'Doctor Who' Features First Romantic Gay Kiss in Show's 60-Year History

Ncuti Gatwa and Jonathan_Groff
Disney/PictureGroup and Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Ncuti Gatwa and Jonathan Groff shared a kiss on Friday's 'Bridgerton'-inspired episode of 'Doctor Who.'

Ncuti Gatwa and Jonathan Groff set tongues wagging as the actors locked lips in the latest episode of Doctor Who. The on-screen smooch marked the series' first explicitly romantic same-sex kiss between the titular character and another person in its 60-year history. 

While the Doctor (Gatwa) has engaged in same-sex kisses with characters before, Friday's episode marked the first time the character was explicitly interested in their partner. The most notable example of the show's previous same-sex kisses is between Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor and John Barrowman's Jack Harkness in the first season finale of the revived series. While Jack is clearly attracted to the Doctor, the latter doesn't reciprocate nor does he read too much into the time traveler's amorous way of saying goodbye.

Similarly, Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor kisses Arthur Darvill's Rory Williams in season 7's "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship," but the gesture is unmistakably platonic in nature.

Season 14's Bridgerton-inspired episode, titled "Rogue," saw the Doctor and a bounty hunter named Rogue (Groff) both sparring and swooning as they faced off against murderous, shape-shifting, bird-faced aliens. The wild adventure was set against a period backdrop that included expertly choreographed ballroom dances. 

"I was learning how to follow, and I'd never followed before," Groff said in a behind-the-scenes video. "And I started to cry in the dance rehearsal, because there was something about releasing and letting somebody lead that you rarely get the experience of as a man, particularly in this kind of formal dance." 

He added, "There's a moment in the dance where the lights go out and it's a spotlight on the two of us dancing. There was no one else in the room but Ncuti. It took me to a completely different place with him. Like we were in the stars together dancing." 

Gatwa, who previously starred as a Ken in the record-breaking Barbie movie last year, is taking over the mantle from Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor, the franchise's first-ever female lead, and David Tennant-- after Whittaker's Doctor was reincarnated as the former 10th Doctor, now officially also Fourteen, at the conclusion of her run in October 2022.

The Sex Education star, who was born in Rwanda and raised in Scotland, is also Doctor Who's first Black Doctor.

Ncuti Gatwa as Doctor Who. - BBC

Doctor Who's historic kiss comes during Pride Month, which takes place every June. The month-long celebration honors the self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The name "Pride" encourages those feelings as the community comes together to celebrate and bolster LGBTQ+ rights movements. 

Gatwa publicly came out as queer in a 2023 interview with Elle UK. For his part, Groff publicly came out to Broadway.com in 2009. 

Jonathan Groff attends the premiere of "The Matrix Resurrections" at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, California, December 18, 2021. - Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic

Groff is currently starring on Broadway in the critically acclaimed Merrily We Roll Along opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez

The revival has received seven nominations for the upcoming 77th annual Tony Awards, with Groff up for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. 

The 77th Tony Awards will air live on Sunday, June 16, at 5 p.m. PT/8p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount+.

Doctor Who airs Fridays on Disney+ in the U.S.