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Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa to take over from Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who

Whittaker made history as the first female Doctor.

Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti Gatwa

Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord in Doctor Who, the BBC has announced.

The 29-year-old will become the 14th Doctor on the popular BBC show, after Whittaker announced last July she will be leaving the role.

Scottish actor Gatwa, who was born in Rwanda, has starred as Eric Effiong in Netflix’s hugely popular Sex Education about socially awkward high school student Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson).

He said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. 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.

“I will endeavour my upmost to do the same. 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.”

Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn and Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Sex Education (Picture: Sam Taylor/Netflix/PA)

In 2020 Gatwa was named the winner of the actor category at the Scottish Bafta’s for his role in Sex Education, and has been nominated at this year’s Bafta TV awards, taking place on May 8, in the best male performance in a comedy programme.

The actor previously told the Big Issue magazine, in 2020, about his move from Scotland to London when he was 21 and how he’d spent months before landing his role in Sex Education ‘couch-surfing’ adding: “I didn’t have a home. I was homeless.

“The only thing stopping me from being on the streets was the fact I had friends. But you can use up that goodwill. Or you feel scared to ask people for help. Your pride kicks in.

“So my life before Sex Education was so different. To go to my audition, I had to get my friend to transfer me 10 quid so I could top up my Oyster card.”

Whittaker took over the Tardis in 2017 as the first female Doctor.

Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies is returning as the programme’s showrunner after departing the show in 2009.

Davies, who was responsible for Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, will be back to celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary in 2023, the BBC previously said.

He said: “The future is here and it’s Ncuti! 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.

“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!”

The announcement was teased by Davies and Gatwa on Instagram, with a post featuring two heart emojis, a plus symbol and a blue square.

BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore said: “Ncuti has an incredible dynamism, 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’ new era.”

Georgia Tennant, wife of former Doctor Who star David Tennant and daughter of Peter Davison, who also played the Doctor, reacted to the news that Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker, tweeting: “Hello dad”.

Scotland’s Culture Secretary, Angus Robertson, tweeted: “Congratulations to Ncuti Gatwa on becoming the new Dr Who. Great to see success of this young Scottish acting talent and graduate of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.”

The BBC said further details would be announced in due course.

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