How to watch Doctor Who Holiday Special — The Church on Ruby Road from anywhere

New Doctor Ncuti Gatwa and his new companion Ruby (Millie Gibson) pose back to back for the Doctor Who Holiday Special — The Church on Ruby Road
(Image credit: BBC)

Having been introduced to Ncuti Gatwa during the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, it's time to a holiday special. Read on for how to watch Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road from anywhere — and potentially for FREE with a VPN.

Doctor Who Holiday Special start time, channels

The Doctor Who Holiday Special airs on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) at 12:55 p.m. ET / 5:55 p.m. GMT.
• FREE — BBC iPlayer (U.K.)
 U.S. — Disney Plus
• Watch anywhere — try ExpressVPN risk-free

New Doctor Ncuti Gatwa made their maiden voyage (Gatwa uses they/them pronouns to describe the Time Lord) in the TARDIS in The Giggle, helping the 14th Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) to defeat the Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris).

Now, it's their chance to go it alone. Well, at least until the Time Lord bumps into Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson). Immediately drawn to each other as their eyes connect across a crowded nightclub dancefloor (it would never have happened in William Hartnell's day!), their bond seems more than merely coincidental. Doctor meet companion. Companion meet Doctor.

The Christmas Day special plot revolves around Ruby's abandonment as a tiny baby in the snow on Christmas Eve, and with her new mysterious ally it's high time to find out the secrets behind what happened to her parents. Cue flying galleons, a tribe of terrifying goblins and whole lot of Sonic Screwdriver action...

Whovians assemble and keep reading to discover how to watch Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road online for free and from anywhere this Christmas Day and beyond.

Watch the Doctor Who Holiday Special free online

Watch the Doctor Who Special online for FREE in the U.K.

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The 2023 Doctor Who Christmas Special — named The Church on Ruby Road — airs on BBC One at 5:55 p.m. GMT on Christmas Day (Monday, Dec. 25).

It will be also available to stream live and on catch-up in the U.K. on BBC iPlayer. It's totally FREE to view, provided you have a TV licence of course.

BBC iPlayer is available on pretty much any streaming device you can think of, including web browsers and through its smartphone app.

If you're outside of the UK when it's on, you can try using a VPN to get around the geo-restrictions that will prevent iPlayer from working. Scroll down for more information and instructions.

Watch Doctor Who specials from anywhere

How to watch the Doctor Who Special from anywhere in the world

If you live in the U.K., you can enjoy the new Doctor Who for FREE on the BBC iPlayer.

But what if you're usually based in the U.K. and pay the licence fee but are visiting the U.S. right now? Perhaps, you're on holiday and don't want to spend money on a paid streaming service in a foreign country when you'd usually be able to watch for free at home.

Don't worry — you can watch it via a VPN instead. We'll show you how to do that below. Our favorite VPN service right now is ExpressVPN, but you'll find others in our best VPN services list.


Speed, security and simplicity combine to make ExpressVPN our favorite VPN service. In our testing, we were impressed by its fast connection times and its ability to access more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 100+ countries. A 30-day money-back guarantee is also available if you want to try it out risk-free.

Using a VPN is incredibly simple:

1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.

2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance, if you're in the U.S. and want to view BBC iPlayer, you'd select U.K. from the list.

3. Sit back and enjoy the action. Head to BBC iPlayer and watch the Doctor Who stream as if you were in the U.K.

Watch the Doctor Who Special episode 3 by country

How to watch the Doctor Who Holiday Special online in the U.S. and Canada

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road will be available to watch in the U.S. on Disney Plus, landing alongside the U.K. broadcast at around 1 p.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET.

Watch Doctor Who in Australia and New Zealand

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Happily for Whovians down under and in New Zealand, the Doctor Who Christmas Special is heading to Disney Plus.

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Adam was the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversaw many of the articles the publisher produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Adam can still be seen dusting his keyboard off to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide, having started his career at consumer champions Which?.