Are you desperately trying to track down classic Doctor Who episodes so you can watch them online? Doctor Who has been in the public eye for over 50 years and has amassed an enormous cult following. The show has survived cancellations, revivals, and all kinds of changes in the television landscape. It's no wonder fans of more recent iterations might want to experience the classics. While Doctor Who's online availability is a bit scattered, this minHour article has both Whovians and new fans covered when it comes to watching classic episodes of Doctor Who!
Streaming on BritBox
BritBox is an online subscription service that provides access to past and present BBC and ITV programs.
BritBox includes access to the first through the seventh Doctor. That’s seasons 1-27, running from 1963-1989. It’s not free, but it includes access to the most extensive Doctor Who archives out there.
- You can watch BritBox on your computer at https://www.britbox.com, or by adding the BritBox app to your Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, or smart TV. You can also add BritBox as a channel on Amazon Prime.
- BritBox offers a 7-day free trial but is a paid service thereafter.
- If you are overwhelmed by the amount of Doctor Who content available, let us help you determine where to start.
Borrowing from a Library
Visit your local library to borrow classic Doctor Who for free.
Many libraries own DVD collections of TV shows and movies. Visit the DVD & Blu-Ray section of your library to see if they have any of the classic Doctor Who box sets.
- Check your library’s online catalog before visiting.
- Ask a librarian for assistance or if the library might consider ordering additional box sets.
Consider which box sets you want to find.
The BBC has put out some excellent box sets, many of which feature pivotal episodes of Doctor Who:
- Davros box set. This is a great introductory box set that features five storylines with four different Doctors.
- The Beginning box set. This collections features three episodes from the first Doctor.This set also includes a condensed 30-minute version of one of the show’s lost episodes.
- This set also includes a condensed 30-minute version of one of the show’s lost episodes.
- Tomb of the Cybermen. Though this is a “single” storyline spanning four episodes, it is a great story featuring the second Doctor.
- New Beginnings box set. This collection features the last two stories from the third Doctor.
Searching the Web
Search for “Watch classic Doctor Who online free” in Google.
Many third-party sites stream old episodes of Doctor Who. To find a particular episode, include it in your search. These websites stay online by not hosting the physical video on their site. Instead they contain links to other websites that host the video.
- Some of these sites may not be entirely legal, so consider using a VPN when streaming.
- The specific URLs for these sites are constantly changing to avoid getting taken down, so you may need to conduct a Google search again even after finding an appropriate site.
Torrenting Old Episodes
Visit a torrent tracker website.
Torrents are a great way to find and download classic Doctor Who episodes for free. Just be sure to use a VPN and turn on your antivirus software when torrenting.
- Make sure you have a torrenting client before continuing.
- Popular torrent sites include The Pirate Bay and 1337x.
Search for classic Doctor Who.
Use the website’s search bar to look up “classic Doctor Who”. You will likely get many results, so be sure to review each option before downloading it.
- Options may range from entire seasons to individual episodes. Include additional keywords if you are looking for a specific episode.
Click the magnet icon next to your desired download.
This will send the download to your torrenting client.
- When selecting a torrent file, consider the amount of seeders and leechers as well. The more seeders a file has, the faster it will download.
Wait for the file to download.
If you chose a file with a lot of seeders, it should download rather quickly.
- When the file has downloaded, do not delete it from your torrenting client. Leaving it in there allows you to “seed” the file for future Doctor Who fans!
Enjoy classic Doctor Who.
Open your downloaded file. It may be a collection of various files, but you only need the video file within.
Watching on Cable
Visit BBC America on your television.
BBC America offers American cable users all kinds of British programming each day. Check your local listings to see if BBC America is playing classic Doctor Who episodes anytime soon.
- On many cable boxes, you may also search for “Doctor Who” and find all channels where it might be playing.
Buying Physical Copies
Visit Amazon or eBay.
Many online marketplaces will have cheap deals on box sets and DVD collections of classic Doctor Who. Amazon and eBay may be your best bet.
Purchase the DVDs.
Be sure to do your research so you know you are paying a fair price for the DVDs.
- Because these DVDs are rather old (and sometimes rare), they may be sold as collector’s items, making them more expensive. Still, deals are out there if you are willing to look!
- If you are interested in building a collection of classic Doctor Who content, this is the quickest and most effective way to do so!
Streaming Newer Episodes on HBO Max
HBO Max may not have access to the truly classic seasons of Doctor Who, but you can watch 13 seasons of the 2005 revival.
If you are a new fan who is yet to see some of these “older” seasons, you can find them on HBO Max.
- You can watch HBO Max on a computer at https://www.hbomax.com, using the HBO Max app on your phone or tablet, or by adding the app to your smart TV or streaming device.
- HBO Max is also the streaming home of all future seasons of Doctor Who.
The BBC and its fans have created several reconstructions of the show’s 97 lost episodes. These range from animations to slideshows to reenactments. You can find most of them on YouTube.
Search for “Doctor Who reconstruction”.
This will yield thousands of results. The reconstructions posted by the BBC are likely to be the best quality, but feel free to comb through all the reconstructions out there.
- If you find these reconstructions too tedious but don’t want to miss out on the plot, try reading through a detailed synopsis of the story instead, such as the ones provided on the fan wiki.
Approaching Classic Doctor Who
Decide if you want to watch classic Doctor Who.
Doctor Who was very different from 1963 to 1989 than it is today. New series fans have scrutinized it for its dated visual effects and low production values. Take all this into account when you’re deciding. Also remember that classic Who also ran in a serialized format, with stories ranging anywhere from 1 to 12 episodes to complete one story arc.
Pick a good starting point.
There were eight classic Doctors so you have some options. Here is a list of good starting points and the year in which they were broadcast:
- An Unearthly Child (1963)
- The War Games (1969)
- Spearhead from Space (1970)
- Terror of the Autons (1971)
- The Three Doctors (1972-73)
- The Time Warrior (1973-74)
- The Ribos Operation (1978)
- The Keeper of Traken (1981)
- Kinda (1982)
- The Five Doctors (1983)
Follow trends you enjoy.
There is no reason to watch the series chronologically if you don’t find it interesting. Track recurring characters and monsters that you’re interested in. If you like the Master or Cybermen, track down all the episodes they appear on by searching the internet. There are several fan sites that indicate each episode a certain character or monster appears.
Consider the 97 missing episodes.
In the late 1960s and the 1970s the BBC wanted to reuse videotape so they wouldn’t have to keep buying more, and as a result, multiple episodes from the first three Doctors’ eras were “lost to time.” Thankfully though, all of the Third Doctor’s era has been recovered and missing episodes are starting to turn up in unexpected places.