With Doctor Who’s 3-part anniversary special up and running, BBC has released the first promotional images for the upcoming Christmas special featuring the new Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. While Gatwa will be introduced in the 60th anniversary’s last episode, the new images show him fully in his element as the Fifteenth Doctor.
The release for the new season is still under wraps, but the Christmas special is giving fans a hefty gift in the meantime—the Doctor’s first, full-fledged outing across time. “As Ncuti Gatwa takes charge of the TARDIS as the Fifteenth Doctor in this epic Christmas special, he soon encounters Ruby Sunday as they embark on their first adventure together,” the BBC teased.
The first promotional image shows Gatwa standing back-to-back with his new companion Ruby. Although the pair appear to be in some trouble (possibly tied to a pole), the Doctor is grinning playfully while Ruby looks back at him in disbelief.
The second image could double as the Doctor’s solo album cover. He stands in the middle of falling snow, staring off into the distance as a single tear rolls down his cheek.
Speaking to BBC Morning Live, Showrunner Russell T Davies added fuel to the hype. “It’s really exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s explosive, it’s brilliant,” he said. “You’ve seen Ncuti in Sex Education, he is just the most phenomenal human being. Christmas Day is a new start again, come and join a new adventure.”
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This isn’t the first time we’ve been treated to production stills of the new Doctor. Back in April, Gatwa shared some tantalizing photos of himself sporting an afro and a 70s-style suit. “The Doctor will see you now,” he captioned on Instagram.
While we wait for the Christmas special, the anniversary special is currently treating fans to the series’ first major trans storyline. Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney plays Rose, the daughter of the Doctor’s former companion Donna. The first episode, “The Star Beast,” navigates domestic issues like transphobic bullying, pronouns and parental support. It also makes Rose’s identity central to the plot. Because she contains part of the Doctor inside her (due to her mother having absorbed some of the Doctor’s essence before giving birth to her), she is able to save the day by tapping into both sides of herself.
The Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road,” will be available internationally on Christmas day through Disney+.
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