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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nadeem Badshah

Millie Gibson revealed as Time Lord’s new sidekick in Doctor Who

Millie Gibson will play Ruby Sunday, companion to the new Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa
Millie Gibson will play Ruby Sunday, companion to the new Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Millie Gibson has been unveiled as the Time Lord’s new sidekick in Doctor Who, in an announcement made live on BBC Children in Need on Friday evening.

The Coronation Street actor, 18, will play the role of Ruby Sunday, companion to the new Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa, when the programme returns towards the end of 2023.

Gibson said in a statement: “Whilst still being in total disbelief, I am beyond honoured to be cast as the Doctor’s companion.

“It is a gift of a role, and a dream come true, and I will do everything to try and fill the boots the fellow companions have travelled in before me.

“What better way to do that than being by the fabulous Ncuti Gatwa’s side, I just can’t wait to get started.”

Gibson received the best young performer award for her role as Kelly Neelan in Coronation Street at the British Soap Awards earlier this year.

The actor has also appeared in ITV’s Butterfly and BBC’s Love, Lies And Records.

Last month, fans got their first glimpse of Gatwa, who will play the 15th incarnation of the Time Lord, when he appeared briefly in a trailer at the end of The Power of the Doctor – Jodie Whittaker’s last outing as the character – saying: “Someone tell me what the hell is going on here?”

The 30-year-old Sex Education star is the first black actor to portray the Doctor as a series lead. The black British actor Jo Martin played the part in an episode called The Fugitive Doctor.

Whittaker’s four-year tenure as the show’s first female protagonist came to an end in a special episode that featured a host of returning faces from the show. There was also an unexpected twist when she regenerated into the returning Time Lord David Tennant rather than Gatwa.

The 90-minute special was made as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations, and also featured cameos from actors who had piloted the Tardis in the 1980s and 90s, with Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann all reprising the role of the Doctor.

Mandip Gill played Whittaker’s sidekick, Yasmin Khan, throughout her stint as the Doctor from 2018 to 2022.

Doctor Who is expected to return next year with the creator of critically acclaimed It’s a Sin, Russell T Davies, back at the helm. Davies had led the revival of Doctor Who from 2005 to 2009.

Davies said: “It’s the great honour of my job to find the next generation of talent and Millie shines like a star already. She’s brilliant, dynamic, clever and a wonderful actor.

“As a Coronation Street fan, I’ve seen Millie survive chases, guns and sieges, but that’s nothing compared to what lies ahead for Ruby Sunday.”

Tennant will feature as the Doctor in three episodes – before Gatwa’s debut is aired – alongside his returning co-star Catherine Tate for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary next year.

The duo reunited after 12 years. Tennant, 51, first stepped into the Tardis in 2005 to play the 10th Time Lord, with his final episode airing on New Year’s Day in 2010. Tate, 52, starred as his companion, Donna Noble.

The BBC has also launched a collaboration with Disney+, which will stream upcoming seasons of Doctor Who outside the UK and Ireland.

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