Doctor Who fans thrilled as Ncuti Gatwa makes first appearance after regeneration twist

Ncuti Gatwa wearing an unbuttoned white shirt

Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor regenerated in Sunday’s (23 October) episode of Doctor Who, starting the new Russell T Davies era with a bang.

Warning – spoilers.

But in a last minute twist, instead of regenerating into the the expected 14th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa, the episode ended with 10th Doctor, David Tennant, appearing instead.

There was heavy speculation this might be the case with David Tennant and Catherine Tate who played Donna Noble 2006-2010, set to return for three 60th anniversary specials in November 2023. 

And, to clear things up, in a statement released by Davies afterwards, he clarified that Gatwa would in fact be the the 15th, not 14th, Doctor.

However, Gatwa fans, fear not because in the teaser trailer we also got our first glimpse of the Sex Education star as the Doctor. It is all very confusing and all very Doctor Who.

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Fans also got their first looks at Tennant, Tate and Ncuti in action, which has only added to the anticipation for next November.

If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way!” Russell T Davies said.

“The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? 

“How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”

Alongside Tennant, Tate and Ncuti, the specials will also see the arrival of Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney as Donna’s daughter Rose and Neil Patrick Harris and the villain.

Fans on social media have reacted to the dramatic plot twist with excitement and fan theories galore, as RTD’s new era is heralded in.

And for fans eagerly awaiting Gatwa’s time to shine, even Tennant himself is looking forward to it, saying in an interview with the BBC: “[Gatwa is] scarily good, brilliant, I think the world has got a very exciting new doctor to look forward to.”

People are buzzing for the magic of Tennat, Tate, and Gatwa on their screens together, in particular with the return of a fan favourite Doctor.

“That trailer for the new season was chaos, David Tennant back, Catherine Tate back, Neil Patrick Harris shows up and then obviously Ncuti Gatwa is there. Pure chaos,” one fan wrote.

While another added: “I’m in genuine disbelief, David Tennant is the Doctor! My childhood is rushing back to me. 2023 is going to be a good year!”

Doctor Who is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.