DOCTOR WHO: Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, & Russell T Davies On Keeping The Series Rooted In Cardiff (Exclusive)

DOCTOR WHO: Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, & Russell T Davies On Keeping The Series Rooted In Cardiff (Exclusive) DOCTOR WHO: Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, & Russell T Davies On Keeping The Series Rooted In Cardiff (Exclusive)

Doctor Who stars Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson share what they loved about filming the series in Cardiff, Wales, while showrunner Russell T. Davies explains why it was important to keep the revival there.

By JoshWilding - May 11, 2024 10:05 AM EST
Filed Under: Doctor Who

If you're a Doctor Who fan, then chances are you'll know the series has primarily been shot in Wales since its 2005 relaunch. Various locations used for iconic scenes have become must-visit destinations, while Cardiff even featured a "Doctor Who Experience" for a time. 

The latest series of the long-running sci-fi TV show returned last night and, while Disney+'s involvement has given Doctor Who a much bigger budget, much of the action remains rooted in Wales.

During a recent press event for the series, we asked stars Ncuti Gatwa (The Doctor) and Millie Gibson (Ruby Sunday) what they enjoyed about filming in Cardiff before wondering why returning showrunner Russell T Davies chose to keep the Whoniverse there. 

After all, when the news broke that Disney+ would stream the series, some worried that we'd see the franchise "Americanized." That hasn't happened, and it turns out there's a very good reason why not...

Ncuti and Millie, I'd love to know what you both enjoyed most about shooting the series in and around Cardiff and, Russell, why was it important for you to keep the show's roots in Wales, even with the relaunch's bigger budget?

Ncuti: Oh, filming in Cardiff is such a joy. I love Wales, a lot. I've been working there for the past four years, so I'm very familiar with how beautiful it is. It feels like the perfect landscape to film a sci-fi show because you've got quarries, mountains, and the nature is just breathtaking. Also, Welsh people are very friendly...

Millie: Yes, so friendly!  

Ncuti: You leave the city and meet nice, lovely, friendly people so that's what is nice about working in Cardiff. 

Millie: I remember pulling into Bad Wolf Studios in Cardiff for the first time and because I was really secret and under wraps, the driver just went, 'We've got a wolf coming in!' I was like, 'I'm a wolf?'

Ncuti: [Laughs]

Millie: 'There's a wolf coming in and it's me!' [Laughs] So, yeah, I absolutely loved filming in Cardiff. Like you said [Ncuti], you just get to know a whole new place. I've had a few nights out, but I will say Manchester beats Cardiff, but it's still gorgeous. 

Russell: As for me, I'm a Welshman, so I'd be tarred and feathered if I tried to take it out of Cardiff. The thing is, it's been in Cardiff since 2004, and there are families and people on the team who have children that are Doctor Who babies. People have met on set and live in Cardiff. It's woven into the city, so it wouldn't be a business decision to move it to another place. It's woven into Cardiff itself, so I would never entertain that conversation because it's a beautiful place to work. 

"Doctor Who is back and bigger, better, and more brilliant than ever," we said in our review of the first two episodes. "Alongside the fantastic Ncuti Gatwa, returning showrunner Russell T Davies is crafting an epic new run which makes this Whoniverse relaunch a must-watch for new and returning fans alike."

Doctor Who is now streaming on Disney+ in the U.S. and on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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TheVisionary25 - 5/11/2024, 10:19 AM
Doctor Who & Cardiff ,Wales have become synonymous with each other since the new iteration of the show started so it would be odd to move it now…

I’m glad they have no intention to do so as of now and hope they never do!!.

Anyway , looking forward to checking out the new episodes soon..

If anyone has , let me know how they are?.

User Comment Image
JoshWilding - 5/11/2024, 10:26 AM
@TheVisionary25 - First one is good, second is excellent! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
Apophis71 - 5/11/2024, 5:27 PM
@TheVisionary25 - I agree with Josh on them, first is good, second great...

...that isn't to say there are not issues if being critical but Ncuti and Millie are so great in their respective roles I don't care even when it goes nutty with the 'twist' at the end of the second ep, lol.

I aint giving any spoilers, but I was spot on with Maestro and the intrigue increases with Ruby
BillyBatson1000 - 5/11/2024, 10:32 AM
Rooted in Cardiff? We're taking risks these days.

The original series - they could journey anywhere in the galaxy, any point or time, as long as it was a landfill.
KelvTwelve - 5/11/2024, 1:10 PM
@BillyBatson1000 - "Doctor! We've landed on this abandoned planet that's totally not a quarry we rented out for the 80th time in a row!"
AC1 - 5/11/2024, 10:36 AM
I'm glad it's staying in Wales, the film and TV industry has slowly been growing here and it's all rooted in Doctor Who's influence over the past 20 years. Being part of that industry felt so out of reach before, like it was an entirely different world, but now it's on our doorstep. That's not to say it's easy, but at least it's in reach.
DocSpock - 5/11/2024, 11:11 AM

Americanize it?

Who cares since they already CRAPinized it.

Can Disney fix this once good show? They could, but they will probably just make it worse.

KelvTwelve - 5/11/2024, 1:10 PM
@DocSpock - Honestly tell me, where do you think Doctor Who went wrong?
DocSpock - 5/11/2024, 2:00 PM
@KelvTwelve -

I am probably jaded because I feel Dr. Who was at its best with David Tennant. I think he was the best ever in the role and his tenure came to an epic very sad satisfying ending(?)

I feel the entertainment value has massively dropped in the episodes since to the point that I may stop watching.

I know the good, bad, and ugly of the Dr. Who cast/lead character changes over the decades, but the show can barely hold my attention now.
braunermegda - 5/11/2024, 5:09 PM
@DocSpock - you talked and talked and talked and didn't answer. Actually you did answer: you think something you don't even watch or hasn't watched for a long time is crappie. Why?
DocSpock - 5/11/2024, 5:50 PM
@braunermegda -

I guess you don't understand plain English. I have watched the episodes, and I very clearly answered the question.

You just seem to want to make trouble. Begone silly troll.
ComicBandit - 5/11/2024, 5:51 PM
@braunermegda - Actually he said, in his humble opinion, it went downhill for him after the Tennant run ended. Personally, I think it went a bit meh after Moffat left. But he had a bit of a dry run so maybe they were right to let him go as showrunner. I will watch this like I did with all the others.
braunermegda - 5/11/2024, 7:13 PM
@DocSpock - no shame to assume my mistake. I read you say until you stopped, and now I read again to see you saying until you may stop watching. My bad, sorry.
braunermegda - 5/11/2024, 7:15 PM
@ComicBandit - yeah, I read that wrong and take the fault. Sorry about that.

I on the other hand really enjoyed Moffat and how it turned darker and darker. But let's hope the new series is as good as tennant's.
ComicBandit - 5/16/2024, 3:04 PM
@braunermegda - it's cool. We are all fans so we all want to see this do well. So here's hoping they don't let us down. :)
marvel72 - 5/11/2024, 1:07 PM
They are showing two episodes before Eurovision.

Will have to find something else to watch, grass growing or paint drying will do.
AnthonyVonGeek - 5/11/2024, 4:00 PM
Russell T Davies Is mad at Netflix for making Baby Reindeer and using real names. Makes me wonder if he has something to hide…..
Apophis71 - 5/12/2024, 10:08 AM
@AnthonyVonGeek - Wouldn't go as far as say 'mad at Netflix'.

The writer said in an interview with The Times that the BBC would have been “much stricter” when it comes to disguising the real-life identities of the characters created by Scottish comedian Richard Gadd. “Compliance and editorial policy drives us mad here but I sleep at night,” Davies said.

So implying it was anything to do with hiding anything specific to RTD is a stretch, apparantly everyone in the industry know who the guy who raped the comedian is, according to Richard Osman at least who stated 'Richard Gadd... has been very open to people in the industry about who that person was'. If it truly is as widely know who the rapist is within the industry no way the Beeb would have hired that person since the Baby Reindeer RL story came out as had more than enough scandal on their hands when they argue they were NOT aware in advance/at the time (regardless if we believe the BBC on that or not, which tbh I oft havn't).

Fair to feel such things shouldn't be hidden as much as they oft are when fictionaly dramatising based on real life stories, litigation and due process are double edged swords.

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