“It’s a shame”: Doctor Who’s Isaac Newton Actor Has a David Tennant Regret Due to the Show

Nathaniel Curtis, who guest starred as Isaac Newton in Doctor Who 2023 Special 'Wild Blue Yonder,' didn't get to work alongside David Tennant on set.

Doctor Who’s Isaac Newton Actor Has a David Tennant Regret Due to the Show


  • Nathaniel Curtis stars as Isaac Newton in Doctor Who's second 2023 special, "Wild Blue Yonder."
  • Although they appeared on-screen together, the 32-year-old actor couldn't work alongside David Tennant on the show's set.
  • David Tennant, who returned to the series as part of the 60th anniversary, praised Nathaniel Curtis and expressed his regret over not filming a scene together.
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Doctor Who guest star Nathaniel Curtis, best known for his role in Channel 4’s It’s a Sin (2021), has shared an interesting fact about Wild Blue Yonder—the second of the three 2023 specials of the acclaimed British sci-fi TV series. Even though the 32-year-old star appeared on the screen alongside David Tennant, the pair didn’t get to meet on the show’s set. 

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Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton in Doctor Who 2023 specials
Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton in the show’s second 60th anniversary special.

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The 2023 specials serve to commemorate the show’s 60th anniversary. Tennant and Catherine Tate returned for the occasion. Tennant played the role of the Fourteenth Doctor, the latest incarnation who resembles the Tenth Doctor. Tate, meanwhile, reprised the character of Donna Noble. In the second special aired on 2 December 2023, Nathaniel Curtis cameoed as Isaac Newton.

The documentary series Doctor Who: Unleashed disclosed the logistical reason for Curtis and Tennant’s inability to film together.


Nathaniel Curtis Couldn’t Film With David Tennant For The Doctor Who Special

The second of the three Doctor Who 2023 specials—Wild Blue Yonder
The second of the three Doctor Who 2023 specials—Wild Blue Yonder

Neither David Tennant nor Catherine Tate were able to meet Nathaniel Curtis on the set of Doctor Who‘s second 2023 special, Wild Blue Yonder. In the opening sequence, the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna briefly encounter Isaac Newton just as he is about to discover his theory of gravity (or should we say, mavity?)

The actors weren’t all there for the sequence’s filming, despite the scene’s amazing visuals giving the impression that they were. As revealed in Doctor Who: Unleashed, Curtis wasn’t present on the set alongside Tennant and Tate during the production of the special’s opening. David Tennant and Catherine Tate filmed their TARDIS scenes at the Bad Wolf Studios with the help of a green screen, whereas Curtis’s Newton appearance was shot somewhere else.

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special 2
Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special 2

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Expressing regret over not getting to work together on-set, the star of the series, David Tennant, said:


“It’s a shame. I’ve met Nathaniel, and he’s really nice. I would have loved to do a scene with him. […] Apparently, he asked not to have anything to do with us. He asked to be kept apart. He was very particular.”

The latter portion of the statement was stated in a lighthearted spirit. On the other hand, Nathaniel Curtis had the following to say:

“I love David Tennant. He’s such a lovely man and a brilliant Doctor. I grew up watching him as the Doctor, so it’s a bit surreal.”

While his co-stars had only lovely things to say about him, some social media users don’t like that Nathaniel Curtis is playing Isaac Newton, deeming it “woke.” In response, Doctor Who casting director Andy Pryor explained why Curtis’ embodiment of the role made sense.


Doctor Who Casting Director Explained Why The Casting Works

Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton
Nathaniel Curtis as Isaac Newton

In an interview with Digital Spy, the casting director of the British sci-fi TV series, Andy Pryor, disclosed it was showrunner Russell T Davies who came up with the concept to bring in Curtis for the role of Newton. He explained the decision in the statement below:

“That was Russell’s idea, actually. We had talked about trying to get Nathaniel in the show at some point, and I think it’s a … rather cheeky but fun interpretation of Isaac Newton. You know, it’s not a historical drama. Let’s just have some fun with it.”

In response to the social media backlash for casting Curtis in the role of a real-life historical figure who happened to be a white man, Pryor had the following to comment:


“It’s sad that we’re in a time where people villainize minorities. […] I’m also very, very happy to block people on Twitter. I don’t really have any time for bigotry at all.”

Additionally, the casting director clarified that the goal behind such casting choices is to guarantee that people are given a voice and that members of all minorities are well-represented. “If they can see themselves on screen, then that can be a huge lifeline for some people,” explained Pryor.

He concluded his statement by affirming that most of the time, people on social media “get sucked into” preaching hateful rhetoric they might not legitimately believe in.


All three Doctor Who 60th Anniversary specials are available for streaming on Disney+.

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Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.