'Doctor Who' premiere date, plot details, poster revealed -- EXCLUSIVE

Doctor Who fans, your wait is almost over. EW has learned the premiere date of the new season of the international cult hit, plus some plot details and we have a first look at the show’s marketing art.

BBC America will launch Doctor Who on Saturday, April 23 at 9 p.m ET. That’s Part One of a two-part opener penned by showrunner Steven Moffat (who also did the BBC’s Sherlock reboot — rent it if you’re a Holmes & Watson fan and haven’t seen it yet). This season also includes guest star Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica). Alex Kingston (ER, Flash Forward) is returning for this round too.

The premiere description has the Brit team filming in North America for the first time: “The Doctor (Matt Smith), and his companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah — right to the Oval Office in 1969.”

Doctor Who underwent some changes last season when Moffat took over the lead writing duties on the show and Smith stepped into the starring role. The show jumped to record ratings for BBC America and was a top seller on iTunes behind only AMC’s Mad Men and Fox’s Glee.

Here’s an exclusive first look at the new Doctor Who poster:

Doctor-Who

Comments (183 total) Add your comment
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  • Sarah

    Yay! I am so excited. Matt Smith is so good as the Doctor.

    • Chelsea

      I agree. I don’t love him in the same way I loved David Tennant’s, but Matt has definitely been a pleasant surprise. DT is a hard act to follow, but MS has made the Doctor his own.

      • James

        Matt Smith was smart enough to develop his own interpretation of Dr. Who while still including a some of the excitement of how the David Tennant version of Dr. Who reacted to things.

      • Ma’at

        VERY well said. Feel the same way.

      • TB

        He’s okay, but I’ve been dissapointed in the Moff not giving him any really good thesping material to work on. Hopefully, he’ll do better by Smith in his 2nd season.

      • Harnao

        While I absolutly loved David’s encarnation of The Doctor, Matt Smith makes the charachter feel young and old at the same time. He’s whitty, refreshing, and eccentric. Exactly what you would expect from a madman in a box.

    • helen

      Christopher Eccleston was a fantastic Doctor. He and Patrick Troughton were the best. I do liek Matt Smith though. Tennant was an over acting fool.

      • Chelsea

        I actually couldn’t stand Christopher Eccleston’s! He’s a fine actor, I just didn’t connect to his doctor. And David Tennant is pretty much a god in my book so obviously disagree with you there.

      • jules

        They all have brought something special the role. But that said, I don’t think I ever would have “discovered” the Doctor without David Tennant. “Over acting fool” is pretty dismissive (and incorrect).

      • Lois

        David Tennant was a brilliant Doctor!
        Matt Smith is doing a great job, but doesn’t have the quality scripts that Tennant and Eccleston had.
        Moffat is doing a bad job on DW, unlike his excellent work on Sherlock. Perhaps he should stick with Sherlock and give another writer a chance to provide Smith with work worthy of his talent.

      • Casey

        Oh, I really like Eccleston’s! I’m watching his run for the first time right now. (Reeeally new to DW. Picked it up in January.) I’ve caught a few of Tennant’s, and I like his too. Matt Smith’s is the first Doctor I ever watched, so I like him best. But they’re all great.

      • Bob

        From what I’ve read in the blogosphere, SM is handing over more of the script writing to other, very talented people. So there’s hope.

      • Jet

        Matt Smith is fun, Tennant was excellent, but I LOVED Eccleston! Definitely my favorite Doctor (of the “new” era, anyway; Tom Baker takes the cake otherwise).

      • Anei

        Got to disagree with Lois on the script-writing. I only wish we’d had a chance to see Tennant in more Moffat scripts. Tennant is really quite good with subtle story lines, but he rarely got them. Moffat has a knack for subtlety that takes the series to a whole new level, as far as I’m concerned. I do adore Matt Smith, though, and I’m counting the days ’til series 6.

      • British at Heart

        I cannot wait until the new episodes come on and we can have the Dr. back. I can’t believe anyone would think that Tennant can’t act or would call him a fool… he’s a beautiful man with great acting skills. He is the reason I started watching again. I didn’t think anyone could ever replace him, but I have been very happy with Matt Smith-He has proven himself to be a great actor as well. These two men are by far, the two best Doctors.

      • Rose

        I agree with everyone who said that David Tennant is a great actor. I agree with Lois that Steven Moffat’s work in season 5 has been weak.

      • Deal With It!

        *tennant is an overacted fool*
        ???????Are you kidding?????? Tennant was the BEST doctor, you hating freak. I cant believe your that thick as to not LOVE DAVID TENNANT.

      • Victoria

        Christopher Eccleston got me hooked on Doctor Who, no one on North American TV (Patrick Stuart aside) has the TV presence that he has. It was the first show that I followed religiously and when he left, I was so heart-broken and disappointed that I stopped watching all together until last year. It was between watching that horrible SGU and the ‘new’ Doctor, and I thought, “eh”. So I gave David Tennant a chance and I’m so thankful I did, I love him, it’s not the same but he’s fantastic both on stage and off. I now own all the new seasons and I think I’ll enjoy Matt Smith once I finally get to those DVD’s, I really liked him in the x-mas special. I do hope that they don’t replace the Doctor with someone younger yet, there does seem to be a trend and I think an 18 year old Doctor would be ridiculous.

    • Steph

      I agree!

      I’d be awesome to se Matt Smith as the Doctor on the EW cover! C’mon EW- have a Doctor Who cover!

      • Gus

        That would be COOL! I would buy a copy & so would many other fans of the show.

      • Rose

        I agree! Doctor Who needs more publicity in the US. More Americans need to learn about this show!

    • ann

      Matt’s Doctor is wonderful – too bad his companion is so awful.

      • Vicki

        Oh c’mon! Amy Pond is fantastic! After Rose Tyler, she is my favorite companion. She’s strong, self-confident and not at all intimidated by The Doctor, who by the way is portrayed beautifully by MS. I LOVED DT as well, and I’m so glad that every one of the Doctor’s incarnations is unique to the personality of the of the actor who is portraying him!

      • Thomas

        I think Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble was one of the best, if not the best companion ever.

      • Katie

        @ Thomas – I totally agree! Donna was my fave.

      • Stig

        @Thomas – Absolutely. Donna was silly and annoying to start with, but evolved into one of the best companions in DW’s history. New AND old Who.
        Can’t say the same about Amy Pond, but I still like Rory and adobe River.

      • Deal With It!

        Donna was the best companion. 2nd best has to be rose and amy tied. 3rd, Jack. 4th, Martha, though she improved after she left the doctors side. I only dont like her because she was weak and too infatuated with DT, though I understand the infatuation, hes sexy, smart, and a wonderful actor!!

      • Long time DW fan

        Totally agree with Ann. I think Matt Smith is great as the new Doc, although like most, DT was my fav (and I have been watching since the 70s), BUT the character of Amy Pond annoys the hell out of me and Karen just can’t act. I’m so glad Alex will be coming back with her wonderful portrayal of River Song.

    • leo

      food for thought: under russell t. davies, “doctor who” won britain’s national television award for best drama for five years running [2005-2010], including best actor awards for christopher eccleston and david tennant [four times], not forgetting two best actress awards for billie piper. [the brilliant catherine tate was robbed when they stopped that award from 2007 on.] anyways, at this year’s NTA, “doctor who”, under steven moffat and matt smith, ended that winning run and walked away with nothing. moffat has done some great things for “doctor who”, like river song and the weeping angels, but as a showrunner, he’s lost the plot. and as for smith, he’s a much better doctor under davies, as seen in his guest appearance on davies’ still-running “the sarah jane adventures”. moffat and smith [and amy pond] is just a bad combination. maybe davies and smith, or moffat and tennat, would have worked better, but we’ll never know. still, i keep watching because i love the doctor, and there’s always hope that the next regeneration will be — in tennant’s doctor’s word — brilliant. allons-y.

      • Sky

        Doctor Who was up against other solid shows…and the fact that Sherlock was also up another Moff show…may have lead to a bit of a split in votes. Sorry but RTD while brill at first was wearing out his welcome

      • ELIZ

        I liked RTD but the series 4 finale was just ridiculous, even for doctor who standards.

      • leo

        yes, moffat’s “sherlock” was much better than his “doctor” and could have taken away some of the doctor’s mojo. but to deny davies’ five-year victory with the argument all the shows up against his “doctor” were rubbish, that’s a stretch. and for that matter, to call the series four finale “just ridiculous” is just ridiculous. true, towing the earth through time and space back to where it belongs was, well, a stretch [much like amy pond surviving for centuries in stasis and then re-imagining the entire planet's history in the series five finale]. but the “death” of donna noble ranks as one of the greatest, most memorable moments in davies’ “doctor”.

      • Margo

        I also think Matt Smith’s best performance as The Doctor was in the “Sarah Jane Adventures.” The scene where Jo Jones asks The Doctor why he never came back was beautiful. When The Doctor tells her that as #10 was dying he went to check on ALL of his former companions, Smith showed a depth of emotion that he hasn’t been able to with Moffat’s scripts.

      • Kelly

        The NTAs aren’t exactly a reward for quality programming, they’re a reward for the best rabid internet campaign to get fans to click. If Twilight could win, it would, regardless of the fact it’s not on television – its fans will vote in any poll.

        The Moff lost out at the NTAs because he worked on two excellent shows this year and split his fanbase. If he wanted to win an NTA he should have kept Sherlock for this year! I personally think Russell T Davies is a terrible writer but with the inbuilt fanbase and their internet savviness, the quality of his work didn’t matter.

      • smithfan

        leo: You make the assume that awards are the single or largest deciding factor about the quality of something. There are many top-quality pieces of literature and art that haven’t received accolades of any form, more still that haven’t received accolades on which people put the greatest importance.

        The drama, characters, and overall writing has been exceptionally improved with the first season of the Eleventh Doctor.

        The scene in Flesh and Stone for instance, where we see the Doctor from the collapsing timeline in The Big Bang who gives Amy a message that works on two distinct levels- in the context of Flesh and Stone it’s a morale-boosting distraction and in The Big Bang it’s his path to restoring his existence.

        It’s touches like that which mark out brilliant writing from merely entertaining writing; literature from mere fiction.

      • Long time DW fan

        I agree with Leo. As much as I loved the Steven Moffatt episodes during DT’s reign as the doctor, I have found the MS episodes just lacking. When you go back over the stories, there are too many unexplained paradoxes and cop outs (like the doctor saving himself from the pandorica because he does- WHAT!?). I think Steven Moffatt is brilliant, but there is something about the Moffatt/Smith/Amy Pond dynamic which just doesn’t work as well as previous series. I’m always glad when Amy gets trapped in the tardis and Smith gets to work his magic on his own! Much prefer Rory.

    • CANCEL THIS DRECK

      The show and characater are so insipid and unexciting. The BBC should save some pounds and cancel it forever. FACT! Trek is far superior. ANOTHER FACT!

      • Kelly

        Actually, both of your so-called facts are just opinions. FACT!

      • erin

        Then why are you here?

      • Sarah Jane

        You’re just sore because we Whovians dominated the Sci-Fi fandom before you Trekkies even had a show.

      • CANCEL THIS DRECK

        I am here to point out the insipidness of a stupid children’s show that mouth-breathing fools “THINK” is adult entertainment. FACT!

      • steven

        I like Doctor who AND star trek. you can’t knock a show that’s been on almost constantly since 1964. You also cant dismiss a culture that spawned 5 shows 8 movies. I think there’s room for all.

      • Aly

        Wow, is this argument still going on? I used to hear this back in the 80′s! Thanks for the memories, lol!

      • Victoria

        Star Trek and Doctor Who are my two favorite series’s and are regarded (at least in my uni lit courses) as being the same ‘tone’ of science fiction (the New Doctor Who obviously seeing a bit more action). There are books on the subject though. See “Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Star Trek and Doctor Who (Popular Fictions Series) by Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch” from 1995. At any rate, no matter how bad you might think this show is, most of the new shows on TV aren’t worth the spit to mock.

  • hazel

    SO excited about this! Dr. Who is a fantastic show!

    • Rock Golf

      No, no, no! Never “Dr.” Who.

      Always “Doctor Who”.

      Otherwise it’s not an anagram of Torchwood.

    • smithfan

      Also not “Dr.”, because such an abbreviation only ends with a . if the last letter in the abbreviation is not the same as in the word in its normal form.

  • mark

    last season was so fun, christmas carol was brilliant, cant wait either

    • whokiller

      Last season was fun? No, it was cheap looking with boring uncooked stories, the x-mas was great.

      • MR LAWLS

        NOPE.jpg. Last season was the best season of newho to date.

      • Rose

        Last season was the weakest season so far. Matt Smith is a good actor, so it’s not his fault. The fault is with the writing.

    • Stig

      The last season was a bit lacking. CGI looked good and they did well with smaller budget, but still, it could have been much Grander. A few weak episodes weakened the 5th season as a whole. Looking forward to the 6th season anyway!

      “Christmas Carol” was good – and very Christmassy!

  • Kate

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!! I’ve been waiting to hear this news since Christmas!

    • Marsue

      All of my qeusintos settled-thanks!

  • Laura

    OMG SO EXCITED! When will part 2 be? Will it premiere the same day in the UK or earlier?

    • Alex

      Doctor Who airs weekly in the UK, so it’ll air weekly in the US, too. 23+7 = 30.

      • Corwin

        There’s a rumour that the 2nd episode will air on Sunday 24th in the UK. Unusual, but this is the first time they’ve had a 2 parter as the opening story in a series.

    • Nessart2010

      IMDB states that 3/24 is the air date for part 2. Hope BBC America does the same.

  • Suzanne

    Can’t wait for the new season. This is one of my favorite shows on TV. I’m old enough to have seen every season since Doctor #4.

  • James Sutton

    WaHoo!!

  • Lucas Paraizo

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS! CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS!

  • Kristina

    YAY!!! I can’t wait until April!

  • Biblio

    Thank you, oh great BBCA Gods!!!!! I can’t wait!!!

  • song4ten

    While I’m glad Doctor Who is returning, I just wish it was with David Tennant. I still can hardly stand the greasy, lisping Matt Smith as the Doctor.

    • Reign

      Then don’t watch.

      • 125bst

        You know what? I agree with Song4ten. Matt Smith is so manic, he’s hard to understand, which makes the episodes hard to follow.

      • Rosey

        He’s not manic; he’s British. He speaks the same way as Christopher Eccleston did. David Tennant was Scottish. I did love Tennant, but I couldn’t stand his teeth. So I’ll take ‘greasy lips’ over horrid teeth any day.

    • Rose Tyler

      You know what? Tennant was an overacting, simpering fop compared to his predecessors. So there.

      • 125bst

        Wow! Really? Obviously you didn’t see his performance in the Season 3 episodes Human Nature and Family of Blood. David Tennant was fantastic. (Besides, Rose Tyler, didn’t you declare your love for Doctor #10 in Doomsday?)

  • Kristi

    David Tennent was the actor that I first saw as the Doctor, so, he holds a special place for me. Having said that Matt Smith is also a very good Doctor and I am just as happy to watch his doctor. So, happy for this return.

  • GC

    How do I get a copy of that poster???

    • kaytee

      I second that. It would look awesome in my daughters bedroom

    • AB

      Maybe you can order a copy from the BBC store? I’d love one too. Matt Smith is THE Doctor.

  • Luna12

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    I have been scouring the web for this date for weeks. Can’t wait! Love Matt so much as the Doctor, can’t wait to find out about River this season! I’m already sad that there will only be 7 episodes this spring.

    • steve

      what?!?! why will there be only 7 episodes. I havent heard anything about that. Hopefully they are just splitting it up or something. Do you have any other details of why this may be.

      • TomC

        The remaining 6 episodes will come after summer.Moffat seems to think it might keep fresher,and not have such a long hiatus b/w series.

  • Ms. Dipesto

    Can’t wait!! And I love the poster!

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