Has the Doctor’s new best friend been cast? Plus, filming set to start in November, Gatwa named one of Time’s Next 100, and Russell T Davies talks script plans for Series 15!
It’s been another busy couple of weeks for the Fourteenth Doctor, as Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies prepare to take up the Doctor Who mantle. Most significantly, filming on Series Fourteen appears to be edging ever closer. On the 24th of September, Davies posted an image on Instagram of himself, Gatwa, returning producer Phil Collinson, and long-time Who casting director Andy Pryor. That combination, particularly the presence of Pryor and Gatwa together, led to a good deal of speculation. Could the hunt for the new Doctor’s companion or companions have reached the final stage: reading with the Doctor himself? If so, it’s another sign that we’re very almost at the point we’ll soon be seeing a new Team TARDIS barrelling along the backstreets of Cardiff.
So too is Gatwa’s shaving of his moustache, oddly enough. He posted on social media that he already missed it, hinting it was for a part, and there’s only one role on his upcoming schedule. Meanwhile, though fans got excited about his Instagram of himself in a clothes fitting, dubbed ‘Doctor Prada’ in its description. However, that turned out to be a fitting for his red carpet look for the premiere of his Barbie and Sex Education co-star Emma Mackey’s new film Emily. Not that revealing the new Doctor’s costume in such a low key way was ever very likely anyway.
Time Magazine has named Ncuti Gatwa one of its up and coming stars in its annual 100 Next list
Certainly, according to UK Casting News, Doctor Who Series Fourteen begins filming in Cardiff next month. The site, appears to be effectively a subscription based source aggregating casting notices across the industry for prospective actors. And it’s listed Doctor Who for November, though there’s no more details publicly available yet. It’s a little unclear, but as actors looking for speaking roles would presumably have their own agents to make them aware of opportunities, UK Casting News are likely reporting on a casting call for background artists. So it’s actually possible some filming might happen in advance of that, if it features just the principle actors, without crowd scenes.
In other Ncuti Gatwa news, he’s been named by Time Magazine as one of their Time 100 Next list for 2020. The 100 Next list brings together one hundred up and coming figures from across the arts, industry, sports, and politics who are on the cusp of greatness. Writing for Time, Gatwa’s new boss Russell T Davies said:
“The man is like a thunderbolt, and he keeps winning new ground: Ncuti Gatwa’s creation of Eric Effiong in Netflix’s Sex Education went soaring around the world. The character of the gay sidekick is meant to stay in the shadows. Not Eric! He strutted in, stole the spotlight, and I think a gracious, awestruck cast simply stood back and allowed him the room.
“I’d watched him onscreen, and thought I had the measure of him, until he walked into the room for Doctor Who audition. Bang! Thunderbolt. And bear in mind, for U.K. TV, the part of the Doctor is the Crown Jewels, it’s history, it’s tradition, it’s … Oh, sod that, I said, and threw it at him.
“He’s conquered the world. Now all of time and space is his.”
Russell T Davies has been talking about tackling important issues like climate change on Doctor Who
Meanwhile, Russell T Davies has even confirmed he’s already thinking about his ideas for Series Fifteen! Talking to the Climate Creatives conference, he spoke about how climate change and, more crucially, the human tendency to ignore inconvenient emergencies, will be tackled in Gatwa’s second series in the role. And along the way, he also dropped the news that the new episodes will be fifty minutes long.
“It is difficult to write about, because drama is about: I love you, I hate you. But there are ways, there are means.
“I started [writing] Doctor Who […] in 2004. I was very worried that children, that audience, was always being taught about death and destruction. There’s an actual speech in episode two, where Christopher Eccleston sort of says, ‘the human race, you’re always worried the weather’s gonna kill you. Or eggs, or beef, or viruses. […] Actually, you survive. Because I wanted to do something that was… that didn’t have children- walking to school thinking: oh my god, we’re going to die.”
“They’re such a genius, you think: ‘well, why don’t you step out the TARDIS and fix this problem?”
“It’s very interesting coming to Doctor Who now in 2022,” continued Davies, “where you sort of think actually… and again, I want to provide optimism for that audience. Particularly, like, a six year old watching it. I want to provide optimism. I want to provide hope. But that speech seems a bit hopelessly naive now. I think you have to be more detailed now. You have to be a bit more honest. What I mean is I think, now, the young audience would react to the thing like, ‘don’t be so stupid.’
“It’s genuinely hard, because the Doctor is such a genius. It’s an inbuilt problem with the show. They’re such a genius, you think: ‘well, why don’t you step out the TARDIS and fix this problem?’ And then you have to dig deep, work, and then he makes a moral speech. ‘well, it’s up to the human race to solve that problem.’ Which is a very true speech. It’s also a dodge. So it’s very difficult.”
Doctor Who Series Fifteen will look at how humanity ignores approaching crises until its almost too late
“Why doesn’t he walk out that TARDIS and cure cancer? Why doesn’t he fix the ozone? It’s a tricky one. And you’ve also got to take a deep breath, and say, ‘that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to have an enormous rattling adventure for fifty minutes, and have fun, and make an audience so happy.’ And that is a very, very important thing. But there are stories, you know, there are stories that are on the way, specifically looking at stuff like that. Not all the time. But it has to become part of the whole atmosphere of the show. It has to be, because it’s true. It’s the world we’re living in now, and you know, I’m much more interested in trying to look at… I think, looking forward to season two, which is taking a look at how we ignore these things.
“The key is to engage the heart. And that’s through characters.”
Doctor Who returns later this month with The Power of the Doctor for Jodie Whittaker’s final episode