So, I’ve been a bit delayed in posting about the news about our new Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa! The news was announced last week at the BAFTAs by incoming returning showrunner Russell T Davies, who was joined on the red carpet by his new star.
Ncuti Gatwa is 29, making him amongst the youngest actors to be cast in the role, and is of course, the first actor of colour to take the main role but crucially not the first actor of colour to play the Doctor – that honour goes to Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor who made her debut in Fugitive of the Judoon. Gatwa is Rwandan but his family escaped the Rwandan genocide in 1994 to move to Scotland, and would ultimately go to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which boasts some Doctor Who alumni amongst their ranks, including Alan Cumming, Tony Curran and some guy called David Tennant. Anyway, it makes him the fourth Scottish Doctor, after Sylvester McCoy, Tennant and Peter Capaldi.
Gatwa seems to be an actor on the rise, having come to prominence playing Eric in Netflix’s Sex Education. I’ve only seen the first episode of it (due to my own inability to watch streaming series that drop all in one go rather than week by week…). I’m currently in two minds about watching more of it – mainly because I’m tempted to go in cold with regards to seeing an actor I know almost nothing about play the role of the Doctor. It’s almost like Matt Smith all over again.
Whilst preparing this blog post, the BBC and the production company Bad Wolf have announced that David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be returning to the show in some capacity for the show’s 60th Anniversary next year! It’s not clear yet whether this will be in a story also featuring Ncuti Gatwa or something standalone.
Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.Russell T Davies
David Tennant, of course, last appeared as the Doctor on screen in The Day of the Doctor opposite Matt Smith and John Hurt. He has also returned to the role with Big Finish, and has a couple of releases coming out this year including Wink, opposite Colin Baker, and The War Master: Self Defence opposite Sir Derek Jacobi. Catherine Tate last appeared on screen in Tennant’s regeneration story, The End of Time Part Two. She has also appeared in two Big Finish releases opposite David Tennant, as well as her own spin-off box set Donna Noble: Kidnapped.
I’m really excited by all of this news – the Ncuti Gatwa casting story feels like a great piece of casting, whilst the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate is also lovely news. I wonder if this might be the first announcement of returning Doctors for the 60th Anniversary year – I’m holding out for Paul McGann, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi to appear in some capacity too – and I’m curious about what this means for when we will see Ncuti Gatwa on screen for the first time. The 60th Anniversary might seem a bit daunting for a new Doctor and overcrowded if there are former cast members returning!
Oh, and needless to say, I’m still hyped for the (as yet untitled – come on Chibnall, do some publicity) BBC Centenary Special coming this Autumn! It’s so nice to see things announced in advance though – like they were in the RTD and Moffat eras. Whilst surprises like the reveal of the Master worked really well in Spyfall, it would be nice for the show to have some publicity!