At a Glance:
- Doctor Who ended the eras of both Chris Chibnall as series showrunner and Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor in 2022 with “The Power of the Doctor,” bringing to a close a three-season, three-special run.
- Whittaker’s replacement is returning star David Tennant. He will play the official 14th incarnation of the Doctor under returning showrunner Russell T. Davies, who revived Doctor Who in 2005 and managed the series until 2009.
- Tennant will appear in three specials in November 2023 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who on November 23.
- He’ll be joined by returning characters Donna Noble and Wilfred Mott, who were played by Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins in season four of Doctor Who. Neil Patrick Harris will play a new villain, while Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney will play a character named Rose.
- Tennant will be succeeded by Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor. His announcement in May 2022 makes him the first Black male actor to play the character on-screen.
- Gatwa will star in Doctor Who’s 14th season, set to air some time in 2024.
- Millie Gibson will co-star as the 15th Doctor’s companion.
- Doctor Who’s beloved tradition of doing a Christmas Special—no more New Year’s Day Specials, in other words—will return in 2023, with another confirmed for 2024.
- Comedian Sooz Kempner will star in Doom’s Day, a new transmedia Doctor Who campaign tied into the anniversary. She’ll play Doom, the titular intergalactic assassin, who has found herself hunted by Death itself—and must use a purloined vortex manipulator with a day’s worth of time-jumping charge to find the Doctor and save herself.
This post was last updated 5/2/23.
What’s Been Going on in Doctor Who?
Three Doctor Who specials aired out the last days of Jodie Whittaker’s time as the Doctor in 2022. “Eve of the Daleks” saw the Doctor and her companions Dan (introduced in the prior 13th season, known as Doctor Who: Flux) and Yaz facing the titular iconic monsters in a time loop paradox. “Legend of the Sea Devils” revived the classic ‘70s monsters for a new adventure, while “Power of the Doctor” saw the 13th Doctor face off against the Master in an adventure that ultimately saw her mortally wounded, returning her companions to contemporary Earth while she regenerated into a new body.
Why Is David Tennant the Doctor Again? Is David Tennant Playing the 10th Doctor?
Whittaker regenerated not into previously announced new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa, but David Tennant, who played the official 10th incarnation of the Time Lord from Christmas 2005 to New Year’s Day 2010, before reprising the role for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” in 2013.
While this marks his first return on-screen in the series since then, Tennant will not be playing the 10th Doctor, but the official 14th incarnation—and the character will be aware that they are both using a familiar form and are a new entity. Aside from the fact that Tennant is arguably the most popular actor to take on the role, so bringing him back for the 60th anniversary makes sense, there’s plenty of reasons Doctor Who can come up with as to why the Doctor’s regenerative process decided to re-use an old identity, more of which you can read about here.
When Will Doctor Who Return in 2023?
Doctor Who will return for three special episodes in November 2023, set to air in celebration of the series’ 60th anniversary.
What Is Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Special About?
Aside from Tennant returning as the Doctor, he’ll be joined by former companions Donna Noble and Wilfred Mott, played by Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins (the actor’s last role prior to his passing in July 2022) in Doctor Who’s fourth season. Donna exited the series as a regular character after an adventure lead to her needing to have her memory wiped by the 10th Doctor, forgetting her time alongside him lest her mind face grievous harm, so just how Donna will play into the the story remains to be seen.
The Doctor and Donna will face a mysterious new adversary, played by Neil Patrick Harris, and will be joined in the specials by Yasmin Finney as a new character named Rose. How Finney’s Rose might connect to the other famous Rose of Doctor Who, Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler, also remains to be seen.
Is There a Trailer for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary?
The first premiered at the end of “The Power of the Doctor,” and you can watch it above. The second premiered in December and you can watch it here:
When Will Ncuti Gatwa Become the Doctor?
Gatwa is briefly seen in the trailer for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, so will presumably follow the long tradition of new Doctors appearing in the final moments of their predecessor’s last episodes to become the 15th Doctor. The BBC has announced that Gatwa will appear as the Doctor first “over the festive season” in 2023, before he takes over full-time in a new season of the show after that.
Is There a Doctor Who Season 14 Release Date?
There’s no current release date for season 14 of Doctor Who, but it is expected to be broadcast some time in 2024.
Where Is Doctor Who Streaming in the U.S. and UK?
Currently, the first 13 seasons of the revived Doctor Who are streaming on the BBC iPlayer in the UK; in the U.S., the revived series streams exclusively on HBO Max. In both countries, episodes from the classic era of the show are available through Britbox.
This will change in 2023, at least in the U.S. The BBC and Disney have announced that as part of a new deal, Doctor Who will stream exclusively worldwide on Disney+, except for in the UK and Ireland, where it will still stream on the BBC iPlayer and BBC One. It’s currently unknown if this will affect Doctor Who’s place on BBC America, where it currently airs in the U.S..
Does Disney Co-Own Doctor Who Now?
A report in the wake of the BBC/Disney announcement from British paper the Telegraph alleged that the deal will also see Disney contribute finances to help create the show, and while the series’ creative team will still hold control of the series primarily, the deal will allow Disney some level of say in the creative decisions for the series—as well as allowing access to talent or “cinematic production moments” previously inaccessible due to the BBC’s budget for the show.
None of this has been confirmed by the BBC, however. The announcement strictly focused on Disney’s acquisition of Doctor Who’s streaming rights, and did not mention any co-owning. The new era of the series will be made for the BBC by Bad Wolf Studios, created by former Doctor Who producer Julie Gardner and former BBC Controller of Fiction Jane Tranter—which is now owned by Sony Pictures Television, after the studio took a majority stake in Bad Wolf in December 2021. The series was previously made by BBC Studios directly.
In January, Davies did say that Doctor Who is now working with a bigger budget, telling GQ that Disney’s involvement came about as part of “the BBC’s notion to go for a streamer to invest in the show worldwide ... We’re not on the budget level with Star Wars and the Marvel shows, [but] it’s better than it was ... We’re not allowed to talk about budget... but it’s more than I’ve ever had to work with.”
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