Ncuti Gatwa reveals surprise cameo in new Doctor Who series: ‘I shouldn’t say this…’

Ncuti Gatwa shares the reason why he never though he would land his role in Doctor Who.

Queer Sex Education actor Ncuti Gatwa has revealed that he’ll star alongside a very special guest when he takes the lead in Doctor Who later this month.

At the end of November, three 60th anniversary special episodes will air, featuring the return of trans ally David Tennant as the Doctor, and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble.

During the specials, Ncuti Gatwa will take over the role, becoming the first queer, Black Doctor in the show’s six-decade history.

While a host of acting legends and LGBTQ+ stars have been confirmed to appear in the specials – and the new series when it lands in 2024 – there’s one surprise cameo no one saw coming.

Speaking at the GQ Men of the Year ceremony in London last night (16 November), 31-year-old Gatwa reportedly told the crowd: “I shouldn’t say this, but there was a scene that I somehow shot with the first Doctor, William Hartnell.

“We ended up in the same scene together and to see that history, and now a Black man as the doctor… I’m very, very, very grateful”. 

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Doctor Who actor William Hartnell.
William Hartnell as the very First Doctor in Doctor Who. (BBC)

William Hartnell played the first incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966, seasons one through to four. He also returned to the show during season ten, in 1972/1973.

However, the actor died from heart failure two years later, in 1975.

While the First Doctor has appeared on the show since Hartnell’s death, most recently in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode in 2022, the role was played by David Bradley. 

It’s likely that tech advancements have enabled Hartnell’s interpretation of the Doctor to return to the screen to star alongside Gatwa.

While most fans are elated at the news, some are worried that Gatwa might have gotten himself in some hot water with the show’s writer, queer TV legend Russell T Davies, for spilling the beans.

“That’s an interesting way for Ncuti to hand his notice in to Russell T Davies,” one person joked on X, formerly Twitter.

“I’m shocked he said something that spoilery but oh my Godddddddd,” another remarked.

“‘I shouldn’t say this’ and then says it. We have no choice but to stan. I’m confused but we stan,” a third added.

Alongside Gatwa, Tennant, Tate, and Hartnell, the upcoming 60th anniversary specials and new season will feature stars including Drag Race champ Jinkx Monsoon, Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney, national treasure Miriam Margoyles, How I Met Your Mother actor Neil Patrick Harris, Juice actor Mawaan Rizwan, and trans newcomers, Mary Malone and Pete MacHale.

The first Doctor Who special will air on BBC and Disney+ on 25 November.