Where Should Someone New to Doctor Who Start Watching?

New to Who? Den of Geek’s Doctor Who experts pick the best jumping-on points.

Matt Smith, Christopher Eccleston, Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant, Jon Pertwee, William Hartnell, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton, Peter Capaldi, Sylvester Stallone
Photo: BBC/Chloe Lewis

‘Right at the very beginning!’ – answered nobody, ever to the question of where a newcomer to Doctor Who should start watching. This is a show with almost 900 episodes, six decades of production, and a megaton of baggage (apologies, lore).

To start with 1963’s “An Unearthly Child” now and try to watch everything, plus spin-offs, before you could get involved with the Ncuti Gatwa era? You’d need a TARDIS.

So where to jump in? Now that BBC iPlayer is host to the whole Doctor Who kit and kaboodle in the UK as part of its new “Whoniverse” division, it’s a very good question. That’s why we asked it to our writhing nest of Doctor Who experts. And here’s what they recommend:

Rose (2005)

“Rose” is the first episode of the revived version of Doctor Who. Having been off air since a one-off special in 1996, this was designed as a continuation of the original run but mainly as a stepping-on point for as many people as possible. If you bought all the novels published in the Nineties, this was for you. If you faintly remembered ‘The one with the bubble wrap monsters’ or when the Daleks climbed the stairs, this was for you. If you had never heard of Doctor Who, if you had thought it was some middle-class snob cutting about a cardboard universe, if you had thought it was a Boys’ Own show which simply didn’t consider women and girls as a possible audience… the hope was that this was also for you. It was reaching out, plus it had a primetime Saturday evening slot and the confidence of the BBC behind it (two things it hadn’t had at the same time since the Seventies).


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