness?

doctor who season 7 episode 8 ice warrior Doctor Who 50th Anniversary to Be Simulcast Across the Globe [Updated]

There’s a forgotten virtue in not knowing everything. Sure, this information helps us all make informed decisions about what to commit ourselves to watching in a crowded field, but sometimes gathering up too much of it can seem like sitting too close to the TV to get a better look, in turn warping our perspective and ruining the potentially ruining the experience.

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special may be awesome and it may be garbage, but it seems likely that it’ll be a complete surprise. There’s just something extremely neat and very Doctor Who-y about witnessing this event at the same time as the rest of the world and sharing the experience together.

UPDATE: BBC America has sent out a press release pertaining to the Doctor Who simulcast and 3D theater screenings in the US. You can read a portion of it below:

New York – October 1, 2013 – Announced today, BBC AMERICA will simulcast the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, in the U.S. on November 23, 2013. For the first time ever, the world’s longest running and most successful sci-fi series will be broadcast simultaneously to millions of viewers worldwide in a global simulcast.

From the U.S. to the UK, Canada to Colombia, Brazil to Botswana and Myanmar to Mexico, fans in at least 75 countries spanning six continents will be able to enjoy the episode at the same time as the UK, with more countries expected to be confirmed within the next month. The one-off special stars Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor), Jenna Coleman (companion Clara), David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) with Billie Piper and John Hurt.

In addition, BBC AMERICA will be dedicating an entire week to Doctor Who in November, including the new film An Adventure in Space and Time, marathons and new specials to be announced.

On top of the worldwide TV broadcast, BBC AMERICA will announce in the coming weeks details of select 3D screenings of the anniversary episode in theaters in the U.S.


The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special will air all over the world on November 23rd, 2013.

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. There’s a forgotten virtue in not knowing everything. Sure, this information helps us all make informed decisions about what to commit ourselves to watching in a crowded field, but sometimes gathering up too much of it can seem like sitting too close to the TV to get a better look, in turn warping our perspective and ruining the potentially ruining the experience.

  2. I don’t believe this is confirmed. There’s no mention of this on the BBC News website (which is usually all over Doctor Who news), and was actually rumoured instead by The Sun (a British Tabloid) about a week ago. Despite all of that, Doctor Who is only given to around 50 countries in the world, and there are only 196 in existence, so these proposals of approximately given to 200 (and some other website claim more than that!) are outlandish.

  3. Even if this were somehow true, I get the horrible feeling it’d be on some pay-per-view channel anyway.

  4. Old news!

    First the yanks get the trailer (at least first) and we Brits don’t, and then we don’t even get the actual show first!!!

    What is going on?!

    I am joking of course, though I do hope that the show doesn’t go to much down international pastures, even if it is for more money/cgi, which is not what DW is about.

    I do miss the days when Ecclestone and Tennant were carrying the torch and not that many American’s new about it, and it seemed like a very ‘UK in the know’ thing. Seemed more special back then. Now it just seems like another thing to not shut up about now American’s like it and it’s a big cluster of hype and gossip. We used to be in awe when it was good and laugh in good nature when it was terrible, and it was always many things in one series. Now it seems, it’s just one thing, and that’s plots of ‘secrets but no answers’.

    I would genuinely like the show to take a time out, then get rebooted once again in a few years. Smith is my favourite Doctor. Moffatt I do like, as a stand alone writer, not show runner. However there is something different about it, and it’s not just some revamp, but I can’t quite peg what it is. I am not making sense, but I hope someone knows what I mean? It’s like the show is slipping away from what it is and is evolving into something it isn’t supposed to be. Writing that tries to be too smart (and mostly fails), and not many creative avenues explored but always some rehash with recurring (let’s be honest, fail, half arsed) characters like River and the Silurian, her girlfriend, and Strax.

    Shame really. Sorry if I sound like I am blasting America hehe, I am not the best at wording an opinion! I still like you all. Well most of you. Well some of you.

    • Racist much?

      • I apologise if I offended you, it was not my intention and my comment was poorly worded.

    • Hey George, I started watching soon after the reboot began, having heard these mythic tales of this wonderful British sci-fi show that was impossible to find in my home country of Mexico, and since I wasn’t born on your tiny island nation, I wasn’t lucky enough to experience firsthand. Soon thereafter the BBC started releasing the DVDs here, which was unheard of at the time for a British show. And when it started airing here, we were sometimes years behind you folks and the U.S. And most of the yanks I know first met the Fourth Doctor when the show was broadcast there starting in the 70s and 80s, so stop acting like the show was only British in the last few years and then went global.

      From the moment “Rose” first aired, Doctor Who became a worldwide phenomenon, a shining example of something special that could now be shared by everyone everywhere. One of the First Doctor’s earliest adventures, “The Aztecs” took place (and was a surprisingly un-stereotypical and true to the facts take for being made in 1963) in Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, where I write this from, so it can be argued that the show was ALWAYS meant to reach a global audience. In the last few years alone, it’s filmed in Spain, New York, and Utah giving it a scope and realism necessary for modern audiences to suspend disbelief, since the rock quarries that were the setting of so many early Doctor adventures just wouldn’t cut it today. And if you think the show has become about CG and “that’s not what DW is about”, then I venture to say YOU don’t know what DW is about. The low budget Eccleston year is charming and showed the talent of those making it to do the most with the least, but planets in the sky, or all the lights in the universe going out, or Demon’s Run when a good man goes to war would not have been as exciting or as awe- and imagination-inspiring as they were if the Doctor’s popularity didn’t give the Beeb the resources to do the ideas justice and compete with ANY Yank film or TV show. It also opened the world to seeing what else you Brits had in store for us, showing us there were alternatives to U.S. made entertainment and exposed millions to the talents behind Rome, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and the like.

      So spare me your “British Pride” and “only in the UK” attitude, the very IDEA of the Doctor is global (and galactic) in scale. Don’t like where the show is going now? Then write the BBC, it IS a public British corporation and you’re a British citizen so your opinion will carry more weight than mine or any yank’s would. And while we may agree that Moffat is a better writer than showrunner, we (strongly) disagree that international is not the way to go for the show. If it’s success allows for more things like I, Claudius, Jekyll, Rome, unbiased documentaries, and even Torchwood to be made and seen everywhere on this planet, then humanity wins.

      You should be PROUD that, if this story is true, Doctor Who will be the first television series in history to be shown everywhere at once; the technology has been around for years, but until now, the will to do so has not.

      Over 500 years ago, the greatest queen and writer who ever lived allowed your amazing little island’s culture to become arguably the greatest cultural influence this planet has ever seen, and despite the sins of the British Empire, the soul of the British culture has improved humanity everywhere and forever. So go back to the 16th century, we’ll be here in 3rd millenium when you decide to join us.

      • Your condescending writing and dicky attitude aside, you’re pretty much right. To an extent, I do apologise and retract some of my British related comments regarding the show.

        It’s not that I don’t like the show being filmed in other places, with other people from other countries, per say, but it’s just in my opinion, the story suffers because of this with what we have so far. The Statue of Liberty being a weeping Angel? An American Astronaut suit lingering under lake Silencio with River inside? It’s too much, I think. The show, for anything other than amazing scenery, does not benefit from being filmed in these places in terms of story and just for me personally, retracts from what I love about the show.

        It used to be small English streets, and our small towns and cities that gifted stories with much better scope, potential, and delivery, and I just think it suited the tone of the series more. It used to be little town British characters with more depth and emotion, and the recent American characters are typical politicians/cowboy’s/secret agents/action hero’s, like every other American Sci-Fi show.

        They used a single church in England for most of an episode, with black winged beasts trying to get in that eat a major character, not even a series finale. They used a single English old mansion where stone angels spring to life when you’re not looking at them. They did a series finale of series 2 that took place in a single British tower. The stories were always better this way in these environments, for me. There was more attention and detail to the narrative, and I just think this method served the show better.

        Another example involving scenery. In ‘Rose’, the Doctor stands near the London eye, and they use that landmark to help serve the story as a huge relay dish for the alien villain. Where as in the Angel’s take Manhattan, the Doctor strolls around Central Park because it’s Central Park. Do you see what I mean? Torchwood: Miracle Day literally suffered entirely because of this, for me. And now that there IS a lot of American involvement, and you guys are getting trailers for the 50th Anniversary far in advance (yes I know SDCC is not Americans only), I guess I just feel like the show is slowly slipping away from what it was. I guess it should to a degree, but it’s losing it’s themes and it’s tones for me.

        America is an amazing place, with amazing people, don’t get me wrong, I have been to New York myself and it is literally my favourite place on Earth. But that’s the thing that niggles me a bit. Hey guy’s look, American stuff, and let’s just forget about stories with fright and a gut punch!

        Now if they could use other places correctly, I’d be all on board. Story first, scenery last. But I don’t know, the show just seems to be morphing into many other sci-fi shows of, ‘Hey look at this and story second’. Only one American based episode has really done it for me, and that is the one with the Daleks in Manhattan. Again, using landmarks for plot devices, in this case the Empire State. USING what is there.

        There isn’t much you can do with barren desert landscapes. Although I will say I liked the Oval office and the whole Nixon arch, and that Town Called Mercy, if the plots for me personally were a little lame.

        I do retract most of my other comment though. It’s writing, not the scenery itself.

    • Sounds like you are blaming Americans for the show’s slide – and I get it but do not agree. I am American; my Dr is tom baker. I remember watching him on Pbs 30 plus years ago. The campy early episodes were special; I just finished watching every available episode for 1 through 7. You are right about the series now as it seems hollow. The effects and acting are loads better but it has gotten empty. I think that this decline reflects an internal problem. Easy to point at an increased popularity here as a cause but we are as much victum as you are. Enjoy 50!

  5. and a pity they were perfect together
    river and the eleventh doctor a couple breathtaking
    we would have views of the beautiful
    with two brilliant minds so
    river and the doctor thinks for a bit if they had children
    of children with a higher than normal intelligence
    would have been even greater than their rocking
    I wish that Steven Moffat took all this into consideration
    we’ll see
    you never know he is so unpredictable

    it would be fantastic
    I will not even
    that this pair
    river and the doctor to separate

    river and the eleventh doctor
    to imitate a pair ready to give our lives for one another
    for me this is true love

  6. it would be really wonderful if the next companion of the Doctor was just his wife river song at least a lot of fans would not be disappointed
    and the one that most want not disappoint us Moffat would be a shame if I decide not accognere our demands and expectations Well you can always improvise saving unexpected the doctor’s wife many would be happy
    then saw that triggered the twelfth hour and if I’m not mistaken would be the last the life of the doctor would be a nice happy ending

  7. What aspects Moffat run to save the teacher River Song in that library

  8. We do not want you to go doctor is still with us
    together with Professor River Song
    a pair breathtaking

  9. the only solution would be that in fact the Professor River Song
    not really dead but just in a pharmacological coma
    and why you can get in touch with the doctor
    by moffat not make me beg
    would be a nice Christmas gift
    For Christmas Is You do what you can not ever do

  10. I would really like between the eleventh Doctor and River Song
    happen as the tenth doctor and rose tyler that can grow old together
    and maybe start a family and this would be the reward for so much suffering
    I know I’m a sentimentalist but I like stories with a happy ending

  11. Well, I’ve watched every episode if Who I could get my eyes on. I don’t think the show has “slid” at all. It has changed. It has evolved. It’s been through many peaks and troughs. And different periods appealed to different people. I expect that to continue with Peter Capaldi. Are we headed for a peak or a trough? Who knows? But I do expect that the show will be quite different from what we have now.

  12. So what about those of us who can’t get BBC America? We are left to pirating? How about some way to watch online?