‘Doctor Who’ Season 6 to Premiere In US & UK on Same Day

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 23rd, 2011 at 10:07 pm,

best tv moments 2010 matt smith doctor who Doctor Who Season 6 to Premiere In US & UK on Same Day

UPDATE: Here’s our Doctor Who Season 6 premiere review.

It appears that Doctor Who fans in America will no longer have to wait months to catch up to the BBC’s UK broadcasts, as the premiere date for Doctor Who season 6 is set for April 23, in both the US and UK.

Continuing the trend from the Doctor’s most recent Christmas adventure, the airdates for Doctor Who on BBC America will coincide with the BBC’s airing of the popular time-traveling series in the UK.

Since the premiere of Russell T. Davies’ revival of Doctor Who in 2005, American audiences have had to wait with anticipation for the new adventures of the Doctor to reach the states, as episodes were already airing in the UK. Whether it be PBS, Syfy (then Sci-Fi) or BBC America, the broadcasting schedule always put the US fans well behind that of their UK counterparts.

For many in the US, this latency was not appreciated and those unwilling to wait for the delayed broadcasts of Doctor Who turned to torrents and other web-based mediums to make sure that they stayed up-to-date with the dual-hearted Gallifreyan’s adventures.

In an attempt to put an end to American torrent-users, BBC America scheduled the premiere date of the Doctor Who Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” on Christmas Day – the same as the BBC’s premiere date in the UK.

With this move, BBC America was hoping that the ratings would rise from those not needing to resort to “other means” of obtaining the episodes – and they were correct. Last year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special attracted 727,000 viewers in total, up from 671,000 viewers that tuned into the 2009 Christmas Special.

doctor who christmas tardis Doctor Who Season 6 to Premiere In US & UK on Same Day

Interestingly enough, not only did the 2009 Christmas Special on BBC America premiere a day after it had aired on the BBC, but this episode was also the first part of David Tennant’s finale as the Doctor. If a Doctor Who Christmas Special can receive higher ratings than the final episodes of beloved David Tennant as the Doctor, BBC America’s assumptions have proven to be correct.

Of course, one should note that even though BBC America will be premiering Doctor Who season 6 on the same day as the BBC, there will still be a large amount of American fans that turn to torrents for viewing. While the episodes may air on the same day, the time difference between the US and UK is still a great enough for the episode to air in the UK, be uploaded online, downloaded and viewed before the BBC America broadcast even begins.

doctor who amy pond1 Doctor Who Season 6 to Premiere In US & UK on Same Day

Additionally, there’s also the aspect of HD viewing. For much of the country, BBC America HD is unavailable. Unless you subscribe to Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications or DISH Network, you’re stuck fulfilling your needs as an Anglophile with standard definition programming. With the large majority of the American Doctor Who fan base being some of the most technologically competent viewers in the country, the ability to have the BBC’s HD broadcast of their favorite show may still be too tempting to turn down.

Still, for BBC America, it’s a start. The move to airing Doctor Who at the same time in the US as the UK will certainly see the series’ broadcast ratings rise. As for HD, BBC America promises that they’re continuing their efforts to bring BBC America HD to other broadcast providers.

Of course, this is the same HD promise that BBC America has been touting for the last three years.

You can view the trailer for Doctor Who season 6 below:

Doctor Who Season 6 premieres April 23 on BBC America and the BBC

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  1. Hardly seems fair. I used to enjoy that the US had to wait for something for a change. In the UK we wait for months, 6 months sometimes even longer.
    I hope BBC America isn’t a free channel.

    • No, BBC America isn’t a free channel.

    • You may have to wait for some shows, but are any of them as hugely popular as Doctor Who? I’m sure if Doctor Who was an American production, it would eventually get a world wide premier as well, like it is now.

  2. @ DrSamBeckett: Its not a free channel and that is why I won’t be watching “Doctor Who” on April 23rd.

    For me, its not an issue of HD or not HD, but the price of BBC America. Its an additional package through my cable provider, one I can’t afford. And since I barely have time in a week to clear ten percent off my DVR for the following week, chances are I’ll have to wait until it hits DVD.

    Does that make you feel better Sam? :(

    • Sorry. Had a bad (life) day. I spent years having to wait for 24 to come out on DVD because it was only shown on Sky in the UK and that costs a fortune.
      I suppose I got defensive I’ve Doctor Who because it’s paid for by the British Public as are all BBC programmed.

      • Best money the British Public has ever spent. Thanks, mate!

  3. Hrm. Seems I’ll have to wait, I won’t be back home to start watching until two weeks later. At least my dad’s got BBCA.
    Thanks for the news, Anthony and SR!

  4. I also catch Who on dvd.

    I’m currently in the middle of season 5.

    The Dalek episode was a bit of a letdown but so far not bad.

    Matt Smith reminds me a lot of Tennent and Amy Pond is kinda sleeazy but overall not bad.

    • The dalek episode is the only bad episode in series 5. The Van Gogh episode brought me to tears.

  5. Sounds good to me – no worries about posting spoilers then.

    • Or fewer worries at least. I’ll still take care with that, but it’ll be nice to compare impressions with US viewers closer in.

  6. That’s good news.
    The Dalek episode (especally the space battle at the end) was almost a jump the shark moment for Who.

  7. DSB, are you a Torchwood fan?

    There was a real standout episode in season 1, Random Shoes. See that one?

    • Yeah I’m a fan of Torchwood. My favourite episode is from season 2, it’s called Adrift. Very powerful episode.
      All of the Children Of Earth mini series was epic and haunting.

      Not so sure I like the idea of this new series though.

  8. I have to say, while I’m not exactly glued to the TV when it comes on, my sister’s made a fan, and I look forward to the new season.

    I have to wonder though, with the recent Brony phenomenon, if the cast and crew are aware of “Dr. Whoof”.

  9. Haven’t seen that episode yet DSB. Long story, short I haven’t seen the last half of TW season 2. I’ve seen everything else. “Children of Earth” was awesome and ballsy!!!

  10. DSB,,,
    The new TorchWood on (Starz) will star Bill Pullman and of course Jack Harkness.

    Better then nothing, this should be a pretty interesting cross-over-US/UK-hit show???
    What’s up with Red Dwarf (season9?), DSB??? Haven’t heard anything,,,

    • I always thought part of the charm of Torchwood was that it was set in Wales, I still can’t wait to see more.

      Red Dwarf is happening, it’s official, episodes are being filmed later this year to be shown next summer.

      • “Red Dwarf is happening, it’s official, episodes are being filmed later this year to be shown next summer.”

        There’s nothing official on new RD yet, just rumours… but fingers crossed!

  11. I’ve only watched a show here and there but never got into Doctor Who, however, I would like to give it a try. Can someone recommend a starting point? I realize going back to the beginning (even if that’s possible) probably is not feasible. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    • FYI. Loved Torchwood and Children of Earth. Just fantastic.

    • Just start at one they call Series One, which stars Christopher Ecclestone as the 9th Doctor. It is a reboot that fits into the continuity.

      • Cool thanks.

    • Wow, a loaded question. OK, I am lucky, was born 2 weeks b4 the VERY 1st episoide was ever made some 48 years ago. Was born in the US but have family living in the UK. More importantly, 4 of them work for (or have retired from) the BBC. I have ALL but 3 of every show ever made (+ some stuff that was never shown). Having said all this. Start with the shows (in series) from when Rose and the Doctor first meet. Go from year to year, watch the specials (X-mas & all that). By the time you have watched all this you will be as well up-to-date as most out there.

      See, when you begin to get past some of the frillyer things on the show and get more “in tune” with some of the techier aspects of what it is to be a Sci-Fi fan you’ll begin to understand what the “Doctor” is and where he came from. Later, when you are so into Dr. Who, you can go back and get all the earlier years from the 60’s 70’s and so on. Most of all, HAVE FUN!!!!!! :) Love the Doctor and bless the day you decided to join us. Cheers!

      • More WOW! Very impressed. Pretty cool that you have such a long history with Dr. Who. I have a similar experience with Star Trek :-) Thanks for your suggestions. I’m one it! Wish I had some witty comment from the Doctor but alas I’m not quite there yet. Live Long and Prosper!

        • Sorry meant I’m on it!

  12. “Red Dwarf” is the most underated BBC show ever!

    The concepts, the characters, the gastphreo soup!
    Red Dwarf is one of my top 3 science fiction tv shows of all time!!!

    Yes give me more!!

    Its amazing how many of my favorite shows come from BBC or Canada (LEXX).

    Love it!

    • What did you think of the Return To Earth Specials? I didnt think they were great… Fun though.

      • The Return to Earth was a dvd purchase for me. I don’t have BBC America so I watched the shows as one long show on the dvd.

        Loved it!!! Everyone looked great and the story was great. Imo

        • Children Of Earth was epic television, the acting, the story, the effects, the ending… It was as close to perfect as television can get. I watched it when it was originally shown, once a night over five consecutive evenings. Just brilliant.

          You need to watch the rest of season two, the episodes are so good. Adrift is a heartbreaking episode to watch.

  13. DrSamBeckett,
    I recall reading somewhere that the Red Dwarf crew wasn’t too happy with the special either, and they said they weren’t exactly trying their hardest, but with the announcement that the show is coming back, they said it will get much better.

    • Yes, I read something similar. Here’s hoping it will be great again!

  14. How fun would it be to see Chris Barrie in a Doctor Who ep!

    • Only if he was Arnold J Rimmer! I love that his middle name was Judas.

  15. Yeah Rimmer is the heart of Red Dwarf!

    Working on getting season2 of TW.
    Still waiting for the mighty BBC to release Ashes to Ashes in a region 1 format!

  16. I watch it on DVD. It';s best anyways because I can watch it anytime I want.

  17. Boo to no BBC America HD in my area even though I have Cox.

  18. Sucks that BBC America hasn’t gone HD in my area, but I am thankful the BBC had the sense to put season 5 on Amazon Unbox and iTunes. This gave me a legal source to see the show in HD, and I don’t mind paying for the Doctor.

  19. what about bbc canada then can we watch on it

  20. still going to torrent it, probably. the biggest problem with BBC America is that they edit episodes either for content or to fit in commercial time.

  21. For those in Canada, it will be on Space on Apr 23, not BBC Canada

  22. I don’t know a single Fan who waited for the BBCA version, so this is a wise move, also they should not be jumping up and down just yet because I also don’t know a single Fan who likes the new writings of Moffat and crew.

    If they wanted maximum effect they should have removed the commercials and put it in HD on more carriers so we would get the same thing as the Brits LOL OK so that won’t happen and thats why I doubt this will sway more than half the downloading people. Here’s hoping for better writting or even better, David Tenant wakes up out of a bad dream for the Season finale :)

    • Really? That comes as a pretty big surprise to me! A LOT of people I’ve seen absolutely love series 5, and are eagerly awaiting 6.

      • Likewise. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t taken to Smith like a duck to water after the sadly-increasing uncomfortable, unseemly melodramatic self-examination and moroseness alternating with outright jack-in-the-box gurning RTD put Tennant through – particularly in the four specials.

        • Know personally, that is…

    • You sure know a lot of tasteless fans, my friend. I agree whole-heartedly with the whole commercials bit, though.

  23. I don’t really see why poeple in the USA should get to see the show on the same day as you do in the UK, because most US shows are not shown in the UK until months later. So really it is only fair to make USA wait a little bit longer to see the program.