‘Doctor Who’: Ncuti Gatwa Replaces Matt Smith in Re-Edited 2013 Special

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Ncuti Gatwa has made his first official broadcast appearance as the Fifteenth Doctor in a re-edited version of An Adventure In Space and Time, the Doctor Who special that first aired in 2013.

In honor of the long-running sci-fi series’ 60th anniversary, the U.K.’s BBC Four re-aired the 2013 special, which was originally part of the show’s 50th anniversary and chronicled the development of Doctor Who from conception to super hit.

Game of Thrones alum David Bradley played First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the special, which ends with Hartnell seeing a vision of the current Doctor as he films his final episode, 1966’s “The Tenth Planet,” showing him that the future of the show is in good hands.

In the original broadcast, Matt Smith, who was portraying the Eleventh Doctor at the time, appeared in Hartnell’s vision. However, in the new, re-edited version, Gatwa’s Doctor, who is set to take over the role for the upcoming season, replaces Smith.

The scene sees a heartbroken Hartnell having to step down as the Doctor due to ongoing health issues and his mind is plagued with doubts about the show’s legacy. But when he sees a vision of Gatwa, Hartnell smiles, reassured that the show he helped create will have a lasting impact for years to come.

Fans seemed on board with the change, with one viewer writing, “I think the scene with Matt was beautiful, and if you asked me, I would not want it messed with, but this hit me in the feels just as hard. Great move. It’s not about us, its about the role.”

Matt Smith in 2013 Doctor Who special

Matt Smith in original 2013 airing; BBC/Twitter

“As much as I love Matt, I absolutely LOVED this moment! It’s so amazing to finally see Ncuti on screen!” said another.

“Brilliant, I think they did better with this one, not because of Matt, but because when Matt was at the console, if you noticed, the way he was positioned didn’t look correct and felt like he was on the TARDIS console, not behind it,” commented one fan.

Doctor Who‘s 60th-anniversary celebrations get underway this Saturday, November 25, with the first of three specials featuring returning fan-favorite David Tennant, the former Tenth Doctor who steps back into the TARDIS as the Fourteenth Doctor.

Tennant’s Doctor will reunite with his former companion, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), who had her memory wiped at the end of Season 4 in order to defeat the Daleks. The specials will also feature Neil Patrick Harris as the menacing new villain, The Toymaker.

It’s A Sin creator Russell T. Davies is also back as showrunner; Davies was the man behind the show’s revival in 2005. Davies will helm the trio of anniversary specials and the new season starring Gatwa, which is set to premiere in 2024 on Disney+.

Doctor Who, Saturday, November 25, Disney+

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