TV Series

Q&A with new companion Millie Gibson

The new TARDIS companion discusses her character Ruby Sunday, her dynamic with Ncuti Gatwa, and the positive cross-generational power of Doctor Who...

The Doctor and the TARDIS return in Season 1 this weekend - and joining them is new companion Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson. Picking up where they left off in The Church on Ruby Road, Ruby joins the Fifteenth Doctor on all-new adventures across time and space.

We talked to Millie about working with Ncuti Gatwa, her early experiences of watching the show with her dad, and the importance of the role of the Doctor's companion...

Doctor Who premieres on BBC iPlayer in the UK 11th May and Disney+ 10th May where available.

Millie Gibson Q&A

What are your memories of watching the Christmas special, the first Doctor Who episode in which you appeared?

It’s all a bit of a blur. I love my dad’s cooking, and I remember on Christmas Day we were all sat down to eat it. But I was like, “I can't eat my dad's food” because I was so nervous. But I was with all my close family in a very protected bubble, so I felt safe. They were all being very supportive but at the same time not making it a big deal. It took a bit of getting used to that it was being played worldwide. But as soon as it came on, it felt like it was just us watching it in my living room. It wasn't the rest of the world as well!

How did you feel when the reaction to the Christmas episode was so universally positive?

We were absolutely over the moon. The show offers such hope for people. I think that people just really enjoyed the Christmas episode and had a laugh with it, and that was all we could have asked for. I was buzzing!

Why do you think Doctor Who has such a positive effect on people?

It’s a comfort show. When I'm sad, I always watch my comfort shows. Doctor Who just cheers you up. It's kind of like, I can switch off from whatever's bothering me at the minute.

Do you feel like Doctor Who also has cross-generational appeal?

Yes. That's what's so lovable about it. And I think that's what brings people together, especially when it is the Christmas episode because families can all relate to this show. People think, “We should watch the new Doctor Who Christmas special because it’s just so Christmassy.” That’s what drew me in on Christmas Day as well. 

How would you describe Ruby?

She’s an absolute fireball! She's craving for adventure to happen. She's charismatic. She's a glass-half-full kind of person. She's just very positive, I think she's just lovable. I look at her and think, ‘Yes, I agree with Ruby. She’s right. Everything is going to be okay.’ I think that's nice to see. 

Millie Gibson Q&A

Do you enjoy working with Ncuti?

Absolutely. The energy is like a tennis match. Ruby says one thing and the Doctor says another, and it's just like, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. It’s so much fun to play. At the end of every day, we were knackered because we used so much energy. But at the same time, we would always find a bit of the scene where we could breathe, and it would be a little bit emotional and raw. 

It's such a lovely dynamic to watch and to act. Some of the adventures and situations they find themselves in are really funny. Whenever you think, ‘Oh my God, how are they going to get out of this one?’ they will use their humour, and their charm, and their spark. So hopefully people will get to know them and fall in love with them and laugh at their journeys along the way.

Why is the relationship between the Doctor and the companion so vital to the show?

The connection between the Doctor and the companion has got to be there because they’re fighting for their lives together every day as they travel the universe. They have got to have faith and trust in one another. They're forever bonded. I think the Doctor is very protective of Ruby. But there is a certain love between every single duo that has ever been on the show. It’s beautiful.

Will we be watching some of the episodes from behind the sofa?

Absolutely. There's a scene, which is in the trailer, where we are running away from a monster. I was genuinely thinking, ‘Oh my God, when are they going to say ‘cut’?’ It was terrifying.

Growing up, were you frightened of the monsters?

Definitely. I remember when I was about seven, my mum took me to the Doctor Who Experience. It was the Weeping Angels and monsters like that. I was literally sweating, terrified. My mum was saying, “Isn’t this great?” And I replied, “No, it’s absolutely terrifying!” 

Were you a fan of the show as a child?

Yes. It used to be a show that my dad and I always watched together. I’d say, ‘It’s Saturday night, and Doctor Who is on – never mind going out with friends!’ I was the Matt Smith era. So that's why I'm so hooked on the Weeping Angels. When you find a Doctor, he immediately becomes ‘your’ Doctor. So now it will be Ncuti, obviously. 

Millie Gibson Q&A

What makes Russell’s writing stand out?

It’s just magic. When you read the scripts, he writes in such a perfectly detailed way that you can see exactly how he wants it to be. It’s like when you read a book, you can picture what the character looks like. It’s the same with Russell's scripts. His dialogue just boosts your acting. It helps so much. It’s really special. He’s made my job a lot easier because his writing is so beautiful and so easy to bring to life.

Do you enjoy all the fans’ attention?

It's really surreal. The passion of the fans is phenomenal. I get tagged in a lot of cosplay Ruby outfits.  We are very honoured to have such a lovable and dedicated fan base. The show is nothing without the fans.

If you could travel to anywhere and anytime in the universe, where would you go?

'Midnight in Paris'. It’s brilliant. Like Owen Wilson does in that film, I’d love to go back to Paris in the 1920’s. At that time, anyone who was anyone would all hang out in those bars. I’d love to go there. 

What will audiences take away from this series?

It always relates back to the theme of being abandoned because the Doctor and Ruby are both foundlings. When it’s over, I think people will just be calling and wanting a hug from their mum, or calling up their best friend and asking to hang out. 

Can you sum up Doctor Who in five words?

Magical. Musical. Supernatural. Lovable. Timeless.

Doctor Who premieres on BBC iPlayer in the UK 11th May and Disney+ 10th May where available.

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