Watch Ncuti Gatwa’s Surprise Adventure in Space and Time Appearance


When it comes to Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebrations, all eyes are on this weekend as the series prepares to kick off a trio of weekly special episodes. But on Doctor Who’s anniversary itself yesterday, fans were treated to a wonderful couple of surprises that offered some lovely nods to the show’s future.

On BBC 4 last night, a special double bill of the colorization of Who’s second-ever serial “The Daleks” as well as a rebroadcast of the 50th anniversary docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time saw both conclude with surprise moments. The first saw The Daleks conclude with a “The Story Continues” tease, a trailer depicting brand new colorizations of a whole host of iconic moments from Doctor Who’s black-and-white era, from the Daleks invading Earth, the debut of the Cybermen and the Doctor’s first regeneration, and even a brief glimpse of Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor.

The William Hartnell Years In Colour Trailer | Doctor Who: The Daleks Colourisation

It was a lovely touch—and, perhaps, a sign of potential things to come given the largely positive reaction to the condensed edit of “The Daleks.” Doctor Who is already willing to revitalize its missing history through animation, after all, what’s not to say we couldn’t see it get this technicolor, TV movie treatment once more?

The second big surprise came at the climax of the broadcast of An Adventure in Space and Time. The docudrama, starring David Bradley as William Hartnell as he navigates his time across the production of Doctor Who, concludes with a sentimental scene of Hartnell recording his final scenes on the show—only to look up from the TARDIS console and find Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor staring back at him, a glimpse of the future to show the actor who kicked it all off that the show would keep on going and going for generations to come. Except, last night, it wasn’t Matt Smith staring back across the TARDIS console: with a cheeky wink and a smile, Ncuti Gatwa’s fifteenth Doctor made his TV debut.

The Fifteenth Doctor Appears | An Adventure In Space And Time | Doctor Who

The intent at the time was that the scene could easily be updated for future showings to include the then-current incarnation of the Doctor—Smith was shot not in-studio, but on a green screen (you can even see in the original that he’s incorrectly composited in one shot to appear in front of the console, rather than behind it). And Gatwa himself did recently let slip that he’d filmed a moment with the First Doctor, so while some fans had put two-and-two together, it was still a lovely little moment to cap off a very special night on Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.


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