How many episodes of Doctor Who are there?

An image of David Tennant and Yasmin Finney in Doctor Who.BBC / Doctor Who

Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi show of all time, but exactly how many episodes and seasons are there, and where exactly should you start watching?

The time-traveling adventures of Doctor Who have been chronicled on our TV screens since 1963, and have since become the longest-running sci-fi show of all time coming ahead of other iconic series including The X Files, Red Dwarf, and the Star Trek franchise.

The recasting of the lead role has been written into the show’s lore due to a Time Lord’s ability to regenerate and this has essentially allowed for endless possibilities that have kept the series alive for decades.

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With so many different incarnations of the titular Time Lord, you may be wondering exactly how many episodes of the show there are. So, whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer wondering where to start, we’ve got you covered.

An image of Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop in Doctor Who.BBC / Doctor Who
There are currently over 800 episodes of Doctor Who.

How many episodes of Doctor Who are there?

As of May 2023, there are a total of 871 episodes of Doctor Who.

The first episode aired on November 23, 1963, and there have been a total of 39 seasons each with a varifying number of episodes, and two distinct eras of the show.

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From 1963 – 1989 the Classic era of Doctor Who aired and remained canceled until Russell T Davies revived it in 2005.

The last episode to air was ‘The Power of The Doctor’ in October 2022, which will be followed by the first episode of the show’s 60th anniversary specials, titled ‘The Star Beast’ due to release in November 2023.

What episode of Doctor Who should I start with?

An promotional image of Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper as The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler in Doctor Who.BBC / Doctor Who
The first episode of Doctor Who’s revival ‘Rose’ is a great jumping-on point for new viewers.

There are various jumping-on points that fans will typically recommend for newcomers due to the sheer volume of episodes, and the two unique eras.

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If you’re wanting to experience the entirety of Doctor Who starting with William Hartnell’s adventures as the First Doctor, the classic era Series 1 Episode 1, ‘An Unearthly Child’ is the best place to begin.

Alternatively, if the modern NuWho revival looks more interesting to you, there are several options. Series 1 Episode 1, ‘Rose’ is a great reintroduction to the franchise that effectively sets up the modern revival introducing Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper).

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However, if there’s a particular lead actor who’s piqued your interest in the show then you’re in luck as every new Doctor acts as a soft reboot for the series. We’ve provided a full rundown of each modern Doctor and the perfect jumping-on episodes for their eras below:

  • Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston – Series 1 Episode 1: ‘Rose’
  • Tenth Doctor: David Tennant – Christmas Special: ‘The Christmas Invasion’
  • Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith – Series 5 Episode 1: ‘The Eleventh Hour’
  • Twelfth Doctor: Peter Capaldi – Series 8 Episode 1: ‘Deep Breath’
  • Thirteenth Doctor: Jodie Whittaker – Series 11 Episode 1: ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’

Finally, if you’re especially interested in the show’s upcoming 60th anniversary episodes – which will see the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate as The Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble – and want to catch up beforehand, we’d recommend at least experiencing the entirety of Donna’s story starting with ‘The Runaway Bride’ Christmas Special, then jumping to Series 4, Episode 1 ‘Partners in Crime’ and concluding with Series 4, Episode 13 ‘Journey’s End.’

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That’s everything you need to know about how many episodes of Doctor Who there have been so far! For more TV content, check out our hubs below:

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