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Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi "Excited" for Gatwa; Praises Tennant, Smith

Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi is "excited" about Ncuti Gatwa and discussed reaching out to Gatwa like David Tennant & Matt Smith did for him.

We're not sure if you've heard or not, but there's a huge thing coming up next month for a certain long-running sci-fi/adventure. Of course, we're talking about the BBC, Disney+, and Showrunner Russell T. Davies's three-episode Doctor Who 60th-anniversary special event with David Tennant (Fourteenth Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), and Ncuti Gatwa (Fifteenth Doctor). To help set the mood, has started rolling out interviews with some very familiar faces as they share their thoughts on a wide variety of "WHO-niverse"-related topics. For this go-around, Peter Capaldi had some kind words to share about how David Tennant (Tenth Doctor) & Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor) made themselves available to him as he began his run as the Twelfth Doctor. In addition, Capaldi shares the great first impressions he got after meeting Gatwa and the high hopes he has for the new Doctor.

doctor who
Image: BBC

"I love 'Doctor Who' and I look forward to watching the 60th and Ncuti [Gatwa], I think, is amazing. I'm so excited to see what he does," Capaldi shared with during a conversation about the second season of Capaldi's Prime Video series, The Devil's Hour. Capaldi continued, "We [Capaldi & Gatwa] had such a laugh because we met. We'd gone to the Scottish BAFTAs, and I met his mum as well, which was lovely. We were just talking – it's like what David [Tennant] and Matt [Smith] did with me." From there, Capaldi explained how playing the Doctor puts you into a very select club, so having others there to lean on makes the process of taking on the role & making it your own easier.

"There are only a few, well 14 people, who have done this, and there are specific challenges to it, and it's a specific world, and there's only 14 people who have been at the heart of that. It's interesting to hear what they have to say about it. David [Tennant] and Matt [Smith] were very good at helping me with advice and chat and were always there if I wanted to talk to them and stuff. Ncuti [Gatwa] was very open to hearing what it was like. I just think he'll be great." Capaldi went on to offer a few more details on his exchange with the newest Doctor: "We'd met at the Scottish BAFTAs, and we exchanged texts, and I was on the train home, and I was texting him, and he was texting me, and then we found out we were on the same train! So then he joined us; that was great."

Joining Tennant & Tate for the anniversary episodes are Neil Patrick Harris in the big bad role as The Toymaker and Yasmin Finney as Rose – the daughter of Donna Noble and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins), with Jacqueline King returning as Sylvia Noble. In addition, Ruth Madeley is set to appear as Shirley Anne Bingham, and Bernard Cribbins is set to posthumously appear, reprising his role as Wilfred Mott. Fans of the comics can expect to see Beep the Meep (voiced by Miriam Margolyes) and the Wrarth Warriors play a major part, and – as if all of that wasn't enough – Ncuti Gatwa is expected to debut as the Fifteenth Doctor. And let's not forget that Jemma Redgrave will be returning as UNIT head Kate (Lethbridge-) Stewart. With all three episodes written by Davies, we learned the episode titles during this weekend's Eurovision 2023 broadcast: Special One: "The Star Beast" (directed by Rachel Talalay), Special Two: "Wild Blue Yonder" (directed by Tom Kingsley), and Special Three': "The Giggle" (directed by Chanya Button).

Button, Kingsley & Talalay on Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Episodes

Directors Button, Kingsley & Talalay shared their reactions to first reading Davies's scripts with Doctor Who Magazine. "Each special has a really different flavour. It feels like Russell [T. Davies] flexing his muscles and showing all the different things 'Doctor Who' can do," Kingsley shared – a sentiment shared by all three directors. Here's a look at some of the highlights:

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi "Excited" for Gatwa; Praises Tennant, Smith
Image: BBC

Kingsley Discusses "Absolute Nightmare" Episode, Teases "Aliens" & "The Thing" Comparison: "I opened mine and just tore through it. Even as a reading experience, it was so exciting. But I kind of got to the end of it and thought, 'Well, I pity whoever has to direct that cos it's an absolute nightmare!' I was planning to email my agent the next day and say, "It's amazing, but… no way." But when I woke up the next morning, I was still thinking about it, and I started to figure out: 'Well, how could you actually do this?' Because a lot of my episode is quite weird. Even at the readthrough, Rachel, your episode went down so well, and I was really jealous of you getting to direct it. Because there are so many complicated stage directions in mine, the reaction in the room was a bit like, 'Um, sorry, what?' Which made me think it was going to be a disaster. But of course, when you come to film it, it's actually really cool. It's got a lot of similarities with two of my favourite films, 'Aliens' and 'The Thing.' It's a little bit of the DNA of those mixed in with 'Doctor Who.'"

Talalay Read All Three & Outlines Some Key Differences Between Them: "I read all three, and my first reaction was, 'Wow!' The first one is classic family 'Who.' It's bringing back that world that Russell left [in 2010] with David and Catherine. And then after that, it becomes much more expansive, with Russell really throwing his massive imagination at it while also being thoughtful about setting up the next series.

Talalay's Episode Allowed Director a Chance to Embrace "The Stuff That Scares You": "My episode features lots of people in lots of scenes. There's soldiers, there's battles, and I thought, 'I haven't always succeeded in doing the action stuff, with loads of extras, that well in the past. This is really scary for me.' So I was determined to do that part really, really well. It's all about embracing the stuff that scares you."

Button's Episode "Was Just the Most Expansive Thing" That the Director Has Ever Read: "It was just the most expansive thing I've ever read. Every page I turned, it was a different world and a different idea and a different sort of bonkers and inspiring adventure. It was just the ultimate luxury to read it and go, 'This is a writer at the very peak of his abilities, completely unbound and confident in what he's putting on the page.' Which, as a director, is really empowering. It's challenging, in the most positive way possible, for someone to go: 'Here's a big idea; let's see how you do it.'"

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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