60 years of Doctor Who, a television marvel and the longest-running sci-fi series of all time. Doctor Who is a worldwide phenomenon and dominates science fiction, to celebrate the anniversary fan favourites David Tennant and Catherine Tate returned to the BBC sci-fi show 60 years after its first-ever episode was broadcast.
David Tennant played the Fourteenth Doctor for three hour-long specials in November 2023, then Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa succeeded him as the Fifteenth Doctor.
Gatwa is the first black queer actor to take on the challenge of The Timelord and it is beyond exciting to watch him on screen, bringing his unique take on the classic persona. Gatwa’s Christmas Day Special introduced us to his new sidekick as well as showing us a glimpse into what this new Doctor will be like. Taking a page out of Tennant’s book I expect to see a flamboyant, physical and comedic approach to the role. Gatwa’s style of acting is borderline slapstick and incredibly tangible. I thought his charismatic and charming nature on screen was extremely likeable and brought a sense of seduction to the role.
Written by the Welsh triumph, Russell T Davies and filmed in various Welsh locations including Cardiff and Newport; the return of Doctor Who looks to be a nostalgic comeback for Welsh fans.
Incorporating familiar and original storylines, encouraging a new generation of audiences to fall in love with the classic series along with charming old fans to revisit their beloved characters. David Tennant’s three episodes consist of The Star Beast, Wild Blue Yonder and The Giggle, each with its complex narrative and sentimental look into the past. The Giggle (EP03) starred Neil Patrick Harris as The Toymaker, an immortal entity who forces his victims to play a series of difficult games and tricky challenges, with the outcome deciding whether or not they will remain his toys forever. This episode felt the most sentimental, with a voice of the show’s history and homage to the past villains, aliens and visual beauty of the show.
Doctor Who is a beloved staple of British television history because of its unique way of regenerating and moulding itself into society and altering its narrative to conform with modern ideologies. David Tennant’s Anniversary specials broke audiences in slowly to the reinvented Doctor, using an intelligent mix of practical special effects and CGI whilst consistently bringing comedy and intelligence to the plot. Audiences also witnessed a new generation of The Doctor, harmonising with societal constructs of gender and using an intuitive way of referencing specific communities. To some, these additions may seem unnecessary but for a new generation of Doctor Who lovers, these inclusive plot points encourage them to feel seen.
Most people can identify with Doctor Who, whether you are a die-hard fan or just simply watched one episode as a child. Most have a connection to the show, I believe Ncuti Gatwa’s new Doctor will reinvent the series and catapult it into mainstream media, a global takeover. The Doctor has never been so relatable and the change in character could draw more audiences in and encourage The Doctor to uncover worldly stories that mirror reality whilst being a beacon of hope and encouragement for a select group of viewers.
You can catch up with Doctor Who on streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, Disney Plus and more. Find it on BBC iPlayer here.
Reviewed and written by Film Probe.