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Russell T Davies on "tension" of keeping Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who secret

Davies called the reveal a "spectacular operation".

Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies on BAFTA TV Awards red carpet
David M Benett/Getty Images
Published: Thursday, 26th May 2022 at 1:21 pm
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When Ncuti Gatwa's casting as Doctor Who's new Doctor was announced earlier this month, it seemed to come out of the blue, with a crytpic Tweet setting off a day of revelations and press.

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Now, Russell T Davies has spoken about the behind-the-scenes preparation and planning that went into the reveal, noting the importance of the announcement being made the same day as the BAFTA Television Awards ceremony, and how tense the team had been at the idea the news could lead.

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine's Production Notes column, Davies called Gatwa's reveal "a spectacular operation", noting that the plan was to "release a cryptic post online at 11:30am. Let that go viral. Then an official statement at 12:30pm, released to the press.

"My mate Stefan texted me, always ready with a complaint. 'Bit low-key,' he said. Oh you wait, I thought, as we hit 13:30 and… Flash, bang, pop, scream, the new Doctor walked onto the biggest red carpet in the world! People going crazy for him! That was quite a sight, camera crews and microphones and journalists in the blazing sunshine yelling, 'Ncuti! Ncuti!'"

Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti Gatwa BBC

Davies acknowledged that the reveal took a "hell of a lot of planning" and said "the fact that we had to do all this in secret meant we were rattling with tension. Not only had Ncuti’s name not been leaked, but he hadn’t even been guessed. His casting had been locked away, since February, with all of us worrying that it would be spoiled, any day now.

"But it worked. It absolutely worked."

Davies previously confirmed to RadioTimes.com and other press that he also planted "a few false stories", "false tales" and "a couple of misleading things" in order to keep Gatwa's casting a secret, saying "we're very pleased that that kind of worked."

You can read the full notes in Doctor Who Magazine's latest issue, available to purchase now.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Doctor Who Magazine is on sale now. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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