Russell T Davies Reveals The Real Reason Doctor Who Is Filmed So Far In Advance

Filming on next year's series is already complete – before this year's has even aired.
Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa on set
Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa on set
BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/James Pardon

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has lifted the lid on why the beloved sci-fi show needs to be filmed so many months in advance.

The BBC series will be making its much-anticipated return later this month with Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa taking up the reins as The Doctor.

But while the first season of the new instalment has not even arrived on our screens yet, Russell recently revealed that filming of the follow-up has also already wrapped.

In a new interview with Metro, Russell explained exactly why the show had to be shot to this schedule.

“I always knew that we would have to negotiate the fact that we are shooting so far in advance,” he said. “In April, we finished shooting the second season before the first season has even gone out. It’s extraordinary.”

Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies at the 2022 TV Baftas
Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies at the 2022 TV Baftas
Tristan Fewings via Getty Images

The writer continued that they have to work so far ahead because of special effects.

“People think special effects are fast and easy these days. They are not. The better they are, the longer they take,” he shared.

“So it is very hard for us to answer stuff in the press that we have outstripped in our knowledge by an entire year. And yet we can’t give that away.

“It’s just one of the problems of making a show in 2024 and in the end, it is a victim of Doctor Who’s success that people are interested.”

A mystery plot development also means that a second companion will be joining the cast for the next season, played by Andor’s Varada Sethu.

Millie Gibson, Ncuti Gatwa and Varada Sethu behind the scenes of Doctor Who
Millie Gibson, Ncuti Gatwa and Varada Sethu behind the scenes of Doctor Who
James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studio

This initially caused some confusion back in April, after reports in the tabloid press claimed that Coronation Street’s Millie Gibson would not be returning as Ruby Sunday, and would instead be replaced by a new cast member.

However, the BBC has since confirmed that both actors will indeed be on board for season 15.

Another new cast addition is US Broadway star and two-time RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon, who will appear as new villain Mastro in this weekend’s double bill.

“How lucky were we to get her and look at that part,” said Russell.

Doctor Who will return for its 14th season on Saturday, 11 May, with the 15th set to air in 2025.


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