Jodie Whittaker is due to end her tenure as the Doctor very soon. But never fear, you can still get your time-travelling fix with some of the classic era episodes of the show.
As one of the longest running shows in TV history, there are a wealth of episodes, stories and bubble-wrap baddies to experience if you go back to the show’s golden age.
Here’s how to stream the classic Doctor Who shows from the 1960s-1980s and dabble in some time travel of your own.
Watch Doctor Who on BritBox
The only place to stream the entire collection of classic Doctor Who is on the BritBox platform. This is a subscription-based service which is available directly through the Britbox site or via apps on iOS, Android or services like Apple TV, various smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and others.
It’s also a subscription channel on Amazon Prime Video, so if you already use that service then you can watch it through that app. BritBox costs $6.99/£5.99/AU$8.99 per month and offers a 7-day free trial.
Buy digital versions or Blu-rays
If you prefer to build a collection of the Doctor’s adventures, then you’ll find that they are available on Apple TV and the Google Play Store. Be careful though, as some of the pricing can be astronomical.
Blu-rays are available for many seasons, but as the shows don’t exactly suffer from being in SD or DVD-quality resolutions we’d recommend searching eBay for older second-hand DVDs, which will be the most affordable option. Plus you’ll get the authentic classic Who experience of slightly grainy, soft visuals that will help hide the questionable special effects.
The Doctor Who timeline
Before you delve into the Pandora’s box of classic Who, here’s a short guide to the men who played the gallivanting Gallifreyan over the golden era.
William Hartnell (1963-1966)
The first Doctor and joint eldest (with Peter Capaldi) to take on the role at 55 years old. He played a kind of grumpy grandpa version of the Doctor but helped make the show a staple of BBC programming. Many episodes have been lost due to the BBC destroying or storing tapes badly, but you can still enjoyable a sizeable number of Hartnell’s outings as the Time Lord.
- First Story – An Unearthly Child (November 1963)
- Last Story – The Tenth Planet (October 1966)
Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
The first regenerated Doctor, Troughton brought a puckish feel to the role, which was categorised as the ‘Cosmic Hobo’. Sadly, as with Hartnell, many of his episodes have been lost over the years, but some have been remade using animation and the original audio.
- First Story – The Power of the Daleks (November 1966)
- Last Story – The War Games (June 1969)
John Pertwee (1970-1974)
As the age of James Bond took hold, John Pertwee donned the cape and turned the Doctor into an action hero. Plenty of gadgets and ‘reversing the polarity of the electron flow’ quickly made Pertwee a firm favourite with fans.
- First Story – Spearhead from Space (January 1970)
- Last Story – Planet of the Spiders (June 1974)
Tom Baker (1974-1981)
The longest-serving actor to play the Doctor, Tom Baker remains many people’s favourite incarnation of the character. His Cheshire-cat grin, manic energy, penchant for Jelly Babies and long, multi-coloured scarf makes him an instantly recognizable figure. Plus, he had a fair selection of cracking companions over his nearly 7-year tenure in the role.
- First Story – Robot (June 1974)
- Last Story – Logopolis (March 1981)
Peter Davison (1981-1984)
The youngest actor (29 years old) to take on the role of the Doctor until Matt Smith (at 27) arrived nearly three decades later, Davison brought a different feel to the character. Gone was the crazy genius of Baker, replaced with a calmer, more vulnerable iteration with a love of cricket.
- First Story – Castrovalva (March 1981)
- Last Story – The Caves of Androzani (March 1984)
Colin Baker (1984-1986)
Having already appeared in the Arc of Infinity episode during Davison’s reign, Colin Baker (no relation of Tom) took the leading role for a couple of years. His take on the Doctor as an irascible figure met with mixed reactions from the fans, but he still has some great storylines.
- First Story – The Twin Dilemma (March 1984)
- Last Story – The Ultimate Foe (December 1986)
Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989)
After the show took an 18-month hiatus, narrowly avoiding being cancelled, Sylvester McCoy would be the last regular actor to play the Doctor until the series was rebooted in 2005. Some good stories (and some terrible ones) that battled the budget cuts as much as the baddies themselves. Ace was a great companion though.
- First Story – Time and the Rani (September 1987)
- Last Story – Survival (December 1989)
Of course, the Doctor is still adventuring around space, so be sure to read our guide to the Doctor Who Centenary Special and how to watch modern Doctor Who outside the UK.