‘Doctor Who’ star Ncuti Gatwa filmed with 20 babies during season premiere

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While filming episode one of ‘Doctor Who’ season 14, titled ‘Space Babies’, Millie Gibson had to do the impossible: hold the attention of twenty babies at once. Although she voiced her soul in a speech that was integral to her character’s backstory, the babies continued to fall asleep and lost attention to the flashing lights of the space-age set. So to keep their little eyes on her, she delivered her lines while a nursery rhyme played on her phone, just out of view of the camera.

“It was so hard, honestly,” Gibson remembers. “It was the most bizarre thing, but it will stay in my mind forever.”

The cast and crew of “Doctor Who” walked the red carpet on premiere night at the NeueHouse in Hollywood on Wednesday, ready to celebrate 60 years of the Doctor and discuss how they brought the debut episode of the new season to life.

The 14th season of “Doctor Who” follows the 15th Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and his companion Ruby Sunday (Gibson) as they travel through spacetime in the iconic police box time machine known as the Tardis. In ‘Space Babies’, Ruby and the Doctor are stranded on a spaceship occupied by talking newborns and must find a way to return them to their home planet.

“They were such divas,” Gatwa joked about his co-stars as a toddler. “They had so many demands.”

Although taxing, Gatwa described the experience as “magical” as it forced the entire set to work together to keep the little actors focused.

“The entire crew had to be involved in entertaining the babies,” Gatwa said. “It is mainly a group effort. Chaotic indeed. Very, very chaotic.”

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Russell T Davies, the writer and showrunner of ‘Doctor Who’ from 2005-2010, has returned to the Whoniverse as showrunner, writer and executive producer. He said working with the toddlers posed a challenge, both on set and in post-production, figuring out how to get them to talk.

“We tried to do adult voices on it and it was strangely scary. Plus the mouth was too expressive,” Davies explained.

The idea of ​​using CGI babies was also tossed around. But eventually they brought in younger actors to record the lines and map the dialogue onto the babies’ faces.

“I think they’re about nine or 11 years old,” Davies said. “We recorded and mapped them [the dialogue] out on CG. It takes… many, many hours to work on it.”

Season 14 of “Doctor Who” launches worldwide on Disney Plus (excluding the UK) on May 10 at 7pm ET. The UK premiere begins on May 11 at midnight GMT on BBC iPlayer.

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