Doctor Who fans have a lot to talk about and get excited about at the moment. Not just because there’s a new Doctor about to join the series, but also the prospect of the 60th anniversary special helmed by a triumphantly returning Russell T Davies seems likely to throw up a number of guest appearances and exciting announcements.
But with Ncuti Gatwa, the Sex Education star best known for playing Eric Effiong in the Netflix series confirmed as the successor to Jodie Whittaker, and RTD replacing Chris Chibnall as showrunner, the attentions of the Doctor Who fans have now turned to who will travel in the TARDIS with Ncuti Gatwa when he finally takes over in the famous science fiction role.
A theory that appears to be gaining momentum right now is that Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis could be in the frame to join Gatwa in the TARDIS.
Ellis recently left EastEnders after two years of playing Frankie Lewis on the BBC soap, and eagle-eyed fans claimed that she followed Ncuti Gatwa, Russell T Davies and Doctor Who casting director Andy Pryor on Instagram shortly afterwards.
Speaking to The Mirror, the 27-year-old remained tight-lipped about what her next project might be fuelling further speculation that whatever it is could be a high-profile and famously secretive production, like, um, Doctor Who.
“You will find out more at the end of this month. I’m not allowed to say anything,” she said.
Last year, Rose made history by becoming the first deaf participant to take part in the BBC’s flagship entertainment format Strictly Come Dancing. Alongside her partner Giovanni Pernice she went on to not only win the show with mesmerising dance performances.
Although it’s still a big if, if she were to join Doctor Who alongside Ncuti Gatwa, Rose would become the first disabled actor to play a companion in the television version of the show. In the audio version of Doctor Who, Ruth Madeley, who is wheelchair-bound, plays companion Hebe Harrison.
There is one more episode of the Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker era of Doctor Who to come, with a Centenary special celebrating 100 years of the BBC due to broadcast this autumn. After that, fans can look forward to the 60th anniversary Doctor Who special (or perhaps specials) in 2023, in which it is expected a number of former Doctors and companions will return to the show much like the 50th anniversary special in 2013. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are already confirmed for the 60th, but it is expected that a number of other high-profile names will also appear.
When asked recently if she might return one day to the series, Jenna Coleman said “it could happen in the future,” Paul McGann has speculated that “most of us will be asked to get involved” and Karen Gillan has said “never say never” to a return.
It is not yet known when Ncuti Gatwa will make his first appearance as the new Doctor, but many speculate that it will be as part of the 60th celebrations. However, his first full season, which is understood to start filming in November, may not air until late 2023 or perhaps even later.
So, lots to look forward to, but also lots of waiting to be done!