How to watch the Doctor Who holiday special

The Fifteenth Doctor is finally here — at least, for a one-off Christmas special.

After making an appearance in the third anniversary special through a bit of “bigeneration,” Ncuti Gatwa is at last stepping up to the plate as The Doctor. He’ll be joined by new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson), who lives a quiet life with her grandma and mom until The Doctor shows up. In “The Church on Ruby Road,” they’ll both come face to face with mysterious goblins, and have to riddle their way out of a Christmas adventure.

Though it’ll be a bit before the new season of Doctor Who premieres, we’ve been waiting an awfully long time to see Gatwa as The Doctor. So it’s understandable if we’re all excited to watch the Christmas special as soon as we possibly can — and here’s how.

How to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special on Disney Plus

As with the anniversary specials (and all Doctor Who seasons moving forward), Doctor Who will be streaming its Christmas episode on Disney Plus. That means we can probably expect the same sort of release schedule: Disney will be releasing the special concurrently with its broadcast in the U.K., meaning if you’re watching it on Disney Plus, the new specials will drop on Christmas at 9:55 a.m. PST/12:55 p.m. EST.

Can I watch the Christmas Doctor Who special on BBC?

Yup! You’ll be able to watch Doctor Who’s 2023 Christmas special on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer in the U.K. starting at 5:55 p.m. on December 25 (that’s Christmas).

What do I need to have watched beforehand?

As with the Doctor Who anniversary specials: Technically nothing — the franchise has been going for 60 years and counting, so there’s a lot of Who you could catch up on, but how could you even pick where to start?

But it’s probably helpful to have at least watched the anniversary specials, particularly the last one, “The Giggle,” which features the handoff between David Tennant’s Tenth/Fourteenth Doctor and Gatwa’s Fifteenth. Suffice it to say, Gatwa’s Doctor gets introduced in an unorthodox (and, frankly, less than stellar) way, which will no doubt be a bit of backstory for the special. Plus it’s just fun to get a sense of what Gatwa is bringing to the role already — he’s a star!

[embedded content]

If you do want to revisit any older Doctor Who, you’ll want to check out the Russell T. Davies section, as he’s the new (returning) showrunner; so you’re looking for series 1 through series 5. Those won’t be viewable on Disney Plus, though, only Max.

Is there a trailer so I can watch Ncuti Gatwa already?

There is! Here’s an early Christmas present, ya rascal:

[embedded content]

And here’s a special look at his new Sonic Screwdriver:

[embedded content]