Who is starring in the new series of Doctor Who? From Ncuti Gatwa to Indira Varma

It’s been an interminable wait for Doctor Who fans, but the fourteenth season is finally dropping on May 11 – coming to both BBC iPlayer and Disney+.

Starring Ncuti Gatwa as the newly regenerated Time Lord, details about the upcoming series’ plot have predictably been kept under wraps. Fans have had to make do with the small glimpses of the new show drip-fed over the last several months.

First, there was the stand alone Christmas special, which arrived with gusto, introducing audiences to Gatwa’s Doctor and his new companion Ruby (Millie Gibson). Then there were some first-look images of the Doctor and Ruby dressed in Sixties and Georgian garb – piquing everyone’s curiosity.

And then there was the full-length trailer, which was released a month ago, racking up more than five million views and showing the duo whizzing around the world, through space and time; visiting the dinosaurs, facing what looks like a Godzilla-sized monster, and meeting some other unfamiliar creatures.

In a recent interview, Gatwa described the new series as being full of “chaos and adventure”.

So while the finer details about the new series are yet to be revealed, we do know some of the actors who will be joining Gatwa on screen, from Game of Thrones star Indira Varma, to 1899 star Aneurin Barnard, to EastEnders star Anita Dobson. Find out more about the starry cast below.

Ncuti Gatwa plays the Doctor

 (Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
(Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

Rwandan-Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa, 31, is best known for playing Eric Effiong on the high school Netflix hit Sex Education, but has also had roles in the HBO miniseries Masters of the Air and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.

His Doctor has already been delighting fans: “Gatwa’s take on the character is brimming with joy,” said the Standard. “Gatwa and Gibson are both live wires, with charisma to burn; a welcome jolt of energy for a show that’s 60 years young.”

Gatwa’s doctor wears a tank top and a kilt to a club night, and seems more gender-fluid than any previous iteration of the character: “That’s what the show does,” said Gatwa, who is queer, to Rolling Stone. “It evolves and it regenerates. I feel like it’s about time, and I am here.”

Speaking to The Guardian he added: “Doctor Who has such a huge connection to LGBT people... We choose our families. And the Doctor is a lonely wanderer, looking for their next adventure … I know many a gay man I could describe that way.”

Millie Gibson plays Ruby Sunday

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

At just 19, Millie Gibson is one of the Doctor’s youngest-ever companions. The Manchester-born actor is best known for playing teenager Kelly Neelan in Coronation Street – and Doctor Who is her first TV role since stepping away from the soap.

She plays Ruby Sunday, a young woman brought up by foster mother Carla Sunday (Michelle Greenidge). By the looks of it, this challenging upbringing is an important element of the new show, which explores different kinds of families. In the trailer, Carla says “I’m still the mum. I need to know she’s going to be ok. You’ll keep her safe?” The Doctor replies, “I will keep her safe” – a promise fans know the Doctor has been unable to keep in the past.

“There’s so many controversial elements to this season – the good sort of controversy – and it’s what we need to see on our tellies,” Gibson said to the Independent. “Some people,” she adds, “might think, ‘This isn’t the Doctor Who I know.’ But I’m really excited to see it... It’s really cool that they’re doing concepts like these and changing it up.”

Bonnie Langford plays Melanie "Mel" Bush

Bonnie Langford featured in the 60th anniversary specials (Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
Bonnie Langford featured in the 60th anniversary specials (Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

For long-term Doctor Who fans, Bonnie Langford is a familiar face: the Surrey-born actor was the Doctor’s companion in the Eighties. She acted alongside both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy’s Doctors, and her character Mel had a photographic memory, was a computer programmer and had a cheery personality.

Then, after a 35-year hiatus she returned to the screen, starring in Doctor Who episodes in 2022 and 2023 – most recently in the Christmas special where her character Mel ended up being recruited by alien taskforce UNIT.

“We don't yet know if Mel will be a regular buddy to the Fifteenth Doctor or just pop up once,” said Langford, speaking on Alan Titchmarsh's Love Your Weekend in March. "It's so wonderful to be part of it – it's BBC through and through but also it's on Disney+ worldwide. It's very exciting to be part of the show.”

Michelle Greenidge plays Carla Sunday

 (James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)
(James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)

Carla Sunday is Ruby’s foster mother. A professional foster parent, she has fostered as many as 33 children over the years.

"Carla's bond with Ruby is very special, and there isn't anything Carla wouldn't do for Ruby. Their love for each other is very strong,” said Greenidge to RadioTimes. The Bradford-born actor featured as Grace in I May Destroy You (2020), Valerie in Ricky Gervais’ After Life (2019-2022), and as Rosa Babatunde in Channel 4’s It’s A Sin (2021).

Angela Wynter plays Cherry Sunday

 (Lara Cornell/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)
(Lara Cornell/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)

EastEnders’ star Angela Wynter plays Carla’s mum Cherry, and Ruby Sunday’s grandmother. She has acted alongside Michelle Greenidge in ear for eye, a 2018 Royal Court play that was described as a “furious dissection of racial injustice”.

"I was overjoyed when I learned that Angela was playing my on-screen mum,” said Greenidge to RadioTimes. “She's such an established part of the acting scene and also such a sweetheart with it, so I knew from the off that we would work really well together as a family unit."

Anita Dobson plays Mrs Flood

 (James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)
(James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023)

Another EastEnders legend, Dobson, now 75, starred as Angie Watts in the soap in the Eighties, before going on to feature in British series such as The Bill, Casualty, Holby City, Casualty and Call the Midwife. She’s had a stellar career on stage, starring in everything from Pygmalion (1980) at the Salisbury Playhouse to Madame Morrible in Wicked (2016-2017) and has been married to Queen’s Brian May since 2000.

In the new Doctor Who series she plays neighbour Mrs Flood whose nosiness is wholly warranted: in the Christmas special she witnesses the Tardis disappearing before her eyes – enough to provoke any neighbour asking questions about the mysterious people living next door. And she might know more about the Doctor than she’s previously let on.

Jemma Redgrave plays Kate Stewart

 (BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)
(BBC Studios/Bad Wolf)

Jemma Redgrave has starred in a number of high-profile films such as Howards End (1992), Mansfield Park (2007) and Love & Friendship (2016), and in series such as Bramwell (1995-1998), Holy City (2016-2022) and Silent Witness (2020-2023). A member of the celebrated acting family, which includes Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson and the late Natasha Richardson, she has played Kate Stewart in a number of episodes of Doctor Who since 2012.

Stewart is the head of Scientific Research organisation UNIT, which explains her multiple run-ins with the Doctor. The character is the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (William Courtney), a recurring character in the series between 1965 and 1989. He also appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2008.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain in September, Redgrave said: “I've done one episode in series 14 and it's such a wonderful thing to be part of that family. It was absolutely tremendous and to be part of Russell T Davies' vision is so exciting."

Yasmin Finney plays Rose Noble

 (Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
(Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

Mancunian actress Yasmin Finney, 20, plays Rose Noble, the daughter of companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins). Although Donna had her memory wiped for years – before the Doctor came crashing back into her life in the three 60th anniversary specials – Rose has still had more experience than most with aliens. She appeared in the Christmas Doctor Who special where she helped the Doctor deal with the villainous Meep.

Finney, who is best known for playing Elle Argent in the Netflix series Heartstopper, confirmed that Rose would be a trans character: "Any sort of franchise that has been going years and you get a black trans woman playing the role, people are going to have their opinions," she said to BBC Newsbeat in December. "I want people to laugh, I want people to smile, I want people to cry. And also I just want to be good representation for people that haven't had it."

Indira Varma as The Duchess

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The exquisite Indira Varma, 50, has featured on screen in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Torchwood (2006), Rome (2005-07), Luther (2010), Game of Thrones (2014-2017) and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) and on stage in Titus Andronicus (2014), Present Laughter (2019), The Seagull (2020), and Macbeth (2023-2024).

In Doctor Who she plays the Duchess, a new and mysterious character. "I'm overjoyed to be reunited with Indira after our Torchwood days, and this part is truly spectacular!” said Russell T Davies. “A whole new audience will be hiding behind the settee when The Duchess unleashes her terror."

Jinkx Monsoon plays Maestro

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

Drag queen, singer and comedian Hera Hoffer, who performs as Jinkx Monsoon, won the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2013 and the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars in 2022. She made her Broadway debut in 2023 playing Mama Morton in Chicago and then went on to play Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at Manhattan’s Westside Theatre.

In the fourteenth season of Doctor Who she plays Maestro, a villain that, judging by the trailer, looks larger-than-life – an eccentric, terrifying figure.

"I've always loved Doctor Who. It was the one show that my husband and I could agree on,” said Jinkx Monsoon.

Alexander Devrient plays Colonel Christopher Ibrahim

 (Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)
(Alistair Heap/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

German-Lebanese actor Alexander Devrient has featured in The Danish Girl (2015), The Bureau (2018), Ted Lasso (2021) and The Lazarus Project (2022). In the new series, he plays Colonel Christopher Ibrahim, who appeared in the Christmas special.

"Ibrahim is a UNIT stalwart, serving loyally alongside Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. But even he’s barely prepared for the dangers to come. It’s good to make Alexander part of the family. Let’s hope Colonel Ibrahim survives!" said executive producer Phil Collinson.

Aneurin Barnard plays Roger ap Gwilliam

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard, 36, has featured in films Mary Queen of Scots (2013), Dunkirk (2017) and The Goldfinch (2019), and in the series Peaky Blinders (2022) and 1899 (2022).

In Doctor Who he plays British politician Roger ap Gwilliam who is part of the Albion Party.

“I’ll never be the actor I want to be, because I'm a perfectionist who wants to be better every time,” he said to the Standard.

“I can't settle, it’s not within me, it's not my background. I come from a place of grafters, proper knuckle to the bone grafters and that's in my blood. I feel incredibly privileged to do what I do... so I better bloody work as hard to be the best I can be.”

Who else is starring?

There are even more stars to look out for in the show. Broadway favourite Jonathan Groff, who played the voice of Kristoff in Frozen (2013) and Frozen II (2019), will be starring in an undisclosed role.

BAFTA-winning child actor Lenny Rush, who starred in Daisy May Cooper’s BBC series Am I Being Unreasonable?, is set to feature.

And Lethal Love actor George Caple and Mindhack actor Chris Mason will play Paul McCartney and John Lennon respectively when the Doctor travels to Abbey Road in the Sixties and bumps into The Beatles.

Doctor Who season 14 will premiere on BBC iPlayer and Disney+ at midnight on May 11