Doctor Who 60th anniversary TV panel is a no-go for San Diego

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The schedule for the 2023 San Diego Comic Con from Wednesday, 19 July 4pm to Sunday, 22 July, 4pm was released on Sunday, 9 July. The schedule contained no panel for the three Doctor Who anniversary specials to air in November 2023.

Three Doctor Who-related panels are on the schedule: a Doctor Who comics panel on Thursday, 20 July; a fan forum on Doctor Who on Friday, 21 July; and a discussion panel on actors who have played more than one role on Doctor Who.

In his Letter from the Showrunner column, in Doctor Who Magazine 590 released in April 2023, Showrunner Russell T Davies hinted that there could be a Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials panel at SDCC.

“When to release information? In what order? For you, I mean, faithful reader. The plan is, to keep a constant bristle of information, without giving the audience too much, but without them thinking we’ve vanished.

Because these are the tricky days, right now. We’ve had the initial rush of excitement, and come the summer, with Comic Con (maybe, perhaps, not a promise) and then the BBC’s autumn schedule, the heat will begin to intensify.”

On May 2, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) members officially authorized a strike. Any writers, including showrunners, on American shows were prevented by the strike action from participating in convention panels to promote their shows. Disney, the worldwide distributor of Doctor Who via Disney+, was forced to scrap plans for SDCC panels for their American shows.

While Doctor Who is not an American show with American writers, Davies stated his solidarity with the WGA at the London Screenwriters Everywhere protest on 14 June.

“I know that what happens in America happens here. These problems will be coming this way. It’s literally about solidarity with the people over there. Some of them are starving and are having to take second jobs to just work on shows. It’s wrong, it’s a fight, and I’m behind it.”

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in America is preparing for a possible strike as well with Actors Equity members in the UK expected to support its sister union.

Doctor Who fans believe there is hope yet for for a “bristle of information” this summer at Wimbledon.

Doctor Who will return in November 2023 with three 60th anniversary specials starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as companion Donna Noble. In the following festive period, Ncuti Gatwa will star in his first full Doctor Who episode as the Fifteenth Doctor. A new Doctor Who series starring Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson will debut in 2024.