In 59 years, including the best part of 16 years off the air, there will soon have been no less than four Scottish actors to have played the Doctor in Doctor Who, the BBC’s long-running flagship science fiction show.
It took a while for the Scots to get a grip on the TARDIS, with Sylvester McCoy (who recently appeared in The Power of the Doctor), the Seventh Doctor, being the first Scottish actor to take on the role in 1987 in the episode Time and the Rani, playing the Time Lord until the show went off the air for many years in 1989 with his final episode Survival.
He was followed in 2005 by the Tenth Doctor, and the second of the rebooted era, David Tennant, who was the lead in the series through its most popular period of modern times between 2005 and 2010. There was a brief pause in the Scottish actors for English star Matt Smith as the Eleventh between 2010 and 2013, but he gave way to Scot Peter Capaldi between 2013 and 2017.
And now Jodie Whittaker is leaving the show after five years, we are seeing the return of one Scot, David Tennant again as the Fourteenth who will be followed by Ncuti Gatwa, who is Rwandan-Scottish, and will become the Fifteenth Doctor full-time at the end of 2023.
And so with so many brilliant Scottish leads playing the Doctor in the last few decades, the question was recently asked of one of that number, Peter Capaldi, why he thought Scots made such good Doctors in the show…
“Because Scots people are just amazing, that’s why!” he told BBC Scotland’s the Edit on Twitter.
He added with a smile: “Because they are quite cosmic. You know that to to be true, so that’s why…”
Asked about the Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa’s casting as the Fifteenth Doctor, Capaldi had nothing but praise to pour upon the young actor.
“I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s a brilliant choice. He’s absolutely amazing. The fact that he’s Scottish and Rwandan, you know, that’s a brilliant combination.”
When asked what he thinks Ncuti Gatwa will bring to the role in Doctor Who, Capaldi was equally sure Gatwa would be a massive asset to the show.
He said he would bring: “energy, humour, and wit – and fun, you know, as well as depth. You know, Doctor Who is a great part. You can’t lose with it.”
Added Capaldi: “It’s a joy to play and I think he’ll just grab it with both hands and get on with it.”
Peter Capaldi has most recently been seen on our screens in a psychological drama opposite Jessica Raine on Prime Video called The Devil’s Hour. The excellent new show is executive produced by Steven Moffat who was the showrunner of Doctor Who between 2010 and 2017.
Russell T Davies is now the showrunner of Doctor Who and will oversee three 60th anniversary specials of the show in 2023, followed by a full series starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth, which is expected to start filming in November 2022.