What to expect from the Doctor Who series 14 premiere

The BBC series returns with two new episodes, Space Babies and The Devil's Chord

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in Doctor Who season 14
Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson star in Doctor Who season 14. (BBC)

Doctor Who will soon return for its fourteenth season, marking Ncuti Gatwa's first full outing as The Doctor alongside Millie Gibson's Ruby Sunday.

The BBC has revealed new details about the show's return, including episode titles and new casting information, so that fans can prepare themselves for a new adventure in the TARDIS. In a first for the series, and news that is no doubt exciting for fans, the show will return with a double bill.

Two new episodes, Space Babies and The Devil's Chord, will be made available on BBC iPlayer at midnight on Saturday, 11 May, and will then air on BBC One later that day.

The show's new release time marks a change for the franchise, which normally premieres directly onto BBC One before coming out on BBC iPlayer. This is because the series will also be available on Disney+ globally.

Here is everything that you need to know about the show's return.

Golda Rosheuvel in the Doctor Who episode Space Babies
Golda Rosheuvel plays Jocelyn in the first episode, Space Babies. (BBC)

Doctor Who season 14 is set to begin with the episode Space Babies, which will see Ruby venture out on her first expedition alongside The Doctor. Season 14 is also being called season 1, in a move that would describe the new season as a soft reboot of the franchise.

Written by Russell T Davies and directed by Julie Anne Robinson, Space Babies will be set on a spaceship and will see Ruby and The Doctor face a mysterious monster.

The synopsis reads: "Ruby learns the Doctor’s amazing secrets when he takes her to the far future. There, they find a baby farm run by babies. But can they be saved from the terrifying bogeyman?"

Read more: Doctor Who's biggest season 14 mysteries

The episode will also star Golda Rosheuvel, who takes on the role of Jocelyn. It is not yet known what Jocelyn's part in The Doctor and Ruby's story is, but it appears she is a member of the crew on the spaceship bing terrorised by a monster.

Davies said of Rosheuvel's casting: "It's been amazing to see the whole world appreciate Golda's talents, because of Bridgerton, and it's been an absolute joy to invite her to Cardiff to help launch Ncuti and Millie’s first season."

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in Doctor Who season 14 episode The Devil's Chord
Doctor Who heads back to the 1960s in The Devil's Chord. (BBC)

Space Babies will be closely followed by The Devil's Chord, which is set in the 1960s and will see the Doctor and Ruby meet The Beatles.

The official synopsis reads: "The Doctor and Ruby meet The Beatles but discover that the all-powerful Maestro is changing history. London becomes a battleground with the future of humanity at stake."

The episode will star RuPaul's Drag Race icon Jinkx Monsoon as an unnamed villain, who is described as being "the Doctor’s most powerful enemy yet". It has not yet been revealed who will portray the iconic musicians.

Davies has said there is a "great big battle" set in Abbey Road Studios "to save the universe, with people being flung all over the place... and a moving piano."

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in the Doctor Who Christmas special 2023
Critics have delivered their verdicts on the return of Doctor Who. (BBC)

The Doctor is in, and he couldn't have arrived soon enough. Early reviews for the first two episodes of Doctor Who's series 14 are circulating online, with the overall consensus suggesting this latest outing was worth the wait.

CinemaBlend's review of episodes Space Babies and The Devil's Chord starts with a bold proclamation, saying that none of the Doctor's many transformations have been as "significant" as this one. Their write-up continues to say audiences "haven't seen anything yet" regarding Gatwa's performance.

Total Film's critique was also positive, teasing the show's dedication to fan service but also Davies' determination to push the character into bold new places.

"One of the great things about Davies' anything-goes approach to Doctor Who is that, quite frequently, he'll come up with ideas that are so outlandish and bizarre that they're obviously brilliant," says their spoiler-free review.

Meanwhile, The Guardian said the show's debut double-bill "points to a stellar future for Who as a youthfully chaotic playground of the imagination," with Deadline adding that "Davies offers callbacks to past iterations of the show – with a twist."

Men's Journal joined in the celebration by calling Gatwa "an absolute joy to watch," with The Telegraph saying that the star "shines" in his proper series debut.

Time will tell whether audiences agree with these verdicts.

Doctor Who series 14 premieres on BBC iPlayer in the UK at midnight on 11 May, and it will then air on BBC One later that day. The series will also be available on Disney+ globally.