‘Doctor Who’ — Matt Smith Gave Ncuti Gatwa This Advice for Leading the Show


The Big Picture

  • Ncuti Gatwa received advice from former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, who reassured him that he was doing a good job and reminded him to enjoy the role.
  • Millie Gibson reached out to Karen Gillan for advice, as Gillan is her idol, and was grateful for the warm and genuine words of advice she received.
  • Both Gatwa and Gibson have had positive interactions with previous Doctor Who stars, including Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill, who reached out to them after they were cast.

When it comes to joining Doctor Who, there’s no better cast to look to if you need advice. With a show that’s run for sixty years and gone through fourteen lead actors — most of whom are still alive and kicking — incumbent stars have a Rolodex of faces to ask for help, whether they’re playing the immortal Time Lord who flits through time and space in a blue police box, or one of the many people who’s joined him on his adventures.

Incoming Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa certainly took advantage of that privilege. While he previously revealed that his anniversary special co-star David Tennant started a group chat full of former Doctors to give him advice, he told Collider’s Samantha Coley that House of the Dragon star Matt Smith, who played the Eleventh Doctor for nearly five years, gave him some of the best advice about taking on such a massively influential role:

“It’s such a prestigious role, and as actors you want to do your best by it. You’ll beat yourself up if you don’t feel like you have. And so I remember doing that throughout Season 1, just being like, “I just feel like I’m ruining it all.” Talking to Matt about it, Matt was like, “I was exactly the same. I just felt like every day I was so hard on myself and felt like I wasn’t doing a good enough job, but trust me, you are. If they say that you are, then you are,” and like, “I know the role means a lot to you and you want to do your best by it, but also remember to enjoy it.”

Millie Gibson Also Got Advice for Playing a Companion

Gatwa’s co-star and current companion Millie Gibson also revealed that she reached out to a fellow Moffat-era star for advice. Having previously revealed that Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond is her favorite companion, she said she “reached out to Karen myself, just because I’m in awe in her,” Gibson continued:

“I basically just said, ‘Look, if there’s anything that I should know, I just wanna reach out with pure respect.’ And yeah, she just gave me the warmest, most genuine words, and really, really great advice. And it was so, so cool to talk to her, because she’s, like, one of my idols, so it was — yeah, she didn’t have to do that, and it was so lovely.”

She also revealed that Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill — who played the Thirteenth Doctor and her companion Yasmin Khan — reached out after Gibson was cast, which was “crazy” to her: “There’s so many incredible people [that are] a part of this world, but yeah, they were so special and so, so nice. I got great advice, but I shall not reveal what they said.”

Gatwa and Gibson will make their proper debut as Doctor and companion when “The Church on Ruby Road” premieres on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

Doctor Who

The show follows the adventures of a Time Lord “The Doctor” who is able to regenerate, and the Doctor’s human friends. The Doctor and companion’s journey through time and space in the TARDIS – a time-traveling ship shaped like a police box – saving the universe with a combination of wit, bravery, and kindness.

Release Date
March 17, 2006

Main Genre



Streaming Service(s)

Watch on Disney+


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