How to watch Doctor Who online for FREE – stream today's New Year's Day special from anywhere on Earth

It's a tradition as popular as Auld Lang Syne – here's how to watch Doctor Who's New Year outing online wherever you are

watch doctor who online
(Image credit: BBC)

The waiting is finally over as everybody's favourite time-travelling, shape-shifting hero is kicking off the New Year with the first episode of a news series and we can't think of a way that we'd sooner nurse our hangovers than with a dose of the Doctor. Thankfully, it's easy to watch Doctor Who online, no matter what country you're in - although we probably can't help if you're reading this from another dimension...

So what sci-fi feast lays in wait? It's a two-part epic called Spyfall. And if you're wondering whether it's likely to be some kind of James Bond-style pastiche, then one look at the main promotional image will confirm your train of thought. 

As the BBC website says: "Intelligence agents around the world are under attack from alien forces, so MI6 turn to the only people who can help - the Doctor and friends. As they travel the globe looking for answers, attacks come from all sides. Earth’s security rests on the team's shoulders, but where will this planet-threatening conspiracy lead them?" Sounds typically bizarre and compelling in equal measure to us!

The brilliant Jodie Whittaker and her gang (including Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole) return, while a duo of bonafide national treasures - Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry - have also been confirmed to star in series 12.

It's an unmissable festive TV treat set to broadcast on BBC One at 6.55pm GMT on New Year's Day with part two following at 7pm on Sunday, January 5. It's easy enough to view if you're in the UK. But you can't readily watch iPlayer if you're overseas as it's geo-restricted. That's where this handy guide comes in as our simple instructions below will tell you how to watch Doctor Who online from anywhere in the world – that's something not even a sonic screwdriver can do!

Watch Doctor Who online for free in the UK

You don't have to be a Whovian to be excited about the return of the Doctor. The first episode is due to be broadcast on 'terrestrial' TV at 6.55pm on January 1.

Of course it's also possible to watch Doctor Who online via BBC iPlayer as well - as well as on your laptop, there are apps for Android and iOS mobile devices in addition to apps for a range of TV streaming devices, such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, games consoles, Smart TVs and more.

And if you miss it as it airs, iPlayer is at your service to catch up in your own time for at least 30 days after.

How to watch Doctor Who online from outside the UK

If you've been counting down the days to watch the Doctor's latest adventures, then the waiting is almost over. But if you're celebrating the New Year out of the country and try to tune in on iPlayer, you'll find that the stream is blocked due to geo-restrictions.

To get around this, there's a really simple bit of software you can install on your phone or laptop (or even a TV streaming device like Chromecast or Roku) called a VPN - short for Virtual Private Network. It lets you virtually change your IP address back to the UK. It's encrypted too, making it a safer way to navigate the web anyway.

We've tested hundreds of VPNs and can recommend T3 Award winning ExpressVPN as the best option currently available to help you get your Doctor Who fix.

Express VPN (comes with a 30 day money back guarantee) and is the #1 rated best VPN in the world right now. You can watch on many devices at once including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets etc.

Once it's been downloaded and installed, open the app and select a UK server location (it's super easy) and then head over to streaming website TVPlayer.com at 6.55pm GMT (so basically 8pm mainland Europe, 2pm ET, 11am PT, 5am AEDT on Jan 2) for the first part of Spyfall. TVPlayer is a robust, free, legal streaming with all of the UK's  Freeview channels in one place.

Check out ExpressVPN now and get 49% off AND 3 months free on an annual plan.

Note that if you're in the US, BBC America will be showing the Doctor Who season finale, too. It will be broadcast at 8pm ET, 7pm CT, 6pm MT and 8pm PT, so Whovians in the States can watch for free without even having to download a VPN. Great news!