Inside Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa’s new sonic screwdriver
Ncuti Gatwa, who has been cast as the fifteenth incarnation of the Doctor in BBC science fiction series Doctor Who, has recalled being called into showrunner Russell T Davies’ office over behaviour that was deemed “unacceptable”. The Sex Education actor opened up about the challenges of moving across from an X-rated Netflix show to a more family-friendly one.
The 31-year-old star made his first appearance as the new Doctor this weekend in the pre-Christmas episode The Giggle, which starred David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Neil Patrick Harris as the villainous Toymaker. Show boss Russell has explained how, as the show moves on to a new era, he hopes Ncuti’s presence will help usher in a whole new wave of Doctor Who fans.
However, the transition from Sex Education hasn’t been completely smooth for Ncuti. During an interview for the Radio Times Christmas issue, he was asked about whether his actions off-camera – specifically when he posed for a nude photoshoot in British Vogue – sparked concern amongst the show’s producers.
The actor replied: “I did think, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got my kit off so I’m probably going to get a couple of phone calls about this.’ But, no, they’ve been very encouraging.”
Surprisingly, it was something else that caused alarm bells to ring for head writer Russell. Ncuti went on to reveal that it was his bad language that actually landed him in hot water.
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“The only time I’ve ever gotten in trouble for anything was when I swore [while wearing] a Doctor Who costume,” he remembered.
“I got called into Russell’s office. Woo! And he let me know that that’s not acceptable.
“He said, ‘Do what you want when you’re out of costume, but when you’re in costume, do not let us catch you swearing.’
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“I was like, fair enough. And I guess that was a lesson,” he added thoughtfully.
“For the last four years I’ve been co-leading an X-rated show, and so I’m on a constant journey of learning what it is to be a PG role model and the lead of a family show.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ncuti talked about how Russell has a desire to “push the show forward”.
Asked if the Doctor’s race would be directly addressed in the show, Ncuti confirmed: “Yes, definitely. It would be stupid if we didn’t. The Doctor has always walked into unknown situations and taken charge with authority.
“Historically, there’s only really one demographic of people that are able to do that – and it’s certainly not a woman, and it’s certainly not someone black. Thank God, things are changing.”
Read the full interview with Ncuti Gatwa in the Radio Times Christmas issue.
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