Here’s our first look at Ncuti Gatwa’s ‘explosive’ Doctor Who Christmas special

First look at Millie Gibson (L) and Ncuti Gatwa (R) in Doctor Who Christmas Special

The BBC will “welcome a new Doctor” on Christmas Day, and viewers have finally had their first official glimpse of Ncuti Gatwa in his Doctor Who debut.

Gatwa is expected to make his first appearance as the 15th Doctor at the end of the final 60th anniversary special, “The Giggle”, on Saturday (9 December), when David Tennant’s Time Lord regenerates.

According to the BBC, Gatwa will embark on his “first epic adventure” in the festive special titled “The Church on Ruby Road”, where he will meet his future companion Ruby Sunday, played by Coronation Street star Millie Gibson.

The official synopsis is still being kept under wraps, but showrunner Russel T Davies teased what to expect during an appearance on BBC’s Morning Live. “It’s really exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s explosive, it’s brilliant,” he said.

“You’ve seen Ncuti in Sex Education, he is just the most phenomenal human being. Christmas Day is a new start again, come and join a new adventure.”

TV presenter Davina McCall and rising trans star Mary Malone will also feature in the story.

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The first-look image shows the Doctor and Ruby standing side-by-side against a wooden, rope-wrapped pole, in what appears to be a shed. The Doctor is grinning at his new travelling companion who is staring back with a more-concerned look.

The second image features a more poignant look, with the Doctor standing in the snow, dressed in a brown leather jacket.

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The side profile shows him gazing off into the distance with a single tear running down his cheek. Only time will tell what is troubling him.

Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor in the Christmas special.
Ncuti Gatwa takes over the keys to the Tardis in time for the Christmas special. (James Pardon/BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)

Gatwa will appear on The Graham Norton Show on Friday, 15 December in the lead up to his first adventure.

The TV star makes history as the first queer Black actor to play the iconic British role. In a recent interview with GQ, he spoke about what it means to play Gallifrey’s most-famous exile.

“I’m a good actor [but] this is a 60-year-long British institution and I’m a Black man, so I never thought that I’d be chosen to front something that is basically the heart of the BBC,” he said.

His first season, expected to air in early 2024, will be packed with LGBTQ+ talent and stunning costumes. Jinkx Monsoon, Jonathan Groff and Pete MacHale are just a handful of queer guest stars due to be seen in upcoming episodes.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday 2 December with the second 60th anniversary special, “Wild Blue Yonder” on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will stream globally on Disney+.

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