Doctor Who wrapped up its thirteenth series (since the modern reboot, that is) with The Flux, a six-part storyline that turned time upside down, and brought back iconic villains such as the Sontarans and the Weeping Angels.
Season 13 was the final full season with Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor and showrunner Chris Chibnall’s last in charge. However, both have returned for a series of Specials across 2022. The first (Eve of the Daleks) took place on New Year’s Day, whilst the second, Legend of the Sea Devils, aired on Easter weekend.
Now, all eyes are turning to the final episode of 2022, which will serve as the last episode with Jodie Whittaker in the role of the Doctor. Here’s what we know about the next Doctor Who Special, and everything beyond that – including who will replace Jodie as the next Doctor.
When does the next Doctor Who Special air?
The third Doctor Who Special will air this October – this news was confirmed by Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s Chief Content Officer (reported by the Radio Times). The exact date and time is to be confirmed, but it is set to coincide with the celebration of the BBC’s Centenary.
The episode will be around 90 minutes in total.
Doctor Who: Centenary Special trailer
The teaser trailer for the final Special is here, and it looks packed full of action. We have appearances from the Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen – plus two old companions, Ace and Tegan. Watch it below:
Who is in the cast for the Doctor Who: Centenary Special?
In case you couldn’t guess, Jodie Whitaker is back for this Special. She’ll be joined by her trusty companions from Season 13 – Mandip Gill’s Yaz and the internet’s new favourite meme, John Bishop’s Dan.
Joining them will be Jacob Anderson as Vinder and Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, both last seen in The Flux. The gang will also get support from some classic Who companions: Sophie Aldred as Ace and Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka.
There are rumours that these aren’t the only old companions making a return. Bradley Walsh was spotted filming in late 2021, so we are expecting a cameo from Graham O’Brien.
Villains wise, Sacha Dhawan is confirmed to return as the Master.
What about the plot of the Centenary Special?
Executive producer Matt Strevens has teased that the final episode of Jodie’s run is “a massive, feature-length epic… with lots of surprises for fans of all ages”. We’re expecting a big showdown between the two Time Lords, and more information about the Timeless Child plot that was explored more in The Flux.
Here is the plot summary released by the BBC (though it doesn’t give too much away):
“Having faced many perilous journeys battling some of the most feared monsters throughout space and time, it’s the final instalment for the Thirteenth Doctor.
This epic blockbuster special will see the Doctor fight evil across the galaxy one last time but just who will she come up against in her final battle before the Doctor regenerates once more…”
It is likely that the Master will be teaming up with the Daleks and Cybermen to take down the Doctor and her crew. Shockingly, this is the first time that all three villains have appeared in the same episode. Ashad/Lone Cyberman (played by Patrick O’Kane) will also appear.
After the Doctor reciprocated feelings toward Yaz in Legend of the Sea Devils, we expect there to be more references towards this developing relationship. However, with Jodie’s run coming to an end, we’re expecting either a bittersweet or tragic ending.
Whilst you wait, you can always catch up on older episodes. The BBC’s added every single episode of the show since 2005 – including Eve of the Daleks – to the iPlayer streaming service. That means you get every episode from every Doctor from Christopher Eccleston to Jodie Whittaker, without paying a penny.
If you want to go even older, the classic show is now all on BritBox in its entirety – though it’s worth noting that you will have to pay to subscribe.
Who is the next Doctor and showrunner?
With Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall leaving, all eyes are turning to their successors.
The next full-time Doctor has now been confirmed to be Ncuti Gatwa. He is best known for his role as Eric Effiong on the hit Netflix series, Sex Education. He is making history as the first black male Doctor.
On the new role, Ncuti said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared.
“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same.”
Russell T Davies has been confirmed to return to the helm of the show just in time for the series’ 60th birthday. The showrunner originally brought back new Who with Chris Eccleston in the leading role until 2009, and then also led the show with David Tennant as the Doctor.
Bad Wolf will also be producing the series when Davies takes over:
In addition, David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be returning for an anniversary special. Filming started in May, and the episode is due to air in 2023. The official synopsis is as follows:
‘The Doctor and Donna parted ways when the Doctor had to wipe Donna’s memory, making her forget him, in order to save her life. He left her family with a warning: if ever she remembers, she will die. But with the two coming face to face once more, the big question is, just what brings the Doctor and Donna back together?’
Davies is being quite coy about how the old Doctor will fit in with the new Doctor’s story. It could be a dream, a parallel universe, a flashback or something else. We also don’t know if the anniversary special will be one episode or a short series.
Also joining the special will be Yasmin Finney as Rose, who is suspected to be Donna’s daughter. Fans also spotted Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott on set – Bernard has sadly passed away since then.
The Doctor and Donna will be facing off against Neil Patrick Harris in their special. Russel T Davies hasn’t confirmed who he will be playing, but that he will be the “greatest enemy ever faced”. It’s not known if this is a serious claim, or a more tongue-in-cheek comment. Fans online are speculating that he could be the Celestial Toymaker, or another regeneration of the Master.
Further rumours indicate that in this anniversary special we could see other past faces, including Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and even Chris Eccleston.
The future of Doctor Who could also change when it comes to broadcasting. Bloomberg published a piece suggested that Disney is in talks to acquire the rights to a Doctor Who series. This is most likely the international rights for streaming, which currently belongs to HBO and BBC America.
There could also be a slim chance that Disney is looking to do some crossover content with other properties.
How can you watch Doctor Who in the US?
Obviously, Doctor Who is a British show, but in recent years BBC America has been better about airing the show as close as it can to the British air date, to minimise piracy. This is the same for season 13 – BBC America airs each episode in a regular Sunday evening slot at 8/7c.
Warner Bros. has acquired exclusive US streaming rights to the series for HBO Max, so going forward that’s where you’ll need to go to watch any and all Doctor Who from 2005 onwards. That includes Eve of the Daleks and other new episodes, but only after they’re broadcast on BBC America first.
Check out our full guide to watching Doctor Who from outside the UK for more options.