Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who is officially ‘season one’ of a brand new era, says Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies says Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor Who run will be known as 'season one'.

Russell T Davies is officially heralding in a new era of the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who, confirming a “season one” rebrand.

The BBC will celebrate Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary later this month, with David Tennant and Catherine Tate reprising their roles as the Doctor and former companion Donna Noble.

Helmed by returning showrunner Davies (Queer As Folk, It’s A Sin), the trio of specials – “The Star Beast”, “Wild Blue Yonder” and “The Giggle” – also mark a fresh start for the series, which last aired in 2022 with 13th Doctor’s (Jodie Whittaker) shock regeneration in “The Power of the Doctor”.

Following the three full-length episodes, Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa will step into the Time Lord’s shoes for the festive special “The Church on Ruby Road”, alongside new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson).

Last year, the series struck a major deal with international streamer Disney+, allowing the 60th anniversary and beyond to reach a global audience.

The Davies rebrand has also seen the surviving Classic Who era episodes – some 700 were made between 1963 and 1989, but many are still missing – spin-offs and documentaries all land on BBC iPlayer for the first time.

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Now, in an interview with SFX Magazine, Davies has confirmed fan theories that Gatwa’s first full season (tipped to arrive in the spring) will be known as “season one” rather than season 14. He also hinted at more Disney surprises to come.

“Next year, season one. Yes, we’re calling it season one,” he said, as reported by Screen Rant.

The acclaimed TV writer was also responsible for the return of the series, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, in 2005.

Doctor Who initially concluded in 1989 (aside from the one-off TV movie in 1996) before Davies brought the show back. The 2005 reboot kicked off with season one, rather than picking up at season 27 in continuation with the Classic Who series. The move gained the show a fresh audience.

Doctor Who
Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson will appear in “season one” of Doctor Who in the new year. (@bbcdoctorwho/ Twitter)

The 60th anniversary and Gatwa’s run as the 15th – if you count Tennant twice – Doctor also boast major LGBTQ+ talent. This includes Yasmin Finney (Heartstopper) as Rose Temple-Noble, Neil Patrick Harris (Uncoupled) as The Toymaker, Jonathan Groff (Looking), Drag Race legend Jinkx Monsoon and rising trans stars Mary Malone and Pete MacHale.

Elsewhere in the SFX interview, Tennant gave his verdict on Gatwa’s Doctor.

“I have managed to admire, from afar, a little bit of Ncuti,” the Good Omens star said. “I’ve been sneaky. I’ve been sniffing around the studios, and I may have crept on set at one point.

“God, he’s good casting. It’s very exciting to think about what’s going to happen to the show when he takes over.”

Doctor Who returns on Saturday, 25 November with “The Star Beast” on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK. It will stream on Disney+ globally.