Doctor, dinner, detainee - The Lavender Tube on the new 'Who,' political joke night, and a freed Brittney

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday April 30, 2024
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Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in 'Doctor Who' (photo: BBC/Disney+)
Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in 'Doctor Who' (photo: BBC/Disney+)

In the latest iteration of the beloved "Doctor Who" series, the doctor is here and queer. Ncuti Gatwa will be the first Black and gay Doctor Who. Plus the phenomenal Russell T. Davies is back, baby, as showrunner and director and writer. Plus the new Disney+ deal could, industry heads say, revolutionize the franchise.

When the TARDIS (a time-traveling ship shaped like a police box) flies in, Gatwa opens the door and says, "Give me the loving!" and we are so ready. Fans of "Sex Education" are already devotees of Gatwa, who played Eric Effiong. Gatwa was also "artist Ken" in Greta Gerwig's phenom, "Barbie."

Gatwa, who was born in Rwanda and raised in Scotland, told Variety of his casting, "Do you know what? It makes perfect sense to me. I feel like anyone that has a problem with someone who's not a straight white man playing this character, you're not really, truly a fan of the show. You've not been watching! Because the show is about regeneration, and the Doctor is an alien. Why would they only choose to be this sort of person?"

The upcoming season follows the Doctor and his companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) as they travel across time and space, with adventures all the way from the Regency era in England, to war-torn future worlds. Throughout their adventures in the TARDIS they encounter incredible friends and dangerous foes, including a terrifying bogeyman, and the Doctor's most powerful enemy yet.

"Doctor Who" begins streaming Friday, May 10 at 4pm PT, 7pm ET on Disney+.

Colin Jost and President Joe Biden at the White House Correspondents Dinner. (photo: NBC News)  

Presidents & puns
The annual White House Correspondents Dinner, held on April 27 at the Washington Hilton, was funny, sobering, scary and very of this moment. Billed as the last such event should Donald Trump regain the White House come November, the dinner celebrates the work journalists do covering the presidency and other events. Several journalists received awards.

The event, sponsored by the White House Correspondents Association, also grants scholarships to journalists. Outgoing president of the White House Correspondents' Association, NBC News senior White House Kelly O'Donnell, presided over the dinner, calling attention to journalists held in detention in various countries including Russia and Iran, and the over 100 journalists killed in just the past six months in Gaza.

President Joe Biden was the object of the night's roasting. The comedian du jour was "SNL" writer and "Weekend Update" co-anchor Colin Jost and MSNBC, which aired the night live, presented a compendium of his work at "SNL."

Jost brought his wife, actress Scarlett Johansson, which added some celebrity star power to the evening, and quipped that she would be ready to introduce herself to everyone (more than 2,000 in attendance) at evening's end.

Jost, who is reliably funny, was obviously nervous and a bit shaky at the start, but warmed up well. Some memorable lines that had us and a friend laughing included his opening shade at Donald Trump when he said, "Can we just acknowledge how refreshing it is to see a President of the United States at an event that doesn't begin with a bailiff saying, 'All rise?'"

Jost skewered Trump, Biden and the media, notably Fox News, which brought laughs, and the New York Times, which brought total silence.
"Some incredible news organizations here," began one of his harsher jokes, "Also, some credible ones."

He also mentioned RNC co-chair and Trump's daughter in law Lara Trump's debut album and said it was the first time that anyone would say to a Trump, "stick to politics." She didn't laugh, but the room did.

Jost also noted that it was after 10pm and "Sleepy Joe" was wide awake while Trump had been falling asleep every morning at his trial. He referenced that the event is called "nerd prom" and added that Matt Gaetz was at regular prom.

For his part, Biden was funny, self-deprecating and serious. "The 2024 election is in full swing. And yes, age is an issue," Biden said early on. "I'm a grown man running against a six-year-old."

Biden also noted, "Age is the only thing we have in common. My vice president actually endorses me." He also thanked the free press and mentioned the vitality of journalism and the importance of maintaining democracy.

Some notable queer moments in the night included a brief speech from incoming WHCA president Eugene Daniels, who will be the first openly gay person to lead the organization.

"Chicago P.D." star, actress Sophia Bush, debuted her new relationship with soccer queen Ashlyn Harris and the two turned heads on the red carpet. Last month they attended Elton John's Oscars party. Bush is known for her philanthropy work and social activism, including her work for the Time's Up movement and (

Bush came out publicly last week in an article she wrote for Glamour titled "I Finally Feel Like I Can Breathe." The 41-year-old said, "I finally feel like I can breathe. I don't think I can explain how profound that is." (

Bush was exuberant about what it feels like to be out of the closet she didn't realize she was in. She wrote, "I feel like I was wearing a weighted vest for who knows how long. I hadn't realized how heavy it was until I finally just put it down. This might sound crazy — but I think other people in trauma recovery will get it — I am taking deep breaths again. I can feel my legs and feet. I can feel my feet in my shoes right now. It makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time."

It's never too late to live your authentic life. Brava.

Freed Brittney
On Wednesday May 1, ABC airs a one-hour primetime "20/20" special, "Prisoner in Russia: The Brittney Griner Interview" at 10pm (next day on Hulu).

"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts sat with two-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner for an exclusive primetime interview, Griner's first since returning to the U.S. after being wrongfully detained in Russia as a political prisoner of Vladimir Putin, which we covered throughout Griner's 10-month incarceration. Our coverage won us the Memorial Sarah Petit Journalist of the Year Award from NLGJA and the Curve Award for Excellence in Lesbian Journalism. (

Brittney Griner on '20/20' (photo: ABC)  

In the wide-ranging interview, Griner talks candidly for the first time about her harrowing arrest and time in prison, where she describes feeling "less than human" and the suicidal thoughts she had while being detained. She also talks about navigating the Russian penal system and the anguish she experienced being what she calls a political prisoner.

The special reveals new details about the negotiations behind the prisoner swap that led to Griner's release and goes home with her as she unzips her duffle bag from Russia, sharing a few personal possessions she says got her through the ordeal.

In February 2022, while returning to her Russian basketball team during the WNBA off-season, Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport for possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. She was later sentenced to nine years in prison and was released on December 8, 2022, after a 10-month detainment.

Roberts also speaks with Griner's wife, attorney Cherelle Griner, about her role in rallying for Brittney's release. Additional interviews include special presidential envoy of hostage affairs Roger Carstens and Griner's agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas.

In addition to this special, Griner has partnered exclusively with ESPN and Disney Entertainment Television to share her story through various projects on their platforms. A documentary feature from ESPN Films and scripted series development with ABC Signature are in the works.

On May 7, "Coming Home" by Griner with Michelle Burford will be published by Knopf. Burford is a best-selling author and a founding editor of O: The Oprah Magazine.

Bloody good
"Interview with the Vampire," based on Anne Rice's iconic novel, is back for a second season on AMC and AMC+. The steamy, highly homoerotic horror thriller series looks to be even more fabulous and queer and hot in its latest iteration and is unquestionably one of the gayest series on TV.

"Interview with the Vampire" centers on the life story of vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, as told to veteran journalist Daniel Molloy, who has Parkinson's, to whom Louis previously gave an unpublished interview in 1973. An affluent Black man in 1910s New Orleans, Louis is romanced and later made a vampire by the charismatic and oh-so-hot Lestat de Lioncourt.

Jacob Anderson and Delainey Hayles in 'Interview with the Vampire' (photo: Larry Horricks/AMC)  

But Louis struggles with his humanity and still loves humans. The introduction of Lestat's newest fledgling, the teenage vampire Claudia, only strains their relationship further. As the first season draws to a climactic close, Daniel begins to doubt the veracity of Louis' story, noting differences from the earlier version.

Season two picks up from the bloody events in New Orleans in 1940 when Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Claudia (Delainey Hayles) conspired to kill Lestat (Sam Reid). Louis tells of his adventures in Europe, a quest to discover Old World Vampires and the Theatre Des Vampires in Paris where a new character, Santiago (Ben Daniels) has suspicions about Louis and Claudia.

It is in Paris that Louis first meets the Vampire Armand (Assad Zaman). Their courtship and love affair will prove to have devastating consequences both in the past and in the future. Molloy (Eric Bogosian), who is chronicling all of this, will probe to get to the truths buried within the memories.

Wow. Catch up with season one on AMC+ or Hulu. It's a wild and fabulous ride. Starting May 12.

Finally, on CNN last week, anchor Kaitlin Collins elicited this tidbit from former Trump AG Bill Barr: Trump used to float the idea of executing people he was displeased with. To quote Dr. Maya Angelou, when people show you who they are, believe them. (

And so for the homoerotic highs and the political lows, you know you really must stay tuned.

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