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Doctor Who boss praises Ncuti Gatwa's "vast, turbulent and visible" emotional range

Doctor Who boss praises Ncuti Gatwa's
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Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies talks up the qualities of new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has talked up his leading man Ncuti Gatwa as a 'limitless actor' with a strong emotional range.

Gatwa, who took over from David Tennant as The Doctor last year, made his full debut in the Christmas 2023 special and is about to be seen in his first full series on board the TARDIS.

Speaking ahead of the show's premiere this weekend, Davies explained that he was looking for "a more emotional Doctor" to take the reins and was immediately blown away by the Sex Education star when he auditioned.

"He's limitless. That's really all you look for in every single actor," he said. "I've been so lucky over the years to work with people like this. There's a certain breed of limitless actors who are unafraid to go anywhere or do anything. An awful lot of acting is wanting to be liked, but they don't care about that. The good ones just want to be, to exist and to ride to the emotion, whether it is terror, or joy or all the emotions in between.

"And you're never quite sure where they're going to go. There's a great feeling of the unexpected. In a recording session, I listened to a line that Ncuti delivered off camera and it made me burst out laughing because it went the opposite way to what I was expecting. I was taken by surprise, and that's a lovely thing."

Davies continued: "Quite by chance, I wanted a more emotional Doctor, and lo and behold, we have cast someone whose emotions are vast, turbulent, and visible. He cries when it's sad, he laughs when it's funny, and he's got the biggest smile in the whole universe. When fear or suspicion play across his face, he signals wildly to the camera what's going on. You can't miss it.

"Historically, Doctors have tended to keep their emotions to themselves and play the game of being reserved. And the actors have done that brilliantly. But right now in 2024, I want a man who cries when it's sad. And Ncuti does that to an astonishing degree. I just genuinely feel lucky to be part of this now. With him in the TARDIS, it is wonderful."

The new series of Doctor Who begins with the release of the first two episodes this Saturday at midnight on iPlayer in the UK and Friday at 7pm ET on Disney+ in the rest of the world.

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