Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies sent Jonathan Groff six key episodes to watch ahead of his debut

Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC)

Jonathan Groff may be most familiar to fans of the wildly different Mindhunter and Frozen, but you're about to see another side to the star in Doctor Who.

He'll soon be appearing in an upcoming season 1 episode titled 'Rogue' alongside Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor and Millie Gibson's Ruby. However, as he reveals to SFX magazine in the new issue, which features Who on the cover, he'd never seen an episode of the beloved sci-fi series before. 

"Oh my gosh, it’s totally surreal and incredible," Groff tells us about joining the beloved sci-fi show. "I had heard of Doctor Who, I knew what it was before Russell [T Davies, showrunner] asked me to do it, but I hadn’t seen an episode. So he sent me six: the first one from 1963 and then several throughout the years to get educated on the institution of Doctor Who. So now that I’ve been fully educated, it means even more."

Well, that selection is certainly intriguing, but unfortunately Groff is staying quiet on what the other episodes were. "I can’t tell you," he laughs when we push him. "He sent me that first one. But I don’t want to blow up his spot." He did divulge that they made him cry a lot though so take from that what you will.

However, Hamilton star Groff did share his verdict on the first ever Doctor Who episode, 'An Unearthly Child'. "I loved it," he says. "Knowing what Ncuti is bringing to this institution and his energy and who he is as a person, and who Russell is, and who Russell has represented to me as a young gay actor through the years – even in that first episode in 1963, there was something that felt alternative about it to me."

Groff continues: "There was even something that felt queer about it to me. When the teachers come inside the ship, they can’t understand how something so small that they walk into is so expansive. The Doctor explains how it’s hard, it takes time to understand things that you don’t immediately know." Well said, indeed.  

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Doctor Who is airing weekly on BBC iPlayer in the UK and on Disney Plus internationally. The above is just a snippet from our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Doctor Who on the cover and is available from Wednesday, May 15. See what you should be looking out for on newsstands below...

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I'm the Editor of SFX, the world's number one sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – available digitally and in print every four weeks since 1995. I've been editing magazines, and writing for numerous publications since before the Time War. Obviously SFX is the best one. I knew being a geek would work out fine.