See The Amazingly Retro First Look At Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who

BBC has released the first look at Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor Who.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who

Now that Jodi Whitaker has retired from traveling through time and space in that famous blue box, fans can look forward to David Tennant temporarily resuming his most famous role as the Doctor. However, this is only temporary: Tennant is busy starring in other projects, including voicing a famous droid in the Star Wars series Ahsoka. But thanks to Deadline, we can now see what Ncuti Gatwa will look like in Doctor Who, and these pictures prove you don’t need a TARDIS to travel backward in time.

Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who

To help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the show, David Tennant is going to reprise his role as the Doctor for three special episodes, and we’ll see him reunited with Catherine Tate (sorry, shippers: there are no current plans to reunite him with Billie Piper). But after that, Ncuti Gatwa is going to become the face of modern Doctor Who. However, in a likely nod to the history of this famous series, he is dressed in the kind of ‘60s fashion that was in vogue when the show first premiered, as is his companion Ruby, played by Millie Gibson.

And at a glance, it seems like the series is trying to have its fish fingers and custard and eat them, too. Introducing Ncuti Gatwa as the first Black character to play the leading role in Doctor Who is a great way to bring in new fans, particularly younger fans who might be interested in this televised alternative to shows like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. At the same time, the temporary return of David Tennant as the Doctor and the not-so-temporary return of Russell T. Davies as showrunner may help to bring back fans that first fell in love with Doctor Who with its 2005 revival.

david tennant doctor who
David Tennant as Doctor Who

Fortunately, for all of the nostalgia bait, the introduction of Ncuti Gatwa is not the only way Davies and crew are trying to make Doctor Who a show that has generations (or should that be regenerations?) of fans, feel new. Taking obvious notes from the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the BBC is working on creating an ambitious “Whoniverse” of spinoff shows, including one that focuses on Jemma Redgrave’s popular character as she heads the military unit named UNIT (maybe all the good names were taken that day). 

And the BBC feels confident in the success of this universe because more fans will potentially tune in to see Ncuti Gatwa star in Doctor Who than have ever tuned in before. That’s because the network reached a deal with Disney+ to broadcast this show and its spinoffs outside of the UK. Honestly, this is a real win/win: Disney needs more popular programming beyond Star Wars and MCU content, and the BBC needs a massive audience to make this new season and its planned spinoffs a major success.

While we don’t yet know what role he will be playing, Neil Patrick Harris will also be joining Ncuti Gatwa in this upcoming season of Doctor Who. His last big sci-fi role was The Matrix Resurrections, and we’re excited to see whether his character is a friend or foe. At this point, we hope he reprises one of his earliest roles so that when the show inevitably gives us an homage to its famous crossover, The Three Doctors, we can see what an older and wiser Doogie Howser brings to the table.