It’s official, Millie Gibson is the new Doctor Who companion who’ll be travelling through space and time with Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor in Series 14. The 18-year-old actor is best known for playing the role of series regular Kelly Neelan in ITV soap Coronation Street, and if you want to feel old, was born just one year before the sci-fi show returned to television in 2005. She’ll be playing a character called Ruby Sunday.
The announcement was made live on the BBC’s Children in Need charity fundraising show, after a host of comedy skits and real-life stories, and the ever-brilliant Mel Giedroyc performing a bespoke dance to the Doctor Who theme music (the lyrics are “zonga zonga” now. It’s official.)
As a young soap actor Gibson follows in the footsteps of Jenna Coleman, who got her start in Emmerdale before becoming Clara Oswald and kick-starting a solid dramatic career. Here’s the first look image of the new travelling pair:
In the official press release, Gibson described feeling honoured by the gift of a role, not being able to wait to get started, and promising to try to fill the boots of the fellow companions that have gone before her. Russell T Davies added: “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.”
Ncuti Gatwa commented: “Millie just is the companion. She is full of talent, strength, she has a cheeky sparkle in her eye and is sharp as a razor. From the moment she walked into the room she captured all of our attention with her effervescence and then solidified that attention with the sheer torque of her talent. This adventure is going to be so wild and so fun, I cannot WAIT to sail the universe with Millie!”
Here’s Gatwa quizzing Gibson on her familiarity with the Doctor, and where she was when she found out she’d landed the role:
Previous to the announcement, rumours had swirled about the new companion role going to EastEnders’ Rose Ayling-Ellis, Sex Education’s Patricia Allison, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall (ever since Ncuti Gatwa was papped standing next to her at a Bristol music festival in June) and more.
Top secret companion auditions were reported by Doctor Who Magazine to have taken place on the 24th of September, when returning showrunner Russell T Davies posted a photograph of himself on Instagram with a clean-shaven and no-longer-blonde Ncuti Gatwa, alongside returning producer Phil Collinson and casting director Andy Pryor.
May 2022 was a big month for Doctor Who announcements. Not only was Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa announced as the next Doctor, but so were the returns of David Tennant and Catherine Tate for what we now know will be a three-part 60th anniversary special. Those new episodes are due to air during 2023’s festive season and will star Neil Patrick Harris as a mysterious (but perhaps not so mysterious) villain, along with Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney playing a character named Rose.
Here’s the teaser for the anniversary specials, which were directed by Rachel Talalay (‘Twice Upon a Time’, ‘The Doctor Falls’), Tom Kingsley (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats, This is Going to Hurt) and Chanya Button (World on Fire, The Spanish Princess):
To round up what’s been confirmed then: we have a new-old showrunner, a brand new Doctor and companion, a new first block director in Dylan Holmes Williams, and a new home for international streaming in Disney+, which will air Series 14 outside of the UK and Ireland.
Filming is about to begin on Series 14 this month, so expect many more updates to come…