While working towards my final papers and facing deadlines, I figured out why not watch what was coming out for Doctor Who? I had heard sometime in late 2022 that the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whitaker) had finally regenerated into the Fourteenth, however, surprisingly the Fourteenth Doctor turned out to be David Tennant, who had previously been the Tenth Doctor in the late 2000s.
For all the people who don’t know BBC’s “Doctor Who,” this sci-fi fantasy show first premiered in the 1960s with a reboot in 2005. It centers around the adventures of the Time-Lord called the Doctor, a humanoid extraterrestrial being. The Doctor travels in and around the universe as well as time with his spaceship called the TARDIS. The Doctor usually travels with a companion or few and they often save lives and solve mysteries with wit and intellect. As a Time-Lord, the Doctor is able to regenerate into a new body, gender and personality if they ever get too injured to be saved, a plot device in order to introduce a new actor or actress as the Doctor to keep the show going.
The Fourteenth Doctor shocked fans around the world that David Tennant returned to the part, because there had been news that Ncuti Gatwa, known for his roles in “Sex Education” and “Barbie,” had been recently casted to be the next Doctor. Amid the confusion, the showrunners eventually revealed that David Tennant would play the Fourteenth Doctor for a set of three specials to celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary, before Ncuti Gatwa would become the Fifteenth Doctor for the upcoming Christmas special and new season.
On top of the three specials, the show brought a handful of former producers and actors back to the show, including old executive producer Russell T. Davies, and David Tennant’s old co-star and companion, Catherine Tate, playing Donna Noble.
New stars to appear in the specials include Yasmin Finney, a current star in Netflix’s “Heartstopper,” as Rose Noble, Donna Noble’s daughter, as well as Ruth Madeley as Shirley Bingham, a top UNIT scientist.
The first two specials featured enemies such as the returning Beep the Meep and the unknown, mysterious No-Things. The main foe in the last special is the Toymaker, an old foe of the Doctor’s, last seen during the First Doctor’s run back in the 1960s. He is portrayed by American guest star, Neil Patrick Harris.
Without spoiling too much, these specials were quite special. We saw David Tennant’s Doctor reunite with longtime-favorite companion of mine, Donna. On top of that, Davies makes strides in both acknowledging the importance of gender, sexuality, as well as physical disability. The specials focus on positively representing and respecting Rose Noble and her transgender identity. They also highlight Shirley Bingham’s use of her wheelchair, showing how she doesn’t need to use it a hundred percent of the time and how that’s okay. Even the Doctor is acknowledged as canonically being a genderfluid individual, whose pronouns differentiate whenever presenting as either male or female. This is great for them to do as the longest running science fiction show, which has always made strides towards expressing progressive ideals since their debut.
I am excited to see Ncuti Gatwa’s version of the Doctor as he will be the first Black person to be in the show’s lead role. As an actor, he shows great promise, and, in comparison to the other past incarnations of the Doctor, he seems to be the first version of the Doctor in a while to be both charismatic and mentally well. I can’t wait to learn more of the Doctor’s new personality and his new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in the upcoming Christmas special. I doubt people will be up in arms about what to expect of the Fifteenth Doctor because, as Davies said, “[the] path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun!”, which all seems extremely promising.