Manori Ravindran, Variety
The new doctor for BBC’s ‘Doctor Who’ announced
The new Doctor Who has been unveiled, and it’s “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa.
Gatwa takes over from Jodie Whittaker, who has played the iconic role since 2017. The actor’s departure was revealed in July 2021 and there’s been widespread speculation ever since around who will be replacing her, with rumored names including “It’s a Sin” stars Olly Alexander and Lydia West, and even Michaela Coel.
The BBC confirmed Gatwa’s casting just hours before the taping of the BAFTA TV Awards, suggesting there could be some reference to “Doctor Who” during the ceremony. Gatwa is expected to be in attendance, according to a list of expected guests provided by BAFTA in early May.
The 29-year-old Scottish actor was born in Rwanda and broke out in Netflix comedy “Sex Education,” where he plays Eric Effiong, best friend to Asa Butterfield’s Otis. He is the second Black actor to portray a doctor, following Jo Martin, who played “Fugitive Doctor” Ruth Clayton in a 2020 episode.
In a statement, Gatwa told the BBC that he was “deeply honored, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared.”
“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care,” said Gatwa. “I will endeavor my upmost to do the same.”
Fans began to guess on March 8 that “Doctor Who” news was imminent after a cryptic equation of two hearts, a plus sign and a blue square popped up on the Instagram pages of Gatwa and showrunner Russell T. Davies, who takes over from Chris Chibnall for the next season.
Davies commented “The future is here” under Gatwa’s post.
The “It’s a Sin” and “Queer as Folk” writer told the BBC that Gatwa had “dazzled” the creative team in his audition.
Star of stage and screen Ncuti is best known for his critically acclaimed performance in “Sex Education” as the iconic Eric Effiong, for which he was awarded Best Actor Award at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2020 as well as numerous nominations, including Best Male Performance in a comedy programme at this year’s BAFTAs.
Speaking of his new role, Ncuti said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same.
“Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground. The entire team has been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it’s daunting, I’m aware I’m joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show.”
Russell T Davies, Showrunner, adds: “The future is here and it’s Ncuti! Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”
Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer, said:”Ncuti has an incredible dynamism, he’s a striking and fearless young actor whose talent and energy will set the world alight and take Doctor Who on extraordinary adventures under Russell T Davies’ new era.”
Production on the new season of “Doctor Who” will begin later this year.
Gina Rullo contributed to this report.