Ncuti Gatwa's latest Doctor Who episode leaves fans stunned as they learn when he filmed it

Ncuti Gatwa
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

Former Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa has won over Doctor Who fans as the latest incarnation of the iconic Time Lord, following his debut on Christmas Day last year. His first appearances in the new series have been applauded by critics and fans, but it is his performance at the end of the latest episode, Dot & Bubble, that has been especially singled out for praise.

The fifth episode of the series features the Doctor desperately trying to save the residents of Finetime, a planet where all the young, rich and privileged residents communicate via screens that block their view of the real world – and the slug-like aliens that are picking them off one by one.

Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti Gatwa in the Dot & Bubble episode of Doctor Who -Credit:no credit

Throughout the episode, the Doctor and his companion Ruby (Millie Gibson) try communicating with one of them named Lindy (Callie Cooke) via her screen to help rescue her, but at the end of the episode when he meets her in the flesh with the other survivors, they all reject his offer of an escape via the TARDIS because he is ‘different’ – a Black man who is not like them.

In shock, Ncuti’s Doctor responds with a horrified scream before leaving them to their potentially grisly fate. What makes the scene, and Ncuti’s performance in it, more remarkable is that it is the first ever scene that the actor shot when he began filming.

Fans have been quick to comment on his impressive turn in the episode. One wrote: “Apparently this was Ncuti’s first ever scene filmed as The Doctor. Talk about making an entrance. Superb choice,” while another added: “An ending for the ages made more remarkable because it was Ncuti’s first scene - wow.”

Callie Cooke
Callie Cooke in the latest episode of Doctor Who -Credit:no credit

“I found this ending so powerful, discovering you’ve protected a racist society who’ll turn down their own survival because of their prejudice. Ncuti Gatwa had me close to tears with this one: a gut punch!” said a fan while another commented: “Ncuti Gatwa is brilliant as The Doctor, ain’t he? Wow. Powerful ending to that recent episode.”

Ncuti was still filming the final episodes of Sex Education when he took on the role in Doctor Who, and show runner Russell T Davies recently confirmed that this was the reason the actor was only briefly in the previous week’s episode, 73 Yards, that focused on The Doctor’s companion Ruby.

He told behind the scenes TV show Doctor Who: Unleashed: “The whole set up of this is partly because Ncuti was busy filming Sex Education. We had to start filming, so we kind of happily embraced the opportunity to say, let’s focus on Millie as Ruby. And that gives you a chance to explore her character. It gives us a chance to explore her as an actor. And it’s really rewarding. She’s doing the most brilliant job.”