Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor has made his live action debut, in a newly-edited and revised edition of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time.
Whereas the original 2013 edition saw David Bradley as William Hartnell, on the verge of leaving Who, looking up, across the TARDIS console and seeing Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, the version of An Adventure in Space and Time that played on BBC4 on the 60th anniversary, i.e. Thursday 23rd November 2023, has Ncuti Gatwa taking his place. It’s fitting, seeing as Hartnell was supposed to be looking towards the show’s future, safe in the knowledge that it would continue, no matter what.
Ncuti even gives a little wink!
It is what many suspected, too, especially after Gatwa said:
“I shouldn’t say this, but there was a scene that I somehow shot with the First Doctor, William Hartnell. We ended up in the same scene together and to see that history, and now a black man as the Doctor… I’m very very, very grateful.”
An Adventure in Space and Time aired after The Daleks: In Colour, a truncated and colourised version of Doctor Who‘s second ever serial, with a special montage of further First Doctor clips (plus a Second Doctor one) added at the end — pleasingly including The Beatles’ Top of the Pops performance shown in The Chase, a glimpse at a TOTP episode otherwise lost from the achives.
Okay, it’s great to see Ncuti as a part of this legacy… but personally, I think it slightly misses something by not having Matt there, seeing as he gives an incredible happy yet pained expression, perfectly capturing the mood of the piece.
But heck, it’s a brief new look at the Fifteenth Doctor, so we’re happy.
You can watch An Adventure in Space and Time on BBC iPlayer as part of The Whoniverse.