For nearly 60 years, with some big gaps, the BBC has been making new Doctor Who adventures. The sci-fi series about an alien Time Lord who battles evil throughout time and space in his ship called The TARDIS has been a British television institution. More recently, he has created a huge fanbase all over the world, including here in the United States. This article is designed to show American fans where to watch Doctor Who.
If you live in the UK, it’s easy. The classic era of the show is available to stream on Britbox UK, and the current version of the series can be streamed on BBC iPlayer. However, in the United States, there are several streaming services that you will need to visit to watch the show, and it will soon become even more complicated.
Where to watch Doctor Who – classic era
The series first launched on November 23, 1963 and ran for 26 seasons before being canceled by the BBC. The show had seven actors in the lead role during this period, each with their own personal style and character. In the US, the best way to watch this era of the show is on our country’s version of BritBox. You can stream most episodes from the show’s classic era (more on that “more” later) for the low price of $6.99 per month.
Britbox also offers Doctor Who-related extras, such as the two non-canon theatrical films, based on two TV stories beginning with the First Doctor. There’s also the K-9 and Company special (featuring two of the Doctor’s companions) and several specials that look at each of the actors who played the role during this era (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy). Finally, you can watch An Adventure In Space and Time, a more recent TV movie which is a docudrama about the making of Doctor Who in the early to mid-1960s.
You can sign up for the US version of BritBox at the link below. The streaming service also has a ton of other BBC and ITV TV shows, movies, and specials to check out, too.
BritBox is a streaming service formed by the BBC and ITV networks that offers UK-based TV shows, soap operas and more.
Can I watch classic Doctor Who for free?
In fact, you can. Several free streaming services include channels that show certain episodes of the classic Doctor Who that run 24/7. They include Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, and Samsung TV Plus. Keep in mind that these services have fewer episodes from that era to stream and you will have to deal with frequent ads, which is not a problem to watch the show on Britbox.
Where to Watch Doctor Who – The Eighth Doctor TV Movie
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Doctor Who was finally canceled after 26 seasons in 1989 due to low ratings. However, fans of the series continued to hope that it would be revived one day. They first thought that day came in 1996 when the BBC teamed up with the Fox network in the US to launch a TV movie, where the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, was featured. The plan was to launch a new series with McGann if viewers returned. While the UK ratings were strong, they weren’t as good in the US, so the show returned to limbo.
Unfortunately, due to licensing issues between the BBC and Fox, the TV movie starring the Eighth Doctor is not currently available to stream on any US service. It’s available to stream on BritBox UK, so if you can access a VPN service, you might be able to watch the film using that method. The only other alternative is to get a DVD or Blu-Ray player and buy the disc version of the movie through eBay or another site.
Where to watch Doctor Who – The Current Era
Fans of the series have never given up hope that Doctor Who will get a real revival as a television series. In 2005, it finally happened when the BBC launched a new Doctor Who series. It became an instant hit across the pond, and later the show got tons of other fans when it aired in the US and other parts of the world. The series originally aired on SyFy in the United States, before airing on BBC America’s cable network.
Currently, five actors have played the role in the current era of Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker) across 13 seasons and a number of specials. You can watch almost all of these episodes now in the US on HBO Max. You can also check out two Doctor Who spin-off series on the service: Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
HBO Max is your home for movies and TV shows made by Warner Bros like The Lord of the Rings, DC Comics superheroes, and more. It’s also the home of new and original movies and shows not available anywhere else.
There are a few exceptions. The final 90-minute special for the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, is titled The Power of the Doctor. It’s currently available to stream in the US, at least for now, exclusively on AMC Plus, where you’ll also find three “lost episodes” of the series. These shows, all featuring the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, were previously lost or partially available on video, but were supplemented with new animation that used the remaining audio tracks from those episodes.
AMC Plus provides ad-free, on-demand access to the library of shows and movies from the AMC Networks family of cable television and streaming services.
The Future – Doctor Who on Disney Plus
With the end of the 13th era of Doctor Who, another big change is coming for its American fans and, indeed, for most of the rest of the world. The BBC has announced that future episodes and specials of the series will stream exclusively on Disney Plus. This is a worldwide deal, except for the UK and Ireland, where the show will continue to air on the BBC.
The Disney Plus era will kick off in November 2023 with three specials to celebrate Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. These specials will feature David Tennant playing a version of his 10th Doctor character, but now as the 14th Doctor. The show will then make another quick change to the 15th Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, who will take on the role during the show’s annual holiday special in late 2023.
Disney Plus features thousands of TV episodes and movies from across Disney’s library, including its Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel shows and movies, plus exclusive TV series and movies.
For now, these older episodes, movies, and specials will continue to be available to stream on BritBox, AMC Plus, and HBO Max in the United States. The Disney Plus deal is for future episodes and specials of the series only.
No. Unlike Classic Era episodes, which can be viewed partially for free, Current Era episodes and specials are not available on any free streaming service.
While anything is possible, many episodes from the First and Second Doctor era are still missing and at this time no plans have been announced to complete them with animation.