David Tennant praises Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who performance

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In an interview with Variety, Fourteenth Doctor actor David Tennant revealed that he had the opportunity to watch Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor in action.

“Oh God, what a force of nature. I’ve caught a little bit of him at work and it’s pretty exciting,” Tennant enthused, concluding with “You can see Ncuti has so much talent and energy. He’s so inspired and charismatic.”

When asked what advice he would give Gatwa as he takes over the role, Tennant described to Variety the fame that comes with it.

“The thing about something like this is: it’s the peripherals, it’s not the job. It’s the other stuff that comes with it, that I didn’t see coming. It’s a show that has so much focus and enthusiasm on it. It’s not like Ncuti hasn’t been in a massive Netflix series [Sex Education]. but Doctor Who is on a slightly different level. It’s cross-generational, international, and has so much history, that it feels like it belongs to everyone.”

“To be at the centre of the show is wonderful and humbling, but also a bit overwhelming and terrifying. It doesn’t come without some difficulties, such as the immediate loss of anonymity. It takes a bit of getting used to if that’s not been your life up to that point. I was very lucky that when I joined, Billie Piper [who portrayed on-screen companion, Rose] was still there. She’d lived in a glare of publicity since she was 14, so she was a great guide for how to live life under that kind of scrutiny. I owe a degree of sanity to Billie.”

“Having been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a tiny kid, you’re aware of how much it means because you’re aware of how much it meant to you. My now father-in-law [who portrayed the Fifth Doctor in the 80s] is someone I used to draw in comic strips when I was a kid. That’s quite peculiar! It’s a difficult balance because on one end, you have to protect your own space, and there aren’t really any lessons in that. That does take a bit of trial and error, to an extent, and it’s something that you’re sometimes having to do quite publicly. But, it is an honour and a privilege, without a doubt. As you’ve said, it means so much to people and you want to be worthy of that. You have to acknowledge that and be careful with it. Some days that’s tough, if you’re not in the mood.”

Doctor Who will return in November 2023 with three 60th anniversary specials starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as companion Donna Noble titled The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder and The Giggle.

In the following festive period, Ncuti Gatwa will star in his first full Doctor Who episode as the Fifteenth Doctor in the Doctor Who festive special alongside Millie Gibson as companion Ruby Sunday.

A new 8-episode Doctor Who series starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby will debut in 2024.