Rwandan Actor Ncuti Gatwa Makes History As The First Black Doctor In “Doctor Who”

Last month, the BBC announced that Ncuti Gatwa would be stepping in to play the titular role of the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who. Yesterday, they shared the first official look of Gatwa, revealing him as the first Black doctor on the show.

Ncuti Gatwa

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The official BBC YouTube channel recently dropped a teaser for the 14th season of Doctor Who featuring newcomer Ncuti Gatwa and old favorite David Tennant

Rwandan-Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa, known for playing Eric Effiong on the Netflix comedy Sex Education, is set to play the first Black Doctor on BBC’s decade-spanning sci-fi series Doctor Who. The Doctor is a time-traveling scientist from a faraway planet, who travels through time and space in a machine known by the acronym TARDIS. 

Toward the end of each season, the doctor regenerates, leading to a new actor playing the iconic role. Before Gatwa’s casting, the role was played by Jodie Whittaker, who also made history as the first woman to portray the doctor. 

When asked if she offered any advice to the  Rwandan-Scottish actor, Whittaker said:

 “There’s no advice you can give. I’m certainly not giving that phenomenal actor any advice, he doesn’t need it from me!”  

During his interview after the news was announced, Gatwa stated to BBC News

“It’s a true honor. This role is an institution and it’s so iconic and means alot to so many people, including myself. It makes everyone feel seen as well.” 

In comparison to the news of the casting of Halle Bailey in the Little Mermaid live-action adaptation, where there were mixed reactions involving praise to racist remarks, reception to the news was similar. 

Many are excited about his interpretation, while others feel the showrunners were fulfilling a quota.

Gatwa is set to play the 15th doctor in the BAFTAAward-winning series, and the new season is set to air in November 2023. 

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