Doctor Who Season 14 Subtly Hints Ncuti Gatwa Will Break A 16-Year Regeneration Streak


The penultimate episode of Doctor Who season 14 hinted that the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) could break a 16-year regeneration streak. The concept of the Doctor and other Time Lords being able to change form after being mortally wounded has been a core part of the series since it was born out of necessity in 1966, when lead actor William Hartnell became too ill to continue playing the role. Every actor who plays Doctor Who eventually leaves the program, and the regeneration scene defines both the old and new Doctors’ tenure.

The post-2005 reboot of Doctor Who changed the number of regenerations the Doctor can have, as well as some other parts of the canon, but regeneration itself will always be part of the series. While there are no hard-and-fast rules about how long a Doctor may stay in the role, all of modern Doctor Who’s leads have followed similar trajectories. However, a comment the Fifteenth Doctor made during “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” suggests that Gatwa may break this tradition.

Doctor Who Season 14, Episode 7 Hints Ncuti Gatwa Could Stay Longer Than 3 Seasons

He Would Be The First Lead Actor to Do So In 16 Years

Every Doctor Who companion eventually learns about regeneration, either by someone telling them or by witnessing it firsthand. All of Doctor Who’s modern leads have stuck around for three full seasons. But Ruby Sunday’s (Millie Gibson) conversation about the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, led to a comment that suggested that the Fifteenth Doctor could be around longer. After the Doctor explained to Ruby that Time Lords can change their appearance, either to preserve their lives or to disguise themselves, he reassured her that he was not planning on changing his for a long time.

This might have been a throwaway line that demonstrated Fifteen’s personality. However, it could just as well have been another example of Doctor Who breaking the fourth wall. The current season has had plenty of meta-commentary, so there is little reason to assume that the Doctor’s comment was not more of the same. This comment could easily have been Gatwa telling the audience that he plans to remain in the role for a long time, rather than leaving after his third season.

Why Ncuti Gatwa Must Break Modern Doctor Who’s 3-Season Regeneration Streak

Gatwa Deserves More Time As The Doctor Than He’s Gotten So Far

It would be best for the series for the Fifteenth Doctor to remain for longer than three years. Gatwa’s first season features less of the Doctor than previous outings. Doctor Who season 14 is only 8 episodes, while most modern Doctor Who seasons are 12 to 14 episodes. Furthermore, Gatwa’s first season contains two Doctor-lite episodes in which he hardly appears. This is due to scheduling conflicts, as Gatwa was wrapping up his run on Netflix’s Sex Education when filming began. Thus, if Gatwa leaves prematurely, he would have far less screen time than most modern Doctors.

Gatwa brings a fun, energetic vibe to his Doctor Who role, and he should remain long enough to cement his iteration of the Doctor.

It would be a shame if Gatwa’s Doctor only lasted three seasons, especially taking his reduced screen time into account. Gatwa brings a fun, energetic vibe to his Doctor Who role, and he should remain long enough to cement his iteration of the Doctor. His tenure has barely begun, so he would be far more memorable if he stayed for more than three years. This is especially true if the series continues its trend of shorter seasons.