Ncuti Gatwa reveals his Doctor is “very human” and full of hope

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In an interview in The Big Issue, Ncuti Gatwa described what he will bring that is new to the role of the Doctor.

“I think that is for everyone to see at Christmas. You know what it’s like. Anything I say will get dissected, people will be like, this is exactly what it’s going to be. And I don’t want to paint anyone’s perceptions. But I guess he is very human.”

Gatwa’s full name is Mizero Ncuti Gatwa.

“Mizero means hope. So I must remember to have hope. Because what else is there? And this show always reminds me of that. There’s always hope at the end of each episode.”

Showrunner Russell T Davies writes scripts full of peril but always threads hope and joy through each one.

“Russell doesn’t shy away from big, bad danger. The scripts are intense, they’re energetic, they’re funny and light, but also very dark and heavy. You know, the way he writes – he’s dealing with such existential crises and huge issues channelled in a really artistic, creative sci-fi way.

But hope is certainly something he has put into these scripts. He told me the other day that you have to have hope in life… Hope is what saves us.”

Gatwa will star in his first full Doctor Who episode, The Church on Ruby Road, on Christmas day.

“…Christmas can be hard for some people. It’s not joy, joy, joy for everyone. Not that Doctor Who will be the cause of everyone’s Christmas happiness – but it might bring the joy for many people. It’s nice to have that show that encapsulates ideas of coming together with respect and love.”

Showrunner Davies, who was also interviewed in The Big Issue, affirms Gatwa brings something very special to the role.

“With Ncuti, I feel like I’ve got a lovely, lovely secret that I’m keeping close to my chest and that soon everyone is going to see. Because he does things the Doctor has never done before. Without me writing it at all, he explores areas that Ncuti himself naturally goes into, he reacts in ways you have never seen the Doctor do before.

It feels new and it feels completely Doctor Who-y all at the same time. I literally cannot wait. I think The Church on Ruby Road is one of the best episodes we’ve ever done. It’s such a laugh. It’s so much fun. It’s so thrilling. It’s so mad. It has an enemy the like of which we’ve never done before. It has a fairytale quality to it. It has snow. It’s Christmas. I love it!”

The Church on Ruby Road will be available exclusively on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and Ireland and exclusively on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland on 25 December.

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

The Big Issue, a magazine which gives homeless people and those at risk of homelessness the opportunity to earn a legitimate income, is available from local vendors and by subscription.