Ncuti Gatwa Cast as First African-American Dr. Who in History

Ncuti Gatwa is poised to make history.

The actor, best known for his impressive work on Netflix’s Sex Education, has been chosen to take over for Jodie Whittaker as the title character in BBC’s Doctor Who.

He will be the first African-American to ever take on the legendary role.

“There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling.

“A mix of deeply honored, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared,” said Gatwa, who was awarded best actor award at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2020 and is nominated for best male performance in a comedy program at this year’s BAFTA TV Awards.

For the past three seasons, Gatwa has portrayed the character of Eric, the flamboyant and gay best friend of that show’s main character.

Whittaker announced last year that she was departing the iconic time-traveling, science-fiction drama.

Ncuti Gatwa

“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,” continued Gatwa on Sunday.

“I will endeavor my upmost to do the same. (Incoming showrunner) 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 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.”


Gatwa, who was born in Rwanda, is a “striking and fearless young actor whose talent and energy will set the world alight and take Doctor Who on extraordinary adventures,” said Doctor Who Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore in a statement, citing the star’s “incredible dynamism.”

Showrunner Russell Davies, meanwhile, said Gatwa “dazzled us” and “seized hold of the Doctor” while shooting with the award-nominated actor, who he said “owned those TARDIS keys in seconds” upon stepping on set.

“The future is here and it’s Ncuti!” Davies said in the message on the Doctor Who website.

“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.”

Gatwa photo

Concluded Davies:

“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!”

davies and star

On Sunday, Davies uploaded a photo on Instagram of himself and Gatwa smiling ear-to-ear while posing together at the BAFTAs.

As cited above, Gatwa will take control of the TARDIS from Jodie Whittaker.

She was first announced as the 13th Doctor (and first woman in the role) in 2017.

In the nearly 60-year history of Doctor Who, all the other actors to portray the regenerating protagonist have been white men.

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