Doctor Who is a staple of English culture. It’s undoubtedly right on level with an avid following of the Premier League or fish and chips. I mean, just look at this: How many individual TV role announcements get this much press? We’re talking about the part of a lifetime!
The BBC series about the Time Lord or “Doctor” — an almost omniscient being who appears as a regular person — has been airing in some fashion in England for nearly five decades. With the show developing a long-standing following outside of the United Kingdom, the person who plays the titular Doctor knows they take the role with great pride and care.
The next person to take the mantel will be actor Ncuti Gatwa — the 14th Doctor with the incredible power of the TARDIS at their universal disposal.
The future is here! Ncuti Gatwa is the Doctor. ❤️❤️➕🟦 #DoctorWho
Read more here ➡️ https://t.co/KoxPmoNAdL pic.twitter.com/peKsH6gCjI
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) May 8, 2022
Gatwa steps in for Jodie Whitaker, who revealed that she would be turning in her sonic screwdriver after a few 2022 extended specials last summer. Presumably — as is per series tradition — Gatwa will take over from Whitaker in her final episode in the usual “regeneration” of the Doctor’s physical form. He’ll then take over full-time, screwdriver and all, in 2023.
Before becoming the new Doctor, the 29-year-old Gatwa made a name for himself on Netflix’s coming-of-age series, Sex Education. Gatwa plays Eric Effiong, one of the leads and the gay best friend of the main character. He’s earned three British Academy Television nominations for Best Male Comedy Performance for his portrayal.
Gatwa will become the first person of color to headline Doctor Who in its run. The importance of the role and how much the Doctor means to England and greater science fiction fans was assuredly meaningful to the actor:
More from the BBC:
“It feels really amazing, Gatwa said. “It’s a true honour. This role is an institution and it’s so iconic.”
“Speaking on the red carpet before Sunday’s Bafta TV Awards, where he was nominated for Sex Education, Gatwa said the role of the Doctor ‘means a lot to so many people, including myself.’”
“He added: ‘I feel very grateful to have had the baton handed over and I’m going to try to do my best.’”
That said, while the Doctor is an essential fixture in British culture, it doesn’t mean every performer doesn’t bring their own flair to the role. Gatwa — never lacking a powerful on-screen presence — is certainly thrilled to bring his unique take into the spotlight.
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) May 8, 2022
“The future is here and it’s Ncuti!” Russell T Davies and Ncuti Gatwa arrive at the @BAFTA red carpet ❤️❤️➕🟦
Read more here ➡️ https://t.co/f4K4YfqyEN pic.twitter.com/e5snVEDjKD
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) May 8, 2022
Anything feels possible when you can work with longtime writer and showrunner Russell T. Davies.
Via the BBC:
“Gatwa said he was ‘definitely going to do my own thing’ with the role rather than modelling himself on any previous Doctor.
In a statement, he added that the prospect of working with Davies was ‘a dream come true.’
He said: His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger – an actor’s metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show.’”
Only time will tell what adventures lie ahead for Gatwa as the Doctor. Fans of the hit series were over the moon to learn that he’d soon be at the forefront of some of their favorite stories.
I am 100% on board with this! Ncuti is incredible in Sex Education. He has the depth of emotion, the handle on humour and a delightful sense of mischief that will fit the Doctor perfectly. #DoctorWho https://t.co/RnKeIrpUzt
— Luke Winch (@Luke_Winch) May 8, 2022
has a tweet from this account ever got this many likes before now? https://t.co/gxIBrByaWE
— jordan 🌿 krynoid enjoyer (@fleshykrynoid) May 8, 2022
❤️❤️➕🟦 – Exciting!!! https://t.co/Ed3fQeuMvx
— Dave Roberts (@drobertsdigital) May 8, 2022
Amazing day everyone who is Doctor Who fans and future show also Russel T Davies as Show-runner I am excited Ncuti Gatwa step inside blue box Tardis as 14th Doctor for his first time 🟦 New began, fresh ideas creative thinking story telling & Cast. #DoctorWho #14thdoctor https://t.co/Yzym748wzs
— Charlie Stonham (@Charlie201999) May 8, 2022
Ncuti Gatwa is one of those names absolutely nobody was putting out there, until suddenly we all look like idiots for never once thinking of him
— Max Kashevsky (@MaxKashevsky) May 8, 2022
I am overflowing with happiness. Ncuti makes all of our days brighter on set with his boundless enthusiasm and radiant energy. This could not happen to a better human being PERIOD.
THE DOCTOR IS IN!!!!!!!!https://t.co/XIW3uOhS7P
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) May 8, 2022
— Morgan Jeffery (@morganjeffery) May 8, 2022
NEW ARTWORK! Celebrating the casting of Ncuti Gatwa as the 14th Doctor! I’m sure he is going to be brilliant! pic.twitter.com/UkAXi5FfSt
— Matthew Purchase (@TheCyberdevil) May 8, 2022
“unlike the doctor, i may only have one heart, but i am giving it all to this show.” — ncuti gatwa, our fourteenth doctor pic.twitter.com/oePKqEzOQu
— clara oswald enthusiast (@clarasghost) May 8, 2022