How many seasons of Doctor Who are there?

Trudie Graham
BBC Doctor Who key art featuring Matt Smith, Jodie Whittaker, Peter Capaldi, David Tennant, and Christopher Eccleston.

Figuring out how many Doctor Who seasons there are and how to split them into different eras is tricky, but we’ve time-traveled for long enough to break it down into a handy guide.

Doctor Who Season 14 is finally here, but the number ’14’ is deceiving. There’s lots more history to this franchise, and getting the full story can be overwhelming.

That’s without even taking into account the revolving door of Doctor Who actors and the timey-wimey structure of the show.

But don’t worry, it’s less complicated than it looks. Whether you’re a new fan or want to revisit the best Doctor Who episodes, let’s break down the long-running sci-fi series.

How many seasons of Doctor Who are there in total?

There are 40 seasons of Doctor Who in total. 26 seasons of ‘Classic Who’ and 14 seasons of ‘New Who,’ including 2024’s Season 14.

The original series started airing in 1963 and ran until 1989 when it was put on hiatus. 16 years later, Russell T Davies brought Doctor Who back but made sure to connect his revival to the original run, making it one big cohesive story.

What are the different eras of Doctor Who?

Doctor Who is split into three eras: ‘Classic Who’ (1963–1989), ‘New Who’ (2005–present), and the fresh numbering that started with 2024’s Season 1.

Classic Who was the original run, and New Who encompassed the revival, which began on 26 March 2005 with Season 1 Episode 1, ‘Rose’. The reason there’s a split in the season numbering is that Doctor Who went off-air for decades before the revival. It made more sense to begin fresh, even though Classic Who is directly connected to the new era.

Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor first appeared in specials in 2023, and his solo run started with a fresh numbering system in May 2024. So, we’re back at Season 1 for a third time. Realistically, it was an unnecessary decision made to make marketing easier; it’s harder to convince new viewers to watch a show designated ‘Season 14’ compared to ‘Season 1’.

Each era featured different versions of the Doctor due to how often The Doctor regenerates.

All the Doctor Who actors in order:

  • William Hartnell (1963–1966)
  • Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)
  • Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
  • Tom Baker (1974–1981)
  • Richard Hurndall (1983)
  • Peter Davison (1982–1984)
  • Colin Baker (1984–1986)
  • Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989)
  • Paul McGann (1996)
  • Christopher Eccleston (2005)
  • David Tennant (2005–2010, 2023)
  • Matt Smith (2010–2013)
  • John Hurt (2023)
  • Peter Capaldi (2014–2017)
  • David Bradley (20127, 2022)
  • Jodie Whittaker (2018–2022)
  • Jo Martin (2020–2022)
  • Ncuti Gatwa (2023–present)

What is the best season of Doctor Who?

The best seasons of Doctor Who were the Tenth Doctor’s (David Tennant), Seasons 2 through 4. In particular, Season 4 takes the cake for us.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who Season 4.

While many Doctor Who seasons have 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, as fans, we’re most partial to Tennant’s run. That era featured beloved companions, expansive storytelling, and some of the finest episodes in the whole series.

Season 4 stands out since Catherine Tate’s Donna reached her full potential and left us sobbing messes on the floor during her final appearance.

Matt Smith’s run as the Eleventh Doctor is usually said to be next in line concerning quality. Still, we’ve listed the revival seasons below to give a more detailed look at critical reception.

If you’re wondering how Gatwa’s time in the TARDIS compares, check out our Doctor Who Season 14 ‘The Devil’s Chord’ review.

Doctor Who Seasons ranked by Rotten Tomatoes score:

  • Season 1: 85%
  • Season 2: 100%
  • Season 3: 100%
  • Season 4: 100%
  • Season 5: 100%
  • Season 6: 100%
  • Season 7: 100%
  • Season 8: 88%
  • Season 9: 90%
  • Season 10: 88%
  • Season 11: 90%
  • Season 12: 78%
  • Season 13: 82%
  • Season 14: 98%

How to watch all of Doctor Who

Doctor Who (2005–2022) is streaming on HBO Max in the US, while Britbox has Classic Who (1963–1966) seasons. After the 60th Anniversary specials in 2023, new episodes of Doctor Who started streaming on Disney+.

Max still has older Doctor Who episodes, it just doesn’t have the new episodes which followed the Disney+ deal.

In the UK, all episodes of the revival series and Classic Who can be watched on BBC iPlayer.

As for how to watch Doctor Who Season 14, Gatwa’s episodes stream on BBC iPlayer and then air on the BBC One channel in the UK, while Disney+ continues to house new episodes in the US.

You can keep up to date with the Doctor Who Season 14 release schedule here or read our guides on who is Ruby Sunday is and the best Doctor Who Christmas specials. Alternatively, see what new TV shows are streaming.

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