Doctor Who will return later this year in a long-awaited eleventh season (since its modern reboot, that is), heralding the arrival of a new Doctor, a new showrunner, and an even bigger first: a female star.

The BBC is notoriously secretive about its flagship sci-fi series, and series 11 is no exception. Still, we've gleaned together everything we can, and here's what we know so far about the upcoming series of Doctor Who.

When does it start?

After a lot of teasing, the BBC has finally confirmed that Doctor Who will return to our screens on 7 October with the first episode, titled 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth'. Calendar fans may note with surprise that that's a Sunday, as the BBC has made the big move of shifting the show from its classic Saturday night slot.

What we don't yet know is what time the show will air each week, but expect it to be somewhere between 6 and 8pm unless the BBC is planning another major change.

In the meantime though, you've got plenty of time to catch up on older episodes. That's helped by the BBC's decision to add every single episode of the show since 2005 - including all the specials - to the iPlayer streaming service, announcing that they'll stay online until at least the season 11 finale. That means you get every episode from every Doctor from Christopher Eccleston to Peter Capaldi, without paying a penny.

How can you watch season 11 in the US?

Obviously Doctor Who is a British show, but in recent years BBC America has been better about airing the show as close as it can to the British air date, to minimise piracy. That'll be the same this year - the BBC has confirmed that BBC America will air the season premiere live in the US, as it airs in the UK, then repeat it in its regular evening Sunday slot, which is when every subsequent episode airs.

That means for episodes after the premiere there'll be a few-hour delay. If that's still too much of a gap, and you want to watch episodes as they air live in the UK, you can use a VPN to stream episodes on iPlayer as if you were in the UK. Bear in mind that this is a breach of the iPlayer terms of use, since you won't be paying the licence fee, but it will let you watch new episodes the moment us Brits get to.

That's also what you'll have to do if you want to take advantage of the BBC's to decision to add every episode of the show's modern era so far to iPlayer - so grab a VPN if you know you've missed a few and want to catch up.

Will there be a Christmas special?

Right now, the BBC hasn't officially announced a Christmas special this year (which has been a Doctor Who tradition since its relaunch), only officially confirming a 10-episode order for the main series - but showrunner Chris Chibnall has teased it pretty heavily:

"We seem to be filming 11 episodes, and it's only a series of 10," Chibnall said before Comic-Con. "I would definitely think there's another episode after the end of the series, yeah," he added.

Who are the Doctor and companions?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you've probably already heard the biggest news about the new season (or, uh, already read it in our intro): this year, for the first time ever, the Doctor will be played by a woman.

Jodie Whittaker is the woman taking on the honour. If you're not familiar with the name, you might know her from detective drama Broadchurch or her role in one early Black Mirror episode, although she's had plenty of other British TV and film roles over the years. You can get a good look at her in costume from a few different angles in these officially releases stills from the upcoming series:

Doctor Who season 11 stills

She won't be the only new face in the Tardis though, as she'll be joined by not one, not two, but three new companions: Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill. Unfortunately, we don't know much about them beyond character names (Graham, Ryan, and Yasmin respectively) but going by those we can at least guess they're probably playing humans. Sharon D. Clarke is also set to have a recurring role in the series as Graham's wife.

One thing we know is that the dynamic in the Tardis won't be romantic this time around. "We are a friendship group in this season," Whittaker told The Times. She also directly said "no" when asked if there would be a romance between the Doctor and a companion, though added: "But we all love each other."

A leaked clip from the first episode shows off the Doctor's first meeting with Ryan and Yasmin - we won't link to the clip here, but it is still available online, despite the BBC's best efforts to take it offline. The BBC has even filed an application with a California court to find out who leaked the unfinished clip, suggesting it's taking the matter pretty seriously.

There's change behind the camera too though, with a new showrunner in charge. Steven Moffat stepped down together with the departure of Peter Capaldi, after running the show since 2009, and has been replaced by Chris Chibnall.

If you don't recognise his name, you might also know it from Broadchurch - he's the guy in charge of that other hit BBC show, so it all makes sense. He's not totally new to Doctor Who though, as he previously wrote five episodes of the show between 2007 and 2015, starting with 42.

There's one final big change: longtime composer Murray Gold has also departed the show, having worked on Doctor Who ever since its 2005 reboot. He'll be replaced by up-and-coming talent Segun Akinola, a member of BAFTA's 2017 'Breakthrough Brit' program, whose work has so far mostly soundtracked short films and documentaries. He'll be composing all of the new season's incidental music, along with the new take on the iconic theme tune.

Watch the trailers

The BBC has released a few different clips to promote season 11 of the show, but we'll get straight to the main thing you want to watch: the first official trailer for the series, unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con, which you might have already watched at the top of the page:

Then there's the second full trailer for the show, released just two short weeks before the season premiere, which gives us an even better look at a few of the settings the show plans to explore:

That was the first actual official footage from season 11, but before that the BBC gave us a few other teasers and clips to enjoy. The first is the tease that revealed Jodie Whittaker to the world as the Doctor, first aired immediately after the Wimbledon men's final in 2017:

If that's not enough for you, the BBC uploaded the last few minutes of Peter Capaldi's final episode, last year's Christmas special, which includes his regeneration and Whittaker's first few minutes in the role:

We also have the first official teaser for season 11, aired during the World Cup final, but it doesn't feature any actual footage from the show itself, only footage filmed for the brief teaser:

Plot and story rumours

Right now, we know very little about Chibnall's plot plans for the show, which is expected to follow Doctor Who tradition and explore a different story each week - to the extreme that this year there will be no two-parters, only ten fully standalone episodes.

As we said above, we know that the season premiere will be called 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth', and we now have a synopsis too:

'"We don't get aliens in Sheffield." In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O'Brien are about to have their lives changed forever, as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky. Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?'

We also now know the same about episode two, which is titled 'The Ghost Monument' and features appearances from Shaun Dooley, Art Malik, and Susan Lynch:

"Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends stay alive long enough, in a hostile alien environment , to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom and Epzo?"

Both those first two episodes are written by Chibnall, with writers for other episodes including author Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime (Skins), Vinay Patel (Murdered By My Father), Pete McTighe (Wentworth) and Joy Wilkinson (The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby) 

We do know a little about one of the plots to come: acclaimed actor Alan Cumming admitted that he'll be playing Scottish monarch King James I in one episode, adding that he'll be a "baddie", which is pretty much par for the course for royalty in the show.

The secrecy so far is very much on purpose, as Chibnall explained at the show's Comic-Con panel:

"I think there's a lot of new things this year. There's new worlds, there's new characters, there's lots of new guest characters. New dialogue, new camera angles," he said. "It's really so that we can get it to you guys and everyone else in the world at the same time all polished. … I really love television when it's a communal experience … I want you guys to all be talking about it at the same time, and we have things you're not going to want to be spoiled for."

That panel did at least reveal one specific detail: the design of the new sonic screwdriver, which looks strangely organic this time around. Does that mean the Tardis control room could have a similar redesign? Here's a better look at it: