Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa shares why he got in trouble with showrunner Russell T Davies

Ncuti Gatwa has shared some insight into the differences between filming Doctor Who and Sex Education, claiming that showrunner Russell T Davies once had to tell him off.

The actor was announced as the newest lead of the long-running sci-fi series in 2022 and finally made his debut in the role last week to much acclaim.

However, Gatwa, 31, has said that the transition to a family-oriented programme after years of working on Netflix’s Sex Education, which takes an unfiltered view of sex, lust and romance at a high school, has not always been smooth.

Ncuti Gatwa (James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
Ncuti Gatwa (James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

“The only time I’ve ever gotten in trouble for anything was when I swore [while wearing] a Doctor Who costume,” he said in the Radio Times Christmas issue.

“I got called into Russell’s office. Woo! And he let me know that that’s not acceptable. He said, ‘Do what you want when you’re out of costume, but when you’re in costume, do not let us catch you swearing.’”

Gatwa was receptive to the critique and went on to explain that he considered the talking-to a lesson in how he needed to adapt his expectations for a different show.

“I was like, fair enough,” he continued. “And I guess that was a lesson. For the last four years, I’ve been co-leading an X-rated show, and so I’m on a constant journey of learning what it is to be a PG role model and the lead of a family show.”

The most recent Doctor Who episodes celebrated the 60th anniversary of the much-loved programme, and saw the Doctor regenerate from David Tennant to Gatwa.

However, this introduction of a new Doctor surprised fans by breaking with a long-held tradition.

Gatwa made his debut alongside David Tennant (BBC/Doctor Who)
Gatwa made his debut alongside David Tennant (BBC/Doctor Who)

Warning: spoilers for the most recent Doctor Who episode follow.

Typically, the Doctor will regenerate into their next form, essentially killing the previous actor off. However, Tennant underwent a “bi-regeneration”, which means that, rather than the one Doctor transforming into a new character and allowing a new actor to take up the role, the Tennant incarnation of the Doctor will split into two different entities.

The Tennant Doctor will remain alive, free to go on adventures with his longtime companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), and the ongoing series will follow the “new” Doctor Gatwa on his adventures.

Gatwa will continue as the main Doctor from the next episode onwards, scheduled to air on Christmas Day.