UK fans need to wait until tomorrow for Doctor Who, but why?

Doctor Who Season 14 premieres on Disney+ at 7 p.m. ET tonight, Friday, May 10. Why do UK viewers have to wait until tomorrow?
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) Credit: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) Credit: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios /

Doctor Who Season 14 (or Season 1 if you’re following the Disney branding) premieres tonight, Friday, May 10. However, those in the UK have to wait until Saturday, May 11. Why is that?

The new episodes are getting a global premiere for the first time ever. Before, viewers in the UK have had the episodes first on BBC One. They would then air on their respective international platforms usually later that day.

This would be due to time zones for a lot of locations. For example, the U.S. broadcast and cable networks would want to air the episodes in the evening on the day of release. However, the UK would want to choose the evening in its own time zone, which would be in the afternoon in the U.S. So, U.S. viewers would get the episodes later.

Doctor Who drops at the same time for everyone

While viewers in the UK have to wait until the next day compared to U.S. viewers, that’s not actually the case. It again all comes down to time zones.

The episodes are dropping on Disney+ at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Disney+. This is a global release, so the episodes are dropping at midnight UK time, which is the same time as U.S. viewers due to time zones. The east coast is five hours behind the UK.

If the UK was going to release the episodes on iPlayer on Friday, May 10, the episodes would drop earlier in the day for U.S. viewers.

Doctor Who will still air on BBC One

There is still a set release of Doctor Who on BBC One in the UK. As we mentioned before, the streaming release is to allow for a global release now that Disney has the intentional licensing rights. The show is still produced by Bad Wolf and it is still a BBC series. So, while it releases on iPlayer early, it will come to BBC One on Saturday nights.

This is a similar format to the way a lot of streaming and premium cable networks. We just have to look at Starz and how it drops episodes at midnight ET and then airs those episodes on the channel that night. Not all streamers do this, though, with Max opting to drop episodes on the streamer at the same time they air on the channel.

This is going to disappoint some UK viewers. It’s going to be exciting for those who embrace the streaming world.

The Doctors in order in the world of Doctor Who. dark. Next. The Doctors in order in the world of Doctor Who