Doctor Who age rating: Is the show appropriate for kids?

Doctor Who is coming to Disney+ but is the sci-fi show too scary for younger viewers?
Doctor Who. Credit: BBC Studios
Doctor Who. Credit: BBC Studios /

Doctor Who is kicking off a new season on Disney+! But does the new home mean the show is age-appropriate for kids?

It's hard to remember, but when Doctor Who debuted in 1963, it was intended to be a kid's show. It was a fun setup as teachers Ian and Barbara tracked down quirky student Susan and met her supposed grandfather (Willaim Hartnell). They're stunned to find the pair live in a police box that's massive on the inside. The man is the Doctor, a time-traveling alien who whisks the pair on adventures across time and space. The show's early seasons did play on educational elements of history and some life lessons. 

As the show went on, that faded a bit for more pure adventure and sci-fi fun. It also could be pretty dark with species like the Daleks, the Cybermen, and others along with some outright scary episodes. The only thing mitigating it was the frankly cheap special effects neutering the horror. When the show was revived in 2005, the horror aspects were bigger, such as "Blink" which introduced the terrifying Weeping Angels. Other storylines played on nightmarish scenarios and the upgraded CGI effects made it harsher. 

This leads to the new season of the show with the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and companion Ruby (Millie Gibson) heading on a fresh wave of adventures. So is this appropriate for younger viewers?

Doctor Who on Disney+ is rated TV-PG

The vast majority of Doctor Who is classified as PG by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to make it safe for kids, although some episodes are rated "12," meaning not appropriate for kids under 12. On Disney+, the show is rated TV-PG. This season seems to play more on fantasy elements than the sci-fi of the show's past. So far, it looks pretty upbeat with Gatwa's performance as the new Doctor, yet it can utilize some scary situations in the various adventures. 

The Doctor ((Ncuti Gatwa) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023. /

TV-PG means "Parental Guidance Suggested," which generally means the content may be inappropriate for very young children, but as a general rule, most children should be okay.

The producers are coy about what story beats there are, so it's likely some scary stuff coming. The 60th anniversary specials already shown on Disney+ did have some intense moments, especially "Wild Blue Yonder" and "The Giggle." That may be a bit much for some viewers.

However, it should be noted that Doctor Who is always about hope and things working out so whatever rough stuff happens, it shouldn't be too intense. In many ways, it's not unlike a Disney movie with the scares balanced by beauty. 

Thus, Doctor Who can be good for most viewers. Some situations may be scary for younger types, but they can still enjoy the great adventures of the Doctor and his fun adventures for a new ride on the TARDIS.

Doctor Who streaming on Disney+.

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