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Doctor Who casts first Black actor to take lead role

Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa will become the 14th Doctor

Actor Ncuti Gatwa outside the JW Anderson show during London Fashion Week February 2020 Photo: Getty Images
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After Jodie Whittaker, who served as Doctor Who’s lead for 32 episodes, steps down as the 13th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa will regenerate as number 14. The Doctor Who website broke the news on Sunday afternoon.

Gatwa is the first Black man to take on the recurring role of The Doctor for the BBC show. In the franchise’s nearly 60-year history, only one other Black actor has ever played the role: Jo Martin starred as a fugitive version of The Doctor who appeared in several episodes during Whittaker’s tenure.

Gatwa is best known for his role on Netflix’s Sex Education, where he plays one of the series’ leads, Eric — a role for which he recently received a Scottish BAFTA. He’s also appeared on stage as Demetrius in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe theater in London, and will play an unknown role in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie movie.

“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 utmost to do the same.”

The award-winning actor went on to praise showrunner Russell T Davies, who also spoke to Gatwa’s casting: “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.”

Fans won’t see Gatwa’s version of The Doctor until the show’s 2023 season, with Whittaker still needing to say goodbye to the role in her own finale.

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