Unfortunately, a situation now exists where fans of Classic Doctor Who, are currently being seriously short-changed on ways to legally watch old episodes.
Following the recent announcement that new BBC/ITV/CH4 joint streaming Service Britbox, has launched to rather muted fare; one of it’s major advertised draws – is that it will feature approx. 600 episodes – of the Classic series of Doctor Who.
Britbox unfortunately, has not set the steaming market on fire suffers from a lack of new content to justify the subscription cost. It is, effectively a collection of old shows and series only.
Price-wise – it costs almost as much, as Netflix and we used to receive a similar repeats channel for years – in the UK called ‘UK Gold’ channel. Arguably, UK residents have already paid for their TV licence for Doctor Who – and are now being asked to pay again [which is a whole other article!].
Back to watching classic Doctor Who. It is possible, to sign-up for Britbox – for a free month’s trial and then binge watch all of their Who content; before cancelling. However, like Amazon Prime, you run the risk of falling into subscription costs – if you don’t effect a cancellation in time. Or running out of time – if the trial ends, before you get the catalogue watched.
In terms of physical media, the DVD range is still available – at a reasonably cheap price but that still means – a substanial cash-outlay to collect them all. Even if you hunt around the second-hand market, it would still be a substanial cash-outlay.
The Blu-ray situation is even more depressing (aside from the original Blu-ray release – Spearhead From Space), with the BBC (contemptably) only releasing a limited number of the new season HD remasters; (presumably to create hype). This has had the effect of making their resale value spike and they are now being listed on reseller sites for 100’s of pounds/dollars!
Some streaming services (especially U.S. based ones such as HULU), still feature a limited supply of Classic Who episodes but choice is limited and varies with different services. American Netflix also used to have a small library but that has since been removed. However, since Britbox launched, BBC have begun actively removing them from other competitive streaming services, to create some demand.
Outside of this, one of the other major (available) sources of Classic Doctor Who is illegal streaming/rips – on the internet. Kodi, type applications, rips on video streaming websites and torrenting remain options. Youtube obviously copyright blocks illegal uploaded content but Youtube’s lesser known compatriot; Dailymotion website – features (nearly) all of the classic available episodes and recreations of missing ones; as DVD rips.
In our episodes section, we have just finished linking each of our serial reviews – to the 1st (or 2nd) episode (where available) and being hosted on Dailymotion.
The first episode of the Three Doctors on Dailymotion :
Our episodes section can be found here (or on the menu link above) if a specific episode (or serial) is desired. The Dailymotion link, is at the bottom of each of the articles.
We here at Old Doctor Who, do not wish to openly condone the illegal streaming/watching of Classic Doctor Who. The current situation of the lack of availability of Doctor Who – is untenable and of the BBC’s own making. In an attempt to push their old-hat streaming service and maximise their bottom-line.
Ultimately, it is up to you (as the consumer) how you choose to watch it and whether you choose to subscribe to Britbox, buy DVDs/Blu-rays/illegal streaming, etc.
Geographic limitations come into play too, where something like Britbox might offer some value for money (although the fact that you may have previously received it via another service – such as HULU and it has now been removed – makes the above argument redundant).
Given how in the UK – at least, we pay for an ongoing TV licence (the licence requirement is being reviewed by the government at the moment) to watch BBC – and now they want us to pay again for Britbox. The decision here – to persue less legal methods, is more one of rejection of paying twice – for Classic Doctor Who.