A Trio of 'Doctor Who' Stars Will Take Over London's West End This Fall

Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant, and Ncuti Gatwa in "Doctor Who"

Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant, and Ncuti Gatwa in "Doctor Who"

(Photo: BBC/Disney+)

Truly, there's never a bad time to go to London. One of the greatest cities in the world in general, it's got incredible museums, awe-inspiring history, excellent food, iconic scenery, and a theater scene that often beats out America's own Great White Way for both scope and star power. 

If you listened to our recent podcast episode on this subject, you'll already know that fan favorites like Michael Sheen (Good Omens), Ian McKellen (Vicious), Sarah Snook (Succession), and Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso) have appeared in several London productions so far this year. 

But if you happen to be a Doctor Who fan, rarely has there been a better time to visit London than this coming Fall, which will see three of the iconic sci-fi series' most recognizable stars take to the stage over the same time period. Three former Doctors will be starring in three very different productions across London's West End from October through the end of the year. 

Tenth and Fourteenth Doctor David Tennant will be reprising his Olivier-nominated role in Macbeth as part of a West End transfer. Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker will lead the cast of the classic-turned-contemporary drama The Duchess. And current Doctor Ncuti Gatwa will make his National Theatre debut as part of an all-star cast performing The Importance of Being Earnest. Truly, an embarrassment of riches for anyone who loves great theater --- or just former Time Lords. 

Here's what we know about the three shows our Whovian faves will be starring in and when you can see them for yourselves. 


The first show to arrive in the West End will be Macbeth, a transfer of the critically acclaimed Donmar Wearhouse winter 2023 production that saw Tennant land an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance as the infamous Scottish king. (He ultimately lost out to Mark Gatiss in the National Theatre's The Motive and the Cue.)

The Donmar revival, which took place in the theater's notoriously small production space (less than 300 seats per show) was almost impossible to get a ticket for. The transfer will take up residence in the West End's much larger Howard Pinter Theater for a three-month run from October 1 to December 14, with Tennant and Cush Jumbo (Criminal Record) reprising their leading roles as William Shakespeare's most murderous married couple. 

Alongside Tennant and Jumbo will be the entire company of last year's Donmar Warehouse production, including Moyo Akandé as Ross; Annie Grace as Musician and Gentlewoman; Brian James O’Sullivan as Donalbain, Soldier, Murderer, and Musician; Casper Knopf as Macduff's Son, Fleance, and Young Siward; Cal MacAninch as Banquo; Kathleen MacInnes as The Singer; Alasdair Macrae as Musician; Rona Morison as Lady Macduff; Noof Ousellam as Macduff; Raffi Phillips as Macduff's Son, Fleance, Young Siward; Jatinder Singh Randhawa as The Porter and Seytan; Ros Watt as Malcolm; and Benny Young as Duncan and Doctor.

Bad news for fans though, save for some very pricey premium tickets, this second outing of the Scottish play is also almost entirely sold out. (Though in the weeks ahead the venue has promised additional ticket releases and a reduced price scheme for most performances. Keep an eye on their website.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Hot on the heels of the Macbeth transfer came the news of the National Theatre's upcoming Fall slate of shows, which includes David Oyelowo (Lawman: Bass Reeves) as the lead in Shakespeare's Coriolanus and a contemporary adaptation of Antigone titled The Other Place that will star Emma D'Arcy (House of the Dragon) and Tobias Menzies (Manhunt). 

But the production that will be of most interest to Doctor Who fans is the theater's forthcoming revival of The Importance of Being Earnest. This latest take on Oscar Wilde's infamous comedy of manners will not only star Fifteenth Doctor Gatwa, but also fellow Who alum Sharon D. Clarke. The production will be helmed by Olivier Award-nominated director Max Webster in his National Theatre debut (and fresh off directing the Donmar Macbeth mentioned above). 

Gatwa will play Algernon Moncrieff, while Clarke will take on the role of Lady Bracknell. Alongside the Whovians will be Hugh Skinner as Jack Worthing, Richard Cant as Reverend Canon Chasuble, and Amanda Lawrence as Miss Prism. 

“It is a joy to be welcoming Max Webster in his National Theatre directorial debut with a new production of Oscar Wilde’s hilariously subversive comedy ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,' Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said in a statement. "Max has assembled an extraordinary cast to reimagine one of our greatest comedies, with Ncuti Gatwa making his National Theatre debut. We are also delighted to welcome back Richard Cant, Amanda Lawrence, Hugh Skinner and Sharon D Clarke, who is returning to play one of Wilde’s most iconic roles – Lady Bracknell.

The Importance of Being Earnest will play at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton theater from November 20 through Jan. 25, 2025.

The Duchess

This Fall will also see former Thirteenth Doctor Whittaker return to the London stage for the first time in over a decade with The Duchess. This Trafalgar Theatre production is a contemporary adaptation of John Webster's iconic play The Duchess of Malfi, adapted and directed by Zinnie Harris. 

Recently widowed and in search of a new lease on life, the titular Duchess defies her family’s wishes when she marries beneath her class. However, when her brothers, driven by insurmountable greed and rage, discover her second marriage they unleash a series of cruel and devastating punishments against her that repress her power. But will their vicious atrocities come back to haunt them?

"I'm beyond delighted to return to the stage after over a decade, and even more so to lead Zinnie Harris's incredibly powerful adaptation of John Webster's harrowing drama," Whittaker said in a statement when the production was announced. "Zinnie has so brilliantly propelled The Duchess of Malfi into contemporary culture, which is what originally drew me to the piece. Being able to portray the Duchess's tragic and captivating story on stage every night is a true honor."

The Duchess will play a strictly limited run from October 5 to December 20. 

Doctor Who's current season is streaming on Disney+ with new episodes on Fridays through mid-June. Previous seasons with Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant are streaming on Max.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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