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Actor Ncuti Gatwa will play the role of the Doctor in the series Doctor Who, The BBC announced on Sunday, in a historic casting selection that marks the first time a black person has been chosen to play the show’s central role full-time.
Gatwa, 29, best known for his work in the Netflix series Sex educationis also one of the youngest doctors to date.
“There aren’t quite the words to describe how I feel. A mix of deeply honoured, more than excited and of course a bit scared,” Gatwa said in a press release. “Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I’m giving this show my all.”
Gatwa was born in Rwanda and raised in Scotland. He began his professional acting career eight years ago after graduating from the Royal Conservatory of Scotland, one of the world’s top performing arts schools.
In the warm Netflix series Sex educationGatwa plays the vibrant Eric Effiong, a gay high school student.
As a gay black teenager who is best friends with the show’s main character, Eric’s role could have been a trap of clichés as a “gay boyfriend” or “black best friend” for a straight white male protagonist. .
Instead, Gatwa’s Eric stands out from the ensemble cast with a fully realized personality and inner life. The actor has twice been nominated for Best Male Comedy Performance at the British Film and Television Awards.
He becomes the 14th actor to play the iconic role, following the departure of Jodie Whittaker, who was the first woman to play the role when she was cast in 2017.
In 2020, a black person played a variation of the Doctor role for the first time when Jo Martin was cast as the fugitive Doctor.
The new season of Doctor Who is also marked by the return of showrunner Russell T Davies, who helped revive the series in 2005 after a 15-year hiatus. Davies stepped down as showrunner in 2009.
“Sometimes talent comes through the door and it’s so bright and bold and bright, I just stand back and thank my lucky stars,” Davies said. “Ncuti blew us away, grabbed the Doctor and had those TARDIS keys in seconds.”