Doctor Who officially has a 14th Doctor. Ncuti Gatwa, who has been nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for three years in a row for his part on Netflix’s Sex Education, will take over the role of the iconic Time Lord from Jodie Whittaker.
“It feels really amazing,” Gatwa told BBC News. “It’s a true honor. This role is an institution and it’s so iconic … I feel very grateful to have had the baton handed over and I’m going to try to do my best.”
The return of Russell T. Davies
Gatwa also released a statement saying that working with showrunner Russell T. Davies—who rebooted Doctor Who in 2005 and is returning to the driver’s seat for the first time since David Tennant played the character—was "a dream come true."
"His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent, and fizzing with danger—an actor’s metaphorical playground," Gatwa said. "The entire team have 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."
For his part, Davies recounted being impressed with Gatwa’s audition. “It was our last audition. It was our very last one,” he said. “We thought we had someone, and then in he came and stole it. I’m properly, properly thrilled. It’s going to be a blazing future.”
“Ncuti has an incredible dynamism," BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore said. "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’s new era.”
Jodie Whittaker: “I’ll always have been the Doctor”
Gatwa is a rising star with a young fanbase, which was probably part of the consideration when it came to casting; like the lead character, Doctor Who is always trying to renew itself.
Gatwa was born in Rwanda but moved to Scotland as an infant after his family fled the Rwandan genocide. He is the first Black actor to take on the show's lead, but not the first person of color to play the Doctor in some iteration. During Whittaker’s run as the 13th Doctor, she met up with the Fugitive Doctor, a previously unknown version of the character, played by Jo Martin.
Speaking of Whittaker: She spoke with The Guardian about her time on the show and what it has meant to her. “[E]ven though there might be 13 more Doctors after me, I’ll always have been the Doctor,” she said. “From the other people who have done it, you know that it’s one of those jobs where you are always a part of the family—you don’t get kicked out. Have I left the cast WhatsApp group? Absolutely not. And if they’ve got a new one without me, I’ll be devastated!”
Whittaker’s final episode of Doctor Who will air later this year. Ncuti Gatwa’s 14th Doctor will turn up in 2023.