One of British television’s most breakout series BBC’s “Doctor Who” is about to get an even bigger reception through the largest movie and TV audience on Earth -- China. The fantasy science fiction show chronicling the adventures of an alien shape-shifting “Time Lord” and his ever-changing roster of companions aboard the TARDIS time-space vehicle that looks outwardly like a retro British police box, has already been available through a number of Chinese digital platforms even as they disappear from American services like Netflix. However BBC Worldwide plans to grow its fan base even further in the People’s Republic by signing a landmark deal with one of its biggest multimedia conglomerates.

China gets all ‘Who’

On Thursday, May 25, BBC Worldwide announced that they have entered into an agreement with Shanghai Media Group Pictures, the movie-making arm of the Oriental Pearl Group under the larger Shanghai Media Group umbrella. This deal makes available to China for the first time, the British network’s TV serial catalog of their massive “Doctor Who” franchise. This is accompanied by a memorandum of understanding that the SMGP will do its utmost to expand the long-running show’s following within China.

The portions of the immense “Doctor Who” franchise being made available by BBC to the Shanghai Media Group are the main “Doctor Who” series developed by show-runners Russell T. Davies and Chris Moffatt, which has already run for about 10 seasons and four incarnations of the titular Doctor.

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The current actor, Peter Capaldi who plays the Twelfth Doctor, will retire from the role at the end of season 10. Also included in the package are two spinoff series – “Torchwood” and “Class” – featuring characters that first appeared in the main show. The agreement also makes provisions for the 11th season of “Doctor Who” to be run by Chris Chibnall in 2018, and with that, the prospective seasons 12 to 15.

‘Doctor Who’ Fever

As laid out in the memorandum of understanding between BBC and the Shanghai Media Group, the two partners will look at more opportunities for “Doctor Who” to expand its franchise in China, as well as allow for more expertise exchange between the two companies. This and the rest of the agreement were signed Wednesday, May 24 at the London headquarters of BBC Worldwide, between representatives of the new partners.

BBC Worldwide chief marketing officer Jaclyn-Lee Joe calls the deal the beginning of a long and fruitful alliance with the Shanghai Media Pictures Group, the better to take advantage of the established Chinese fans of “Doctor Who” that have been introduced to the series on locally based digital content providers like LeTV and the Shanghai Media Group’s own BesTV.