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A new Doctor in the house

A new Doctor in the house

Sonic screwdriver at the ready… The greatest sci-fi series in British TV history returns for a new series, with Ncuti Gatwa at the TARDIS controls. We don’t mind telling you we’re excited

By Chris Miller, Feature Writer

We were excited when the Fourteenth Doctor bi-generated into the Fifteenth at the climax of the three 60th anniversary specials in November. We were overjoyed when the Fifteenth Doctor went on his first brilliant adventure at Christmas. But with the imminent arrival of a full series, the anticipation levels are frankly reaching fever pitch.


It’s always a huge thrill for fans when a new Doctor begins their run in earnest and their persona emerges, allowing us to see what kind of Time Lord they’ll be. Capricious? Reserved? Amiable? Grumpy? It’s also when we get to know the companion(s), and the characters, actors and audiences alike have huge fun exploring what their dynamic will be like. This is one of the great pleasures of Doctor Who, a show that constantly reinvents itself and always presents new aspects to enjoy (as well as the galactically horrifying threats the Doctor has to deal with in every episode).


We loved those 2023 specials and the Christmas episode, but come on, the last full series ended all the way back in December 2021! We need our weekly fix of Who, and we’ll get it from Saturday 11 May when the first two new episodes arrive. They’ll be available first thing Saturday – literally first thing, dropping at midnight – in Apps > BBC iPlayer and then will be shown at 6.20pm on BBC One HD (CH 101).


Here’s a look at the new series…


Excuse us for a moment, but: SQUEEEEEE! Here are the things we’re looking forward to the most…


Two words. Ncuti Gatwa

To say that Ncuti Gatwa is the stand-out star of Netflix’s Sex Education is an understatement. His role as Eric Effiong is one of best and most memorable TV performances of recent years, and Gatwa proved himself capable of serious drama, comedy, romance and pathos. Eric is inquisitive, charismatic, witty, loyal to his friends and impeccably dressed, while at the same time he’s always searching for something… remind you of anyone?


Gatwa followed up Sex Education with a note-perfect performance as a Ken in 2023’s gigantohit Barbie, leaving an indelible impression whether mansplaining 90s indie rock or demonstrating remote control use in a spiffy cowboy outfit. He’s an actor we always want to see more of. And what better way than as the headline star of one of Britain‘s most iconic TV shows?


It‘s a happier, brighter Doctor

When Fifteen bi-generated from Fourteen (David Tennant) on a London rooftop, leaving his predecessor to a life of contentment with the Noble family, he left a lot of his trauma behind too. While the Doctor contains multitudes, and that will always include the melancholy of the endless traveller, right now we’re ready for a Doctor who’s in a good place. We saw the green shoots of that in the Christmas special, “The Church On Ruby Road”, and Russell T Davies says the new series will be like “a big warm hug from a friend”, which sounds perfect to us.


Oh yes, Russell T Davies is back

We enjoyed Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall’s stints as Who showrunners – they provided lots of absolutely brilliant moments in the show’s history. But Russell T Davies, the writer who revived the series in 2005, is unmatched when it comes to this show. He’s a simply masterful writer – as other work such as It’s A Sin, Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal and Years And Years has proved – and, having grown up as an obsessive fan, Davies knows what makes Doctor Who work like no one else. We’re delighted he’s back.


The costumes look fabulous

We’ve been teased with some wonderful 60s outfits, which will appear in the second new episode, “The Devil’s Chord”, in which the Doctor encounters the Beatles – and presumably saves them from an intergalactic threat because who would want a world without the Beatles? The trailer also offers a glimpse of a trip to Regency England with all its ostentatious finery. And the Fifteenth Doctor himself seems likely to be more fashion-conscious than previous incumbents, as in “The Church On Ruby Road” when his incredible bolero hat and kilt made a big impression.


The guest stars are intriguing

We can’t wait to see Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon as a cackling villain, as teased in the second trailer, and we’re agog at the prospect of Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter, Frozen) reacquainting himself with period costume after his stage turn as George III in Hamilton. Other guest stars we’re looking forward to include Indira Varma (formerly of Torchwood), Lenny Rush (Am I Being Unreasonable?) and Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk).


And popular characters will be returning, including UNIT bigwig Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), Sixth and Seventh Doctor companion Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford) and Donna’s daughter Rose Noble (Yasmin Finney). Perhaps the most intriguing, though, is Anita Dobson’s Mrs Flood, as seen in “The Church On Ruby Road”. Although she appears a normal human woman, hints were very much dropped, and fan theories have connected her with everything from The Flood (the villains from classic episode “The Waters Of Mars”) to the Doctor’s wife, River Song (based on the aquatic name).


Emotional new themes will emerge

Davies has stated he will adhere to the Timeless Child storyline introduced for Thirteen, which revealed the Doctor is not a Gallifreyan as thought but an alien from an unknown part of the universe, raised by an adoptive mother, Tecteun. A foundling, in other words – much like new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson), who we’ve already seen being left on the steps of a church as a baby. So neither knows their true origin. That’ll give them something to talk about as they travel together…


They’ve gone for a Murray

Murray Gold, that is – the legendary composer and musical director who worked on the revived series until 2017, creating many much-loved variations on the world-famous theme tune and much more. His expansive, orchestral style was a huge part of what made the 2005 revival so successful and memorable, and it’s key to what makes Doctor Who such a special show. He’s already produced a Christmas hit with “The Goblin Song” and our ears are eager to hear what other gems he brings to this series.


When is the new series of Doctor Who on TV?

Series 14 (or 40, if you’re old-school) of Doctor Who begins with a double bill, starting at 6.20pm on Saturday 11 May on BBC One HD (CH 101). Both episodes will be available in Apps > BBC iPlayer from midnight on Saturday 11 May (ie Friday to Saturday night).


Episodes will be available weekly following the same pattern: 12am Saturday on BBC iPlayer, early Saturday evening on BBC One HD.

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Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.

Image Credit: Doctor Who © BBC STUDIOS 2023 / Bad Wolf / James Pardon