Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker Doctor Whoannounced the BBC on Sunday, ending speculation about the upcoming regeneration of the iconic Time Lord.
“Sometimes talent comes through the door, and it’s so bright and bold and bright, I just stand back and thank my lucky stars,” returning showrunner Russell T Davies said in the broadcaster’s statement.
“Ncuti blew us away, grabbed the Doctor and had those TARDIS keys in seconds.”
Gatwa is currently starring in Netflix’s high school comedy-drama Sex education like the effervescent Eric Effiong, openly gay but from a very religious family.
Gatwa, 29, born in Rwanda and raised in Scotland, will be the first black actor to lead Britain’s quintessential sci-fi show, but he won’t be the first Black Doctor – Jo Martin played ‘Fugitive Doctor’ in several episodes.
Whittaker became the 13th Doctor – and the first woman to play the central galaxy-hopping alien Time Lord who regenerates in new bodies – in 2017, when she succeeded Peter Capaldi. His last episode of Doctor Who is slated to air later this year.
The original series of Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989. Since the series relaunch in 2005, the Doctor has been played by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, in addition to Capaldi and Whittaker. Other stars, such as Karen Gillan and Billie Piper, have made a name for themselves on the show as the Doctor’s “companion”.
“This role and this show means so much to so many people around the world, including myself, and each of my incredibly talented predecessors has taken on this unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will do my best to do likewise,” the statement quoted Gatwa as saying.
He described his emotions as “a mixture of deeply honored, more than excited and of course a bit scared”.
As well as seeing the start of Gatwa’s tenure, the next year also marks Davies’ return to Doctor Who after more than a decade of absence.
The writer and producer helmed the reboot until 2009 and worked on shows like A very English scandal and It’s a sin in the meantime. He promises a “spectacular” 2023.