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Ncuti Gatwa says Doctor Who casting is ‘really powerful’

“My mouth gets paralyzed by the concept of playing this [Doctor Who] role,” Ncuti Gatwa admitted.

By Emily Maskell

Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who
Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who (Image: BBC)

Ncuti Gatwa, the Sex Education star who will make history as the first Black actor to play the titular character in Doctor Who, says that it feels “really powerful” to helm the show. 

Gatawa’s historic appearance will air during 2023’s festive season after three special episodes in November 2023, starring David Tenant and Catherine Tate, marking the show’s 60th anniversary.

The 30-year-old actor, attending a recent BBC and Disney+ luncheon, and said that Doctor Who’s roots “are so deep in British culture and the fabric of British-ness that as a Rwandan immigrant to the country, it feels just really powerful,” Deadline reports.  

“My mouth gets paralyzed by the concept of playing this role,” he admitted.

He also spoke to the significance of his casting “for people of colour, for marginalized people who really gravitate towards the show because it’s about friendship and it’s about adventure and it’s about union and unity.”

Doctor Who is able to turn into anything or anyone, so the possibilities are endless,” he noted. “So the fact that that mission is going out to lots of people… is extremely cool.”

Delivering just seven words in the teaser trailer – “Can someone tell me what the hell is going on here?” – Gatawa already has fans of the show hyped for his introduction to the series.

“I’m so excited. Obviously, it’s daunting,” Gatawa shared in an interview posted to the Doctor Who Twitter account.

“It’s an iconic role and show and I’m following in some very big footsteps,” he added. “But I cannot wait to put my stamp on the character. ”

The actor is looking forward to the “new beginnings” and “extraordinary storylines”

Gatwa is set to be joined by Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney, who is playing a trans woman in the show called Rose. 

Alongside the duo is Neil Patrick Harris’ mystifying villain, who will inevitably throw a spanner into the Doctor’s plans, is said to be the Time Lord’s

The BBC has confirmed that the 60th anniversary three special episodes will air in November 2023 and Gatwa’s episodes will arrive over Christmas 2023 – get the dates in your calendar.