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Doctor Who Season 1 with Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson: Everything you need to know about the Time Lord's return

The show is coming up to 60 years old, but sure, let's say this is season 1

Doctor Who
Image credit: BBC

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Doctor Who is about to return to our screens… and it’s about time.

After four special episodes in 2023, the beloved sci-fi series returns later this year with its first full season since 2021, with Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor, Millie Gibson as his mysterious companion Ruby Sunday, and Russell T. Davies returning as showrunner for the first time since 2010. The new season is a big deal, beyond having the first Black (and openly queer) lead actor in the series history — it’s also the first season of the show in almost 60 years to be distributed internationally by Disney, via the Disney+ streaming service. (In the UK, it remains on its longtime home, the BBC.)

If you’re confused by how the upcoming season of Doctor Who, which has been on the air intermittently since 1963, can be called Season 1, then you’re not alone. Perhaps suitably for a show that features a quirky Time Lord jumping through time and space with abandon, the show’s return is simultaneously the 14th season of the New Who era and the 40th season of the series to date overall, but it has also been “rebranded” as Season 1 in an effort to help new audiences arriving thanks to the Disney connection connect with the show.

Wondering what to expect from the 2024 season of Doctor Who, no matter what it might be called? Here is everything we know so far.

Who is starring in Doctor Who season 1?

Details remain tight on the plots of the various episodes in Doctor Who season 1, which means we don’t know exactly who is playing what role in the upcoming season... and whether or not some familiar names will show up with very unfamiliar faces, given what we do know about the series' love of regeneration and mystery. We’ve known for years now that Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa is taking over as the Fifteenth Doctor, but it's certain that - up to the release of the episodes themselves - there are almost certainly still some actors whose roles haven’t been confirmed.

The current cast list that we do know for Doctor Who season 1 is:

  • Ncuti Gatwa as The Fifteenth Doctor
  • Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday
  • Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart
  • Ruth Madeley as Shirley Ann Bingham
  • Alexander Devrient as Colonel Ibrahim
  • Yasmin Finney as Rose Noble
  • Aneurin Barnard as Roger ap Gwilliam
  • Indira Barma as The Duchess
  • Michelle Greenidge as Carl Sunday
  • Angela Wynter as Cherry Sunday
  • Lenny Rush as Morris
  • Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush
  • Anita Dobson as Mrs. Flood
  • Golda Rosheuvel as Jocelyn
  • Jinkx Monsoon in an undisclosed role*
  • Jonathan Groff in an undisclosed role

It's been announced that Jinkx Monsoon will play "the Doctor’s most powerful enemy yet" in the season's second episode, although no character name has been given yet.

Additional guest actors in the season will include Callie Cooke, Dame Siân Phillips, Bhav Joshi, Majid Mehdizadeh-Valoujerdy, Tachia Newall, Caoilinn Springall, Gwïon Morris Jones, and Genesis Lynea.

When will Doctor Who season 1 come out?

Watch on YouTube

As is tradition, there were a handful of special episodes of Doctor Who aired during the holiday season 2023. These were primarily starring David Tennant, who returned to the show as the Fourteenth Doctor, having previously played the Tenth Doctor in the second, third, and fourth seasons of the "new Who" era. However, Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor starred in one of the specials, which aired on Christmas Day 2023.

The first full season starring Gatwa won't come out until a bit later. Doctor Who season one will debut at midnight on May 11, 2024 with the first two episodes airing on that day and new episodes due out weekly after that. New episodes will launch on the BBC iPlayer streaming service ahead of their traditional airring on the BBC later that day. International fans will be able to watch the episodes on Disney+ at the same time as UK viewers.

How many episodes will be in Doctor Who season 1?

The first season of Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor will have eight episodes, with the BBC and Disney+ revealing the titles, writers and directors of each episode in advance:

  • Space Babies, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Julie Anne Robinson
  • The Devil’s Chord, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Ben Chessell
  • Boom, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Julie Anne Robinson
  • 73 Yards, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Dylan Holmes Williams
  • Dot and Bubble, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Dylan Holmes Williams
  • Rogue, written by Kate Herron and Briony Redman, directed by Ben Chessell
  • The Legend of Ruby Sunday, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Jamie Donoughue
  • Empire of Death, written by Russell T. Davies, directed by Jamie Donoughue

No details have been released about any potential holiday special at the end of 2024 as of yet; that might not be part of the current season if and when it arrives, nonetheless.

Is there a trailer for Doctor Who season 1?

There are, in fact, two trailers for the new season of Doctor Who. And here they are.

Watch on YouTube
Watch on YouTube

Why is the 2024 season being called Doctor Who season 1, anyway?

The short answer to this is marketing. For the first time, the BBC is teaming up with Disney+ to help distribute the upcoming season of Doctor Who to an international audience. To avoid confusion – and to help entice new viewers who might be intimidated by the sheer amount of Doctor Who content produced over the last sixty years – the 2024 season is being called Season 1 by the showrunners and cast.

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