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How to watch Doctor Who outside the UK
Doctor Who is returning to our screens some time later this year for series 11, the first to feature new star Jodie Whitaker as the very first female Dr. As always, the show will air first in the UK, which means it can be tricky to keep up if you live in another country or find yourself abroad on holiday but don’t want to miss the latest episode.
Here’s our guide to watching every episode of Doctor Who, whether live or on catch-up, from absolutely anywhere in the world.
When is Doctor Who on?
Season 11 is returning to our screens from October 7 – which is a Sunday, reflecting the shift to a new night for the show – with the first episode airing at 6:45pm UK time.
In the UK it will air first on BBC One, before appearing on BBC iPlayer for anyone to watch on catch-up.
How to watch Doctor Who in the US
The easiest place to watch Doctor Who outside of the UK is probably the US, where for some years the show has aired on BBC America on Saturday nights. That means that while you can’t watch each episode quite as it airs in the UK, you can watch episodes just a few hours later.
This year BBC America has confirmed that it will be airing each episode of the show at 8/7c on Sunday, just hours after the show hits UK TVs – while the premiere will also be simulcast, meaning there’ll be an earlier Sunday afternoon screening (1:45pm EST/10:45am PST) for those who are keen to watch it along with the Brits.
Still, if you don’t have BBC America in your cable package, or want to watch every episode the second it starts in the UK, your best bet is to use a VPN instead.
Alternatively, if you want to watch older episodes, Amazon Prime Video currently has the exclusive US streaming rights.
A VPN is arguably the easiest way to watch Dr Who abroad, and it works no matter what country you’re in, so long as you have a compatible device and an internet connection. It will let you watch the show live as it airs on BBC One, or on catch-up through BBC iPlayer if you miss the first broadcast.
A VPN allows you to mask your computer’s IP address and simulate another one, essentially letting you browse the web as if you were based in another country. For this purpose, it means you can seem to be browsing from the UK even if you’re actually elsewhere in the world, meaning you’ll be able to reach the iPlayer website and apps – both of which let you watch either live or on catch-up.
We’ve already rounded up our recommendations of the best VPNs for iPlayer, but our top pick is NordVPN, which you can now get from just $2.75 per month. Yes, you have to pay for it. There are free VPNs out there too, but they’re usually slower, less reliable, and less secure, so we really recommend going for a paid one – even if you just opt to use the free trial.
Once you’ve got your VPN set up on your chosen device – most now have apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as versions for PCs and Macs – you simply have to open the iPlayer app or head to the website and browse to find the latest Doctor Who episode.
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There is one last detail to be aware of: the BBC requires that iPlayer users sign in with a free BBC account, which requires a UK postcode. You’ll need an account if you want to watch or listen to iPlayer through the website or mobile apps, though for now the account remains optional for iPlayer’s Smart TV and game console apps.
You can register for an account for free, but you’ll need to give your date of birth, gender, and email address, along with a valid UK postcode, and the BBC says that it will use the information to better understand its audience and improve its recommendations to users.
If you’re a British resident with a paid-up Licence Fee, the new account won’t change your ability to watch iPlayer abroad – simply sign into your account, and continue to use a VPN as described above. However, if you don’t have a Licence because you live abroad or just haven’t paid for one, and are hoping to get access to iPlayer anyway, you’ll need to give a valid UK postcode and your details to get access.