Warning: Full spoilers ahead for Doctor Who season 14 episode 4, 73 Yards.


The fourth episode of Doctor Who season 14 is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer, and its fair to say its a truly unique instalment of the long-running series.

Ahead of release, 73 Yards was described as a "Welsh folk horror" tale, featuring "the strangest villain you'll ever see", but it is also a real showcase for Millie Gibson's companion, Ruby Sunday.

The episode features a guest cast including Siân Phillips and Maxine Evans, while Susan Twist also makes another appearance, this time as a hiker.

Meanwhile, Aneurin Barnard takes on the role of politician Roger ap Gwilliam – but just who is this new character and how does his story play out in the episode?

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Read on for everything you need to know about Aneurin Barnard's Doctor Who character, Roger ap Gwilliam, but warning: there are spoilers ahead.

Who is Roger ap Gwilliam?

Aneurin Barnard as Roger ap Gwilliam in Doctor Who, stood in front of a black background and looking at the camera
Aneurin Barnard as Roger ap Gwilliam in Doctor Who. BBC Studios/James Pardon

Roger ap Gwilliam is a dangerous politician, representing the fictional Albion Party.

The Doctor warns Ruby at the start of the episode that he will one day become Prime Minister and will take the world to the brink of nuclear war.

As Ruby ages, she witnesses his political rise and joins up as a volunteer to help his campaign, hoping to get close to him. It is at this time that she also discovers he has been harassing a female staff member.

As the Doctor said, he goes on to become Prime Minister, but Ruby forces his resignation during an encounter at a football stadium. She stands exactly 73 yards away from Roger, meaning that the woman who has been following her at exactly that distance stands right next to him and speaks to him.

As everyone else who has spoken to her has done, Roger runs away from her and later resigns from office. When he’s asked why, he simply says: "Ask her".

During the episode, it’s also revealed that he is the "mad Jack" mentioned on a scroll in the fairy circle that the Doctor breaks. Roger confirms that as his nickname during a TV interview in the 2040s.

What has Aneurin Barnard said about playing Roger ap Gwilliam?

Aneurin Barnard stood against a white background and looking at the camera
Aneurin Barnard. Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb

In 2023, when his casting was first announced, he posted on Instagram to say: "Pleased to announce I will be joining the @bbcdoctorwho family for a short while."

The actor has also expressed his own love for the series in the past, when asked a while ago whether he would be interested in taking on the show's central role.

Speaking to Radio Times magazine back in 2013, Barnard said that playing the Doctor "seems like a very good, fun job to be involved in".

He continued: "It’s one of those roles that has lived through time. It’s an endless tale, and what’s interesting about Doctor Who is it can go in any direction at any point, and every Doctor is taken very differently.

"It’s a great piece of storytelling and you can have a lot of fun with that. I’m a fan, too, and I do catch it when I can, and I like all the old stuff."

What has Aneurin Barnard starred in before?

Aneurin Barnard in The Catch.
Aneurin Barnard in The Catch. Channel 5

Over the years, Barnard has had memorable roles in series including The White Queen, Cilla, War & Peace, The Pact, Time, Peaky Blinders, 1899, The Catch, Steeltown Murders and The Way, as well as the TV film Men Up.

On the big screen, he has been seen in movies including Legend, Dunkirk, The Personal History of David Copperfield and The Goldfinch.

Doctor Who: 73 Yards will air on Saturday 1st June on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.


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