Russell T Davies explains how Ncuti Gatwa won Doctor Who role: ‘It was properly tough’
Ncuti Gatwa may be the first Black lead in Doctor Who’s history, but new showrunner Russell T Davies wants people to know that his casting isn’t just about “diversity and representation.”
When Gatwa was announced as the newest Doctor, fans were quick to heap praise on the inspired casting choice, with many lauding it as a great stride for diversity.
However, incoming show boss Russell T Davies made it clear it was Gatwa’s talent that secured him the role.
In an interview with RadioTimes, Davies said: “Simply the best actor walked into the room.”
The audition process was rigorous, with Davies requiring potential leads to learn an eight-page scene.
He explained: “Top, proper audition, not just standing there and giving Shakespeare. Really hard work. Me and Phil Collinson, the producer, were there. It was taped and it gets passed on. It’s tough, properly tough. And we do many versions of it, we do it lighter, funnier, harder.”
Ncuti Gatwa also had high praise for Davies, and at the BAFTA red carpet said: “Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself, and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger.”
Davies also had a message for fans worried that the Doctor Who format they have come to know and love could be in peril as the show is completely overhauled.
“I do want to reassure anyone you can just sit down and watch a fantastic 45-minute episode of Doctor Who,” he said.
“I’ve always had things to say in my dramas, and I always will and that’s why it’s a good drama, but it’s all new territory,” he said.
Ncuti Gatwa isn’t the first Black Doctor – that honour goes to Jo Martin, who plays the Fugitive Doctor – but he is the first Black actor to take on the role full-time, leading the show.
There have been rumours that star of Derry Girls and Bridgerton Nicola Coughlan could join Gatwa as the Doctor’s companion, although some fans have also suggested Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney as a potential casting.
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