Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa confirmed as new Doctor in Doctor Who

Ncuti Gatwa smiles at the camera while wearing a white shirt and dark blue coat

The BBC has confirmed that Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa will be the 14th Doctor after Jodie Whittaker’s departure. 

The broadcaster announced on Sunday (8 May) that Gatwa – who played Eric, an openly gay black teen, in Sex Education – will be the next reincarnation of the iconic Time Lord after Whittaker leaves the series. 

Gatwa said that there “aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling” after it was confirmed that he would be the next Time Lord. 

“A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared,” Gatwa said. 

“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.”  

While he said it was “daunting” to take on the larger-than-life role, Gatwa said he was “joining a really supportive family”. 

“Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show,” he added. 

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies described how Gatwa “dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds”. 

“The future is here and it’s Ncuti!” Davies said. “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.”

He added that the Doctor Who team was “rationing ourselves for now” so won’t be dropping too many hints about the 14th Doctor as the show is still gearing up for “the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale”. But he promised that “2023 will be spectacular”.

Fans took to social media to share their excitement that the Sex Education star will be the next Doctor.

Gatwa first teased that he’d been cast in Doctor Who after he shared an image of two red heart emojis, a plus sign emoji and a blue box emoji on Instagram – with absolutely no caption or explanation. 

Any dedicated Doctor Who fan knows that, although Time Lords look human, they are actually aliens and have two hearts. The blue box emoji may be a sign for the TARDIS – the iconic blue police box-shaped vehicle used by the Doctor and companions for their adventures.

Fans were quickly convinced that Gatwa might be the next Time Lord after Davies’ commented on the actor’s post, saying “the future is here”. 

Gatwa is the first Black actor to take on the leading role as the Doctor in Doctor Who, according to the Guardian. But he is not the first Black Doctor or Time Lord in the series.

Jo Martin played the first black incarnation of the Doctor in the 2020 episode “Fugitive of the Judoon”, CNN reported. In the episode, Ruth Clayton, a tour guide in Gloucester, announced that she is the Doctor much to the surprise of Whittaker’s 13th Doctor. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor star T’Nia Miller also appeared in the long-running sci-fi series. Miller starred in the episode “Hell Bent” alongside Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor.

In the episode, Miller played a regenerated version of the General, marking the first time a Time Lord changed gender on screen. She told Digital Spy that it was “super exciting” take on the “ground-breaking role” as it was the “seen another Time Lord metamorphosise into another person”.

“She was going to be a Black female,” Miller said. “So that was super-exciting for me.”