A new look at Doctor Who‘s 2023 seasonal special has been released, revealing the cast and story details for Ncuti Gatwa’s first solo adventure as the Fifteenth Doctor. Gatwa is set to take the keys to the TARDIS in the final moments of the sci-fi series’ third 60th anniversary special, taking over the role from Fourteenth Doctor David Tennant. The 2023 seasonal special will also introduce new companion Ruby Sunday, portrayed by Millie Gibson, with the new TARDIS team meeting for the first time ahead of their adventures in Doctor Who season 14 in 2024.
As the holiday season draws closer, Doctor Who has revealed the first details for the special alongside images of the cast and a goblin. In “The Church on Ruby Road,” Gatwa’s Doctor will learn of Ruby’s tragic origins while battling goblins at Christmastime. The special will also star Michelle Greenidge and Angela Wynter as Ruby’s adoptive mother Carla and grandmother Cherry, Anita Dobson as Mrs. Flood, and television host Davina McCall as herself. The synopsis is as follows:
Little is known about Ruby Sunday as she was abandoned on Christmas Eve as a baby. Now living with her mum, Carla and grandmother, Cherry her world is about to be turned upside when she encounters the Doctor and the two set off on their first adventure together…
How Ncuti Gatwa’s First Doctor Who Seasonal Special Will Set Up Season 14
With “The Church on Ruby Road” airing only twelve days after Gatwa is expected to make his first appearance in Doctor Who‘s third 60th anniversary special, it won’t be long before his Fifteenth Doctor leads the sci-fi show into a new era. Furthermore, Gatwa’s first full season will reportedly debut early in 2024, according to a retracted promotional statement. As such, the upcoming Christmas special will establish the groundwork for the Doctor and Ruby’s adventures throughout season 14.
Greenidge and Dobson are expected to appear in supporting roles across Doctor Who season 14. Their returns could suggest that the Fifteenth Doctor’s adventures will bring back showrunner Russell T Davies’ original storytelling priorities from his first tenure, when the companions’ domestic, everyday lives played a larger role within the series. With filming for the season featuring the Doctor and Ruby joining forces with Earthbound heroes like former companion Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford) and UNIT leader Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), perhaps Ruby’s family could find themselves amid alien incursions.
With goblins and game show hosts playing key roles in Doctor Who‘s 2023 seasonal special, the episode undoubtedly stands apart from the 60th anniversary stories. However, with Ruby’s tragic childhood set to be a central driving force, “The Church on Ruby Road” will not only be a wild adventure, but will also have an emotional arc that will help endear audiences to the Doctor’s latest companion. As such, Gatwa’s Doctor Who debut promises to be a strong opening story for his era.