❉ Andrew Creak profiles Ncuti Gatwa as he begins the trip of a lifetime, and asks, what does his casting mean for Russell T Davies’ new vision for Doctor Who?
Well, after almost a year of speculation, yesterday (Sunday 8 May 2022) saw the announcement made that we had all been waiting for! Ncuti Gatwa has been cast by Russell T Davies and Bad Wolf as the next incarnation of the Doctor.
An actor who wasn’t really on anyone’s radar in wishlists and bookies’ favourites for the next Doctor, everyone who has seen his work all agree that Gatwa is perfect casting for the role.
Most notable for his role as Eric in Sex Education, Gatwa is no stranger to Cardiff and South Wales, and the fact he is jumping from one of Netflix’s biggest shows to Doctor Who shows how much faith he has in Russell T Davies’ new vision for the show.
While many of us had been hoping for another female actor to take the lead, this welcome casting is groundbreaking for several reasons.
Gatwa will be the first black actor to play a main incarnation of the Doctor, following in the footsteps of Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor, which many would agree has been one of the masterstrokes of the Chibnall era. Gatwa will also be the first actor to play the Doctor who wasn’t born in the UK, having been born in Rwanda.
At the age of 29, Gatwa is the joint-second youngest actor to take the lead, being the same age as Peter Davison was back in 1981 when he took the mantle, and two years older than Matt Smith was back in 2010.
Even those who haven’t seen Sex Education may recognise Gatwa from one of his scenes going viral at the start of the pandemic, with the line “Wash your hand you detty pig!” becoming a meme and appearing in public bathrooms across the country.
But what does his casting mean for the show? For me, it tells us that Russell T Davies intends to work outside the box. The vocal minority who prayed for the show to no longer be political (as it has been for the last 59 years!) and go back to their fictional idea of the show being white and apolitical. This shows us that Russell is unapologetic with his approach, and let’s be real, any RTD fan knew this would be case anyway.
I’m sure we are all now even more excited to see Gatwa’s first scene in the BBC Centenary special later this year, and with filming for the new era about to start at Wolf Studio Wales, I’m sure we will get a glimpse of our fourteenth doctor in action very soon while out on location. If you can’t wait until then, all three series of Sex Education are available on Netflix to stream now.
❉ Read the official announcement of Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor here: https://www.doctorwho.tv/news-and-features/ncuti-gatwa-is-the-doctor
❉ Andrew Creak is a freelancer in TV and Film production based in South Wales. As well as this they are a producer director in their own right through their production company Third Time Lucky Productions. Follow them on Twitter: @AndrewCreak
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