‘Doctor Who’s Ncuti Gatwa Says He’ll Share the Screen With the First Doctor

The Big Picture

  • Ncuti Gatwa will be the first person of color to officially lead Doctor Who for a full series, a groundbreaking milestone for the show.
  • Gatwa’s Doctor will have a unique encounter with the First Doctor, William Hartnell, setting it apart from previous appearances of the character.
  • The future of Doctor Who looks bright, with Gatwa already filming his second season and a series of specials celebrating the show’s 60-year history.

He complimented the cinematic juggernaut Barbie as one of a plethora of Kens, he made people cry and laugh in equal measure as Eric Effiong in Netflix’s groundbreaking Sex Education and now rising star Ncuti Gatwa has the keys to the TARDIS, as he is set to embark on adventures in time and space as the 15th lead actor in renowned British science-fiction series Doctor Who. But there is more to Gatwa’s incredible new role, as the Scottish-Rwandan actor revealed recently at GQ’s Men of the Year party in London. Gatwa will share scenes with the very first Doctor, William Hartnell.

“I shouldn’t say this, but there was a scene that I somehow shot with the first Doctor, William Hartnell,” Gatwa told the audience as he was honored at the London ceremony. We ended up in the same scene together and to see that history, and now a Black man as the doctor…,” he added before being interrupted by a round of applause. “I’m very very, very grateful”. Gatwa will become the first person of color to officially lead Doctor Who for a full series – stepping into the TARDIS for the 2023 Christmas special and beyond, which will be broadcast on Disney+ in the United States and other international markets, as well as the BBC on the show’s home soil in the United Kingdom.

What Makes this First Doctor Appearance Unique?

Gatwa’s revelation is unique in the fact that his Doctor will come face to face with Hartnell’s interpretation of the First Doctor. In recent years, the First Doctor has appeared throughout modern episodes of Doctor Who, notably in the 2017 Christmas Special, ‘Twice Upon a Time’ opposite the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi and more recently opposite the outgoing 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker, in the first-ever female Doctor’s final episode, ‘The Power of the Doctor.’ However, on both of these occasions, the First Doctor was portrayed by actor David Bradley. The fact that technological trickery has been employed for Gatwa to share the screen with Hartnell instead of Bradley’s recreation of the character sets this news apart from the recent norm.

‘Doctor Who’ is Celebrating Ahead of a Bright Future


Gatwa’s future incarnation of the Doctor is already embarking on filming his second season, with returning showrunner Russel T Davies at the helm and actress Millie Gibson alongside him as companion Ruby Sunday. However, before Gatwa takes the reigns of the show, Davies and returning stars David Tennant (as the 14th Doctor) and Catherine Tate will be front and center of three specials, beginning on Saturday 25 November with ‘The Star Beast,’ that will celebrate Hartnell kicking off the beloved series 60 years ago.

Doctor Who 2005 Poster

Doctor Who

Release Date
March 17, 2006

Jodie Whittaker, Peter Capaldi, pearl mackie, Matt Smith

Main Genre

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi



BBC America

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