We're just one week away from Ncuti Gatwa's bona fide Doctor Who debut, as he takes up the TARDIS controls for the show's 2023 Christmas special.


The Church on Ruby Road will also introduce new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and her family unit, adoptive mother Carla (Michelle Greenidge) and grandmother Cherry (Angela Wynter).

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Greenidge shared memories of shooting her first episode opposite Gatwa and Gibson, describing the new Doctor as "hugely charismatic".

"Ncuti was born to play the Doctor, his energy and individuality make him perfect for the role," said the It's a Sin star.

"When I got the job, one of the things that really excited me was the fact that I was on this journey with Ncuti, from the beginning of this part of his career.

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"He's just sprinkled his little magic on it. He's hugely charismatic and he has a flair about him, a natural flair, where you're just gripped by everything he says…

"Also, he's incredibly eye on the eye, he’s lovely! And so is Millie – they're both beautiful inside and out, both bold and courageous.

Millie Gibson as Ruby and Ncuti Gatwa and The Doctor looking at one another in the Doctor Who Christmas special.
Millie Gibson and Ncuti Gatwa in the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023. Lara Cornell/BBC Studios/Bad Wolf

"They're still so young, so for me, I was hugely proud. I mean, I didn't expect any less, because I know that they're both excellent, I've watched the work that they've done in the past. I knew they'd smash it, and they really did."

Having previously collaborated with returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies on his Channel 4 series It's a Sin, Greenidge added that the opportunity to work with the award-winning writer again was "just incredible".

"He is just an incredible talent – the scripts are just so enthralling, you can really become immersed in all of the characters. He's so great at writing the story arcs and everything is so tightly-written.

"The word is overused, but Russell, he is genuinely a genius. Any show that Russell's involved with, you're lucky to be involved with – it’s a blessing."

Michelle Greenidge in Doctor Who laughing with Millie Gibson in a bedroom
Michelle Greenidge and Millie Gibson in Doctor Who. James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios 2023

Alongside a story of mischievous goblins wreaking havoc during the festive period, The Church on Ruby Road will also explore the family dynamics of the Sunday clan.

"Carla's bond with Ruby is very special, and there isn't anything Carla wouldn't do for Ruby," Greenidge said. "Their love for each other is very strong."

Helping to build an "instant natural bond" was the fact that Greenidge and her on-screen mother Wynter had previously worked together on stage, in a 2018 play at the Royal Court.

"I was overjoyed when I learned that Angela was playing my on-screen mum – she's such an established part of the acting scene and also such a sweetheart with it, so I knew from the off that we would work really well together as a family unit.

"It's a lovely, busy, complicated, modern family – three generations of wonderful women under one roof. They are defiant, independent women, bonded together in a loving and caring family.

"I think it's really important with the roles that we play that it comes from a place of real truth, so it was definitely a real help that there was an instant natural bond between myself, Millie and Angela."

The Church on Ruby Road airs at 5:55pm on Christmas Day on BBC One. Watch a trailer for the special below:

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