Roger ap Gwilliam will be played by 34-year-old Welsh actor Aneurin Bernard, who TV fans may recognise most recently from Netflix’s 1899 dark mystery series, as well as playing parts in the likes of The White Queen and Peaky Blinders. Before the official announcement by the BBC on 9th January 2023, fans had speculated that Barnard would be in the series after posters with his image on them were seen on an outside set in Cardiff during Doctor Who season 14 filming.
But what do we know about Roger ap Gwilliam, and what part might he play in Doctor Who season 14?
Potential Doctor Who season 14 spoilers ahead…
Who is Roger ap Gwilliam?
OK, well at this stage all we know officially from the BBC is that Roger ap Gwilliam is played by Aneurin Barnard and that he is described as “mysterious” by official channels. That’s not much to go on… but a mystery is good when it comes to Doctor Who, right!?
From the images that have circulated from the outside shoot of Doctor Who, it appears that Roger ap Gwilliam is a politician.
Indeed, from the fact that his face appears to be front and centre of the campaign headquarters where his posters are displayed, we could be forgiven for thinking he is quite a prominent politician. This view is backed up by the fact that one of the photos from the set shows him on the cover of “The Space” magazine with a cover line reading “Saviour”. The magazine resembles Time magazine in its style, so it’s fair to say that Roger ap Gwilliam has clearly made quite the splash in political terms and has become well known in popular culture.
We know from the set photos that Roger ap Gwilliam represents a political party called Albion.
The party has the slogan “Bigger, Better, Bolder Britain.”
Therefore we can glean that Roger ap Gwilliam is a politician operating in Britain on Earth and from the sounds of the slogan may be quite populist in nature.
Clearly from the fact there are “Vote Gwilliam” posters displayed on what looks like a campaign office, the episode is set in the middle of an election campaign on Earth.
There have been some reports from fans that this may be an election in the future. Some claim that they have seen evidence that it might be set in 2046, but there’s no clear evidence of that from the tweeted pictures of the campaign office and posters.
Is Roger ap Gwilliam the Prime Minister?
The “mysterious” Roger ap Gwilliam certainly has a very public profile and has appeared on the cover of magazines heralded as “Saviour” he must have done something noteworthy for the people of Britain during his time. Might he be the Prime Minister? Or could he be the leader of an opposition party that are challenging a government who are on its way down?
Any connection to Harold Saxon?
Students of Doctor Who will remember the “Vote Saxon” campaign that took place in Doctor Who during season two and season three of the show which saw Jon Simm’s Harold Saxon engineer his election as the Prime Minister in the 2008 General Election in the UK. It turned out that Harold Saxon was actually the Master, and he had an evil plan (as the Master always does.)
Could Roger ap Gwilliam have any connection to this election story that was of course penned by the current showrunner Russell T Davies during his first tenure in charge of the show?
Of course we have no idea at this stage, but it’s exciting to think the mysterious Roger ap Gwilliam could be more than he first seems…
Doctor Who returns to TV screen in November 2023 with three one-hour specials starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth incarnation of the Time Lord. He will be accompanied by Catherine Tate playing Donna Noble as well as Yasmin Finney as Rose and Neil Patrick Harris will be playing an as-yet-unnamed enemy.
Doctor Who’s adventures in space and time with Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson are due to get underway with a festive special in 2023 with the rest of season 14 in 2024.