The best shows for 10 year olds to enjoy right now

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and The 15th Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) in The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023
(Image credit: Lara Cornell/BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)

Here's our guide to the best shows for 10 year olds to enjoy right now, including dazzling drama and plenty more informative, entertaining and funny shows to suit maturing and inquisitive minds.

Most 10 year olds are looking to move on from traditional "kids" TV shows in the search for something a little more challenging and grown-up. It can be tricky to know what will keep them engaged but still be suitable for their enquiring young brains, so here's our pick...

Here's the best shows for 10 year olds…

Doctor Who

This is absolutely the perfect time for your 10-year-old to get into Doctor Who. The Doctor Who 60th anniversary is here, with the BBC showing three specials, with David Tennant back in the show as the 14th Doctor. We also have the Doctor Who Christmas special 2023 airing on Christmas Day, which is the first full adventure for Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor. Not only that if you're in the UK the BBC has put almost every episode on BBC iPlayer to enjoy. Personally, our 10-year-old started out with David Tennant's first series as they found the Christopher Eccleston era a bit scary!

Why Watch: With a brilliant team of writers, it tells a great story week in, week out. It’s full of action and full of heart and love for the human race. 

Our 10 year old says: "This is my absolute favorite show. It’s a bit scary in parts but I like the thought there are aliens all around us and how the Doctor works together with her friends to save us."

Where to watch: Disney Plus in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK

Number of Seasons: 13 (since the 2005 revival)

Episodes: In total from the beginning over 800!

Average episode length: 44 mins


Ghosts season 5 on BBC iPlayer

(Image credit: BBC)

OK, this doesn't seem obvious but our 10-year-old absolutely loves Ghosts and has crashed through all five seasons! They also love US Ghosts and have watched all those! The odd joke is a bit adult and whizzes over their head, but essentially this is a heart-warming family-friendly comedy. Made by the team behind Horrible Histories (also something our 10-year-old enjoys), Ghosts revolves around Alison (Charlotte Ritchie), who inherits a vast haunted house. And, after suffering an accident, she can see and talk to all the ghosts. The US version is very much along the same lines. 

Why watch: Gentle and funny.

Our 10 year old says: "I just love all the ghosts, they are so funny."

Where to watch: The UK and US versions are available on BBC iPlayer. While in the US both versions are on CBS.

Number of Seasons: 5 UK seasons, 2 US seasons.

Episodes: Over 60 across both versions

Average episode length: 30 mins

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, season 3

TV tonight Sofia Wylie and Matt Cornett go back to school.

Sofia Wylie and Matt Cornett go back to school. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

We’re all in this together as we catch up with the Wildcats for a third season. In High School Musical season 3 the gang have swapped the hallways of East High for Camp Shallow Lake, a theatre summer camp in Los Angeles. There will, of course, be all the drama of a new production to put on, pulling out all the stops and letting everything go as Frozen is the chosen musical. 

Olivia Rodrigo (Nini) is a guest star only rather than a regular character in this new season, with Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and social media sensation JoJo Siwa also guest starring. Joshua Bassett (Ricky), Matt Cornett (E.J.) and Sofia Wylie (Gina) return as regulars.

Why Watch: It’s great to catch up with familiar characters but in a new location and the music, as always, is brilliant. The characters are fun with plenty of emotion and light-hearted teen angst. 

Our 10 year old says: "It’s great fun to watch and we love the singing."

Where to watch: Disney Plus

Number of Seasons: 3

Episodes: 27

Average episode length: 35 mins

The Healing Powers of Dude

Noah and his emotional support dog Dude.

Noah and his emotional support dog Dude. (Image credit: Netflix)

Meet Noah, an 11-year-old boy who’s struggling to cope with his social anxiety disorder. As this heart-warming series begins it’s Noah's first day at a new school and he’s not exactly confident about how he’s going to manage. On day one he doesn't even make it through the door, so his mum and dad decide an emotional support dog called Dude is the answer. 

Dude is, well, a bit of a dude, in the fact that he’s not the well-behaved dedicated support dog that many people will expect. Viewers can hear him talk and he’s funny and sarcastic and very effective at making a show about mental health accessible and very watchable.

Why Watch: A great way to start a conversation about mental health. It also shows how a panic attack physically feels for Noah using some clever camera tricks. It’s  funny, sweet and full of positive messages about the power of love, friendship and  the importance of man’s best friend.

Our 10 year old says: "It teaches you that dogs can do anything and that everyone is different.”

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 1

Episodes: 8

Average episode length: 25 minutes

Man Vs Bee

Rowan Atkinson stars.

Rowan Atkinson stars. (Image credit: Netflix)

Rowan Atkinson is arguably best known for giving us the awkward and accident-prone Mr Bean. In this nine-part series of shorts he makes a welcome return to our screens playing an equally bumbling house-sitter called Trevor, who’s assigned to look after a luxury mansion and ends up getting into all kinds of scrapes… with a bee! 

With strategically placed statues, priceless paintings and a lively dog thrown into the mix, you can see the jokes coming a mile off in Man Vs Bee but the physical comedy will delight viewers of all ages. 

Why Watch: In easy to watch bite-sized episodes this will have the whole family giggling as Trevor gets himself into more and more of a mess as he tries to look after a swanky house. 

Our 10 year old says: “It’s really funny and it has Mr Bean in it!"

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 1

Episodes: 9

Average episode length: 12 minutes

The Prince of Peoria

The cast of this family-friendly drama.

The cast of this family-friendly drama. (Image credit: Netflix)

A Netflix original series about what happens when two cultures collide. Thirteen-year-old Teddy Jackson lives with his mum Regina, who invites a foreign exchange student called Emil to stay, much to Teddy’s horror. 

But Emil is no ordinary kid, he’s a prince, trying to blend in as a, “ordinary teenager.” Lonely in his luxurious palace, he comes to America to find a best friend, with lots of laughs coming from his attempts to be just your average American teenager.

Why Watch: It’s a fun and positive watch as Teddy and Emil end up helping each other to achieve their dreams. They may be from very different backgrounds but that doesn’t get in the way of their eventual friendship.

Our 10 year old says: "It’s really funny and makes me laugh so much. Teddy and Emil are really good friends and really good at helping each other.”

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 2

Episodes: 16

Average episode length: 26 minutes

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, season 3

He-Man returns for an action-packed series.

He-Man returns for an action-packed series. (Image credit: Netflix)

The third season of the re-imagining of the original 1980s series, hits the ground running as He-Man and the gang must pull on all the resources they have to stop the evil Skeletor from taking over the cosmos. 

The team are also battling against Krass, who was manipulated into joining Skeletor at the end of season 2. She seems set on battling against her former friends, but has she really forgotten how much they mean to her? And can He-Man convince her to come back? 

Why Watch: It looks amazing and is full of action and strong storytelling about the power of friendship and collaboration. 

Our 10 year old says: "You just can’t stop watching it because you need to know the end. It’s really exciting and action-packed.”

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 3

Episodes: 26

Average episode length: 25 minutes

You vs Wild: Out Cold

Bear Grylls lights a fire.

What will you do first – shelter, water, or food? (Image credit: Netflix)

Following on from the first You vs Wild season in 2019, Bear Grylls released a second interactive film, which begins with him hanging upside down in a tree following a plane crash. He’s lost his memory and needs your help to survive, so what’s first – food, shelter or water?

Viewers choose what Bear should do next and his survival depends on it so young fans need to make sure they choose wisely. From the basics of survival to running from a wolf, if you’re not fast enough Bear soon lets you know, "what are you waiting for, quick make a decision!" he yells.

Why Watch: It’s absolutely absorbing as you guide Bear through some tricky decisions. It’s exciting and fun to be in charge of his fate and a good lesson in survival skills and quick decision making too. 

Our 10 year old says: "This is really fun to watch and take part in. It feels a bit scary sometimes because it feels so real, I felt the pressure to get things right, but in a good way!"

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 2


Average episode length: 14 to 25 mins depending on your decisions. 

Crazy Delicious

The judges and host of Crazy Delicious.

Who will win the golden apple? (Image credit: Netflix)

A cookery show where the set is as edible as the end results. Three passionate home cooks compete over three rounds to impress a trio of judges (known as "The Gods") chefs Heston Blumenthal, Carla Hall and Swedish cookery sensation Niklas Ekstedt. 

Sounds like any other cookery show so far doesn’t it? Well, this series is a must see for younger viewers because it’s presented in such a magical and imaginative way. The contestants gather their ingredients from an edible forest, where everything, even the glasses and watering cans, can be eaten.

Why Watch: A great show for encouraging young imaginations to run wild. Food becomes fun and playful where nothing is what it seems and the possibilities for creativity and flavour are endless. 

Our 10 year old says: "They have to reinvent things like pizza, hot dogs and burgers using different ingredients and some mad ideas. And they have a whole forest that is edible, even the rocks – it’s amazing."

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 1

Episodes: 6

Average episode length: 45 mins

His Dark Materials

The cast of His Dark Materials.

Lead character Lyra goes on a thrilling adventure.  (Image credit: BBC)

His Dark Materials with Lyra and Pantalaimon (voiced by Kit).

(Image credit: BBC)

Based on the trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman, the series follows a girl called Lyra and her spirit animal known as a daemon called Pan. She fearlessly takes on the authorities, known as the Magisterium and the controlling Mrs Coulter (who also happens to be her mother), to rescue her friend Roger, who has been kidnapped by the mysterious Gobblers. 

Alongside her rescue of Roger, she also longs to discover more about the work of her Uncle, polar explorer Lord Asriel. He’s investigating a substance known as Dust and how it connects parallel universes.

Why Watch: The cast is outstanding with actor Dafne Keen as the fearless Lyra, Ruth Wilson as the terrifying Mrs Coulter, James McAvoy as the maverick Lord Asriel and Lin-Manuel Miranda as aeronaut Lee Scorsby. Sophisticated and brilliantly done, an absolute must-see.

Our 10 year old says: "I like the thought of being connected to an animal like Lara is to Pan."

Where to watch:  HBO Max in America and BBC iPlayer in the UK

Number of Seasons: 3

Episodes: 23

Average episode length: 50 mins

The Last Kids on Earth

The stars of the Last Kids on Earth.

The unstoppable kids from this fun cartoon. (Image credit: Netflix)

A fast-paced animation about 13-year-old Jack Sullivan as he battles to survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by monsters and zombies.

Based on the books by Max Brallier the action begins with a feature length special as Jack gets used to life on his own. He lives in a tree house as he tries to work out how he’s going to survive and rescue his best friend Quint and school crush June. 

Why Watch: Despite the chaos around them the kids do an amazing job at surviving, it’s funny and shows what great teamwork can achieve, even in the face of a 40-foot purple monster and an army of zombies. 

Our 10 year old says: "The children outlast the adults because they live using their instincts and still party everyday! They are not even scared of the zombies."

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 3

Episodes: 21

Average episode length: Season 1 is a 67 minute special, followed by two seasons of 10 episodes of 23 mins each. 

The Deep

The Nekton family – mum Kaiko, dad Will and teenage children Ant and Fontaine –are explorers who travel the ocean depths in their state of the art submarine, The Aronnax.

In episode one the family head off to investigate reports of dragon sightings off the coast of Greenland. As they arrive they meet a mysterious local called Nereus who gives Ant an interesting letter encouraging the family to investigate further. 

Why Watch: The family work together to solve intriguing underwater mysteries, practical Fontaine and enthusiastic Ant are great at what they do, but they are also a typical brother and sister who bicker and fall out too. 

Our 10 year old says: "It shows that if you look down under the sea you will find much more than what’s up in the sky. Also, Ant is really funny, especially when he talks to Jeffrey, his pet fish."

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 3

Episodes: 52

Average episode length: 21 mins

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

The stars of Unit 99

What will be the fate of Clone Force 99? (Image credit: Disney+)

Part of the Star Wars franchise and a spin off of the 2008 series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Bad Batch follows a motley crew of elite clone troopers called Clone Force 99. 

In the first feature-length episode Unit 99 are stunned when Jedi Master Depa Billaba is suddenly killed by her own troops. It doesn’t sit well with most of Unit 99, who are used to thinking for themselves and not always following orders.

When they are later sent out by Admiral Tarkin to wipe out a group of insurgents, orders they once again don’t follow, they soon find themselves running for their lives. 

Why Watch: Clone Force 99 are all strong and likable characters – a fun group of rebels who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and always have each other’s backs. 

Our 10 year old says: "I like the characters, they make a good team but are all individuals, and the action scenes, there’s a lot of fighting and great battles."

Where to watch: Disney Plus

Number of Seasons: 2

Episodes: 32

Average episode length: Normally 25 minutes 

Total Drama

A cartoon that takes an ironic look at the craze of reality TV. Set at Camp Wawanakwa, 22 contestants arrive to take part in a competition and are disappointed to discover their home for the next eight weeks is a nasty old summer camp rather than the five-star luxury they were promised. 

It’s full of big characters and plenty of sarcasm and put downs that can be cruel, but we like how it takes an unsubtle swing at the culture of being famous for any reason. The contestants have to take part in increasingly horrible challenges that reminds us of a mixture of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Running Wild with Bear Grylls.

Why Watch: An interesting take on reality TV, with a sharp sense of humour that will appeal to the more mature 10 year old who’s already so over reality TV because it’s just like soooooo 2021!

Our 10 year old says: "The contestants really suffer to the delight of the hosts, it’s cruel but funny!"

Where to watch: Netflix

Number of Seasons: 2

Episodes: 54

Average episode length: 22 mins

Operation Ouch

Twins and doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken star. (Image credit: BBC)

Real life twins and medical doctors Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand van Tulleken discover what we are really made of, spend time behind the scenes at hospitals and carry out lots of awesome experiments to show how and why our bodies do what they do.

From marvelous muscles to brilliant brains, plus tons of information about a whole range of conditions and illnesses affecting children, the pair present medical and scientific facts in a fun and engaging way. It’s not for the squeamish but it’s great for getting older kids thinking about science and biology in a new way. 

Why Watch: The brothers are great fun and every episode is packed full of information and fascinating facts. It also celebrates the hard working medical staff that we all need at some point in our lives. 

Our 10 year old says: "It’s educational and fun at the same time. It’s good to see what happens in a hospital and I like it when they go behind the scenes and see what jobs people do that we don’t appreciate as much as we should."

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, CBBC, BBC iPlayer.

Number of Seasons: 11

Episodes: Over 100

Average episode length: 28 mins

Joanne Lowles
Freelance writer and editor

Joanne Lowles has been writing about TV since 2002. After graduating from Cardiff University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism, she worked for All About Soap magazine covering the ups and downs of life on the cobbles, the square and the Dales. 

Next came nearly 10 years at TV Times magazine as a writer and then deputy features editor. Here she spent many happy days interviewing the biggest names in entertainment and visiting the sets of some of our most popular shows including Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing

With a love of nature and wildlife she’s also interviewed the leading experts in this area including David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall. She’s also travelled the world visiting Mongolia, Canada and South Africa to see how the best in the business make the most brilliant natural history documentaries. 

Freelance since 2013, she is now is a digital writer and editor for What to Watch, previews the best on the box for TV Times mag each week and loves being constantly surprised, entertained and informed by the amazing TV that she is lucky enough to watch.