Doctor Who Returns: Ncuti Gatwa Wows in Season Premiere


– “The Church on Ruby Road,” written by Russell T Davies and starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor alongside Millie Gibson, has been received positively, confirming the successful revival of “Doctor Who.”
– The series offers a modern trilogy akin to Davies’ 2005 arc, with varied episodes including a return to form, a futuristic baby farm with social commentary in “Space Babies,” and a less impactful, musically-themed episode “The Devil’s Chord” featuring Jinkx Monsoon.

The 2023 “Doctor Who” Christmas Special, “The Church on Ruby Road,” heralded a renaissance for the acclaimed series with Russell T Davies’ dynamic storytelling at the helm once again. Ncuti Gatwa’s debut as the Fifteenth Doctor alongside Millie Gibson’s companion birthed a duo brimming with electric synergy. This revival, riding high on nostalgic affection, is not misplaced—Doctor Who is indeed experiencing a thrilling rebirth.

Davies’ narrative prowess previously wove an engaging introductory trifecta for the show’s relaunch in 2005, and in the latest chapters, he mirrors this structure. The Church on Ruby Road provides an engaging landing pad for Gatwa’s Time Lord and Gibson’s Ruby Sunday, paying homage to the past while soaring towards future cosmic adventures with confident ease.

Subsequent escapades reveal the innovative risks Davies takes, particularly with “Doctor Who: Space Babies.” This quirky episode blends classic Who narratives with a fresh perspective, showcasing the paradoxical use of technology to alternately sustain innocence and hasten maturity, embellished with topical insights about societal engagement with technology and caregiving.

The inclusion of “Space Babies” in the fabric of this series affords viewers a chance to witness the tenderness of humanity’s aspirations and the inherent curiosity driving exploration—mechanisms that Doctor Who has employed to enchant audiences for decades.

Gatwa and Gibson revitalize the series with performances that navigate both unique character narratives and the well-trodden paths of their predecessors, yet prove that Gatwa’s Doctor is neither cowardly nor cruel, and Gibson’s Ruby Sunday is more than just a reimagining of previous companions.

However, despite a strong start, “Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord” doesn’t quite resonate with the same harmonious tune. Gatwa and Gibson continue to shine in their portrayal of the Doctor and companion, but the script echoes prior narratives a bit too closely. The character of the Maestro, a cosmic entity akin to a musical counterpart of the infamous Toymaker, though brilliantly performed by Jinkx Monsoon, draws parallels with previous storylines that may feel too familiar for long-standing fans.

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This episode does instill anticipation for what Davies might conceive with the notion of a Pantheon of eternal entities. Although the storyline feels undeveloped, the episode’s high production value and skilled performances offer redemption to an otherwise discordant note in the series.

“Space Babies” earns itself a solid perfect score for creativity and the successful integration of classic and contemporary themes. In contrast, “The Devil’s Chord” encounters a few hiccups, resulting in a mildly disappointing but still respectable rating.

The commencement of this new “Doctor Who” series exhibits the qualities that have long captivated fans: otherworldly adventures, companionship growth, and confronting entities that challenge both morality and imagination. Fans and newcomers alike eagerly wait for the remainder of the series, with the hope that it will continue the adventurous spirit that stole their hearts in the first place.

RATING: 4.0 out of 5.0

“Doctor Who: Series 1” streams on BBC iPlayer and Disney+.

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1 Response

  1. Wooden German says:

    Just watched the season premiere and I must say, Ncuti Gatwa really nailed it as the new Doctor! The synergy with Millie Gibson is fantastic. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the series unfolds. (P.S. there’s a typo in your article, it’s Davies’ not Davie’s)

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