How to watch 'Doctor Who' Christmas special: Stream 'The Church on Ruby Road' from anywhere

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) exchange glances in "The Church on Ruby Road".
It's the start of a new era for Ruby Sunday and the Doctor in this year's "Doctor Who" Christmas special. (Image credit: Lara Cornell/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
'Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road': Key information

 Airs at 5:55pm GMT, 12:55pm EST and 9:55am PST on Christmas Day
 UK: Watch for FREE on BBC One and BBC iPlayer
• Away from home: Use a VPN such as ExpressVPN to watch your usual service from anywhere
• US, Canada and Australia: Disney Plus has the rights to stream "Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road" internationally

We saw much more of Ncuti Gatwa's new Doctor than we were expecting in the last of the "Doctor Who" 60th anniversary episodes. Now, after that unexpected bi-generation in "The Giggle," the 15th incarnation of the Time Lord is making his full debut in this year's "Doctor Who" Christmas special.

This article will tell you everything you need to know to watch "Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road" FOR FREE on BBC iPlayer in the UK. In case you're going to be away from home on Christmas Day, we also explain how you can use a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, to stream "Doctor Who" via your usual service from abroad.

The Doctor has long been a fixture of the BBC's festive line-up, but this year's Christmas special comes with added excitement. Not only will we see Gatwa's Doctor in action, but we'll also get our first introduction to Ruby Sunday, a new companion played by Millie Gibson. 

According to the BBC's official synopsis: "Little is known about Ruby Sunday as she was abandoned on Christmas Eve as a baby. Now living with her mum, Carla and grandmother, Cherry her world is about to be turned upside when she encounters the Doctor and the two set off on their first adventure together.”

The story will also feature flying ships and goblins, which should make for some ideal family viewing sessions this Christmas Day. Below, we explain how to stream "Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road" wherever you are in the world. And just in case you want to spend the holiday season catching up on the previous six decades of adventures in the TARDIS, check out our "Doctor Who" streaming guide.

Related: Doctor Who streaming guide: Where to watch Doctor Who online

How to watch 'Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road:' Stream for free in the UK


"Doctor Who" has been a big part of BBC One's festive schedules since it returned to British screens in 2005, and this year — after a run of New Year's Day episodes — "The Church on Ruby Road" brings the show back to a primetime Christmas Day slot. UK viewers can watch the Time Lord in action at 5:55 p.m. GMT on Monday, Dec. 25. 

The festive "Doctor Who" episode will also be available on BBC iPlayer at time of broadcast. 

If you're in the mood for even more "Who" this holiday season, all three 60th anniversary specials — "The Star Beast", "Wild Blue Yonder" and "The Giggle" —  are available to stream on iPlayer. They're free to view if you have a valid TV License, a legal requirement for watching BBC content in the UK. 

The BBC streaming service also features adventures from classic "Doctor Who" (from 1963-1996), and the show's 21st century revival (2005-2022), as well as every new episode as Ncuti Gatwa pilots the TARDIS into 2024 – and beyond.

And if you're going to be outside the country? You can always use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer from wherever you are. More on that below...

How to watch 'Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road:' Stream from anywhere

If you're a U.K. resident enjoying your own adventures through space and time — or simply abroad — you can still watch this year's "Doctor Who" Christmas special for free on BBC iPlayer. However, due to geoblocking restrictions, you won't be able to use the service as you would at home. 

Luckily, downloading a VPN allows you to stream your favorite content from anywhere. These simple pieces of software can change your IP address, allowing you to access on-demand content or live TV just as you would at home.

(Don't forget that you'll still need a valid TV License to view "Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road" while overseas!)

Get ExpressVPN

Get ExpressVPN

There are loads of VPNs to choose from, and ExpressVPN is one of the best. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out for a month for free, or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.

We recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

  • Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)
  • Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

How to watch 'Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road:' Stream on Disney Plus


Disney Plus is now the international home of "Doctor Who." That means that viewers outside the U.K. can catch the "Doctor Who" Christmas special — as well as the three 60th anniversary episodes — on the streamer. 

Episodes debut on Disney Plus at the same time they appear on BBC iPlayer, meaning that "The Church on Ruby Road" will materialize on Christmas Day, Monday Dec. 25.

And remember, if you're a Brit away from home, you can still use ExpressVPN to tune in via iPlayer from abroad.

"Doctor Who" Christmas special teaser

If you can't wait to unwrap your big TARDIS-shaped Christmas present, take a quick peek at what's in store in "Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road" in the teaser below:

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Richard Edwards Contributor

Richard's love affair with outer space started when he saw the original "Star Wars" on TV aged four, and he spent much of the ’90s watching "Star Trek”, "Babylon 5” and “The X-Files" with his mum. After studying physics at university, he became a journalist, swapped science fact for science fiction, and hit the jackpot when he joined the team at SFX, the UK's biggest sci-fi and fantasy magazine. He liked it so much he stayed there for 12 years, four of them as editor. 

He's since gone freelance and passes his time writing about "Star Wars", "Star Trek" and superheroes for the likes of SFX, Total Film, TechRadar and GamesRadar+. He has met five Doctors, two Starfleet captains and one Luke Skywalker, and once sat in the cockpit of "Red Dwarf"'s Starbug.