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'Doctor Who': Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson on 'cheekiness' of the show, working with 'delicious villain' Jinkx Monsoon

The famed franchise continues on Disney+ with The Doctor and companion sharing a special bond

The Doctor Who franchise has legendary Doctor and companion parings like David Tennant and Billie Piper, Jenna Coleman and Matt Smith, and Pearl Mackie and Peter Capaldi. But over the course of Doctor Who TV history, dating back to the 1963, Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor and Millie Gibson as companion Ruby Sunday, have become our favourite duo (new season premieres on Disney+ May 10).

Something that makes this new pair particularly appealing to lead us through the next phase of Doctor Who goes back to the Christmas special. We learned about Ruby being left at a church as a baby, eventually raised by Carla Sunday (Michelle Greenidge), and Carla's mother Cherry (Angela Wynter).

Where to watch the new season of Doctor Who: Disney+
When does the new season of Doctor Who premiere: 7:00 p.m. ET
Cast: Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, Jinkx Monsoon, Jonathan Groff, Aneurin Barnard, Anita Dobson, Yasmin Finney, Michelle Greenidge, Gwïon Morris Jones, Bonnie Langford, Genesis Lynea
Showrunner: Russell T Davies
Number of episodes: 8

Watch Doctor Who on Disney+ with plans starting at $7.99/month

$8 at Disney+

In the first episode of this new season of Doctor Who, The Doctor explains to Ruby that he is "foundling" as well, taken in by the time lords, but now the last one remaining.

"It's such a beautiful starting point for the relationship because the pair of them see something in each other from the get go," Gatwa told Yahoo Canada. "There's something about her and she's feeling the same, that spark is there from the beginning."

"The connection's almost strengthened by the shared experience. ... A foundation for a friendship that's going to take them across the stars."

"Lost souls that have found their family in one another," Gibson added.

"Space Babies" The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson)
"Space Babies" The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson)

Doctor Who also explores motherhood in this season, specifically the full scope of what motherhood can actually look like, starting with Ruby.

"There's so many special moments to do with motherhood in the show, and particularly in the Christmas episode, it was such a striking subject and beautiful thing to watch on screen," Gibson said. "And [showrunner Russell T Davies] cleverly made the Sunday family so lovable and just effervescent."

"Ruby's kind of grown up in a way that you totally can see why she's turned out the way she is, because of how beautiful Carla is and how funny Cherry is, and it's just made her who she is, because your family forms your personality in a way. It's definitely an important theme that your family is not the one you have, it's the one you choose, and Ruby's chosen family is so, so special to her."

Motherhood also takes an interesting turn in the first episode, titled "Space Babies," where The Doctor and Ruby stumble upon a baby farm in space. We'll leave you with just that small tease.

Adding to the Doctor Who power is an incredibly impressive group of guest stars, including Jonathan Groff and Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon. In the second episode provided to reporters in advance of the premiere, you see Jinkx play the Maestro, a foe so powerful The Doctor isn't even sure Maestro can be defeated. The episode is set in the 1960s, after Ruby asked The Doctor to travel back in time see The Beatles record their first album.

"I am the biggest Drag Race fan right, and she has always been my favourite drag queen," Gibson said, gushing about working with Jinkx. "So when when Russell was like, 'Oh, guess who were thinking for my show?' I was like, oh yeah, go on. And he went Jinkx Monsoon, I was like, 'Are you kidding me?!' Genius."

Gatwa's description of Jinkx in this episode is a "delicious villain."

"Watching Jinkx, I couldn't concentrate. There was a day where we were like, should we just go home? Because she's won this episode and this series," Gibson said.

"The Devil's Chord": Jinkx Monsoon in Doctor Who (Disney+)
"The Devil's Chord": Jinkx Monsoon in Doctor Who (Disney+)

At the core of what makes this Doctor Who iteration so instantly attractive is that Gatwa has really brought the fun back to The Doctor. It's an incredible interpretation of this beloved character. Gatwa has expertly blended a wackiness, with a brilliant physicality for the character, and some quite emotional and vulnerable moments. There's also a flirtiness to this charismatic Doctor that fits so well for this series. This may be the most well-rounded Doctor we've seen.

"It kind of jumped off the page to me, it wasn't sort of explicitly in there that he's flirty, but I just feel like The Doctor, he's got such a fascination with humans and such a fascination with just all life that ... he has got a little flirty thing going on," Gatwa said. "But flirting is just a connection with other people, it's a banter that you share."

"It's a wittiness that you share back and forth with someone, and I think he just loves interacting with people and trying to make people feel special, but then also using his charm to get what he wants, or get information that he wants. Like we all do. It was super fun having a blank slate to build on. Russell gave me kind of free rein to the character, and then the cheekiness was an element that was going to be undeniable. As soon as Millie walked into the room, it was like 'OK these two are ... going to have some fun."

"The Devil's Chord" The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Doctor Who on Disney+
"The Devil's Chord" The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Doctor Who on Disney+

The unfortunate reality of the upcoming season of Doctor Who is that Gatwa has already been the target of racism for being the first Black actor to portray The Doctor. But the Doctor Who fandom has a history of intolerance, with Jodie Whittaker having faced misogynistic comments for being the first woman Doctor.

For the Doctor Who fans who truly want this franchise to continue in the best way possible, Gatwa's Doctor, paired with Gibson's Ruby, is an absolutely phenomenal step forward.