Jodie Whittaker’s replacement as Doctor Who has finally been revealed, to the great delight of Whovians everywhere – and no, it isn’t David Tennant, despite the rumours doing the rounds on social media last month

So who is it?

The actor who will play the 14th Doctor is – cue drum roll and sound of TARDIS whirring – Ncuti Gatwa.


It’s true he’s hardly a household name. But fans of Netflix smash Sex Education will know him well enough and few will be surprised at the news. For his performance in that show as Eric Effiong, gay best friend to Asa Butterfield’s Otis Milburn, the 29-year-old has already been nominated for three BAFTAs, and it’s fair to say he’s one of Sex Education’s best-loved and most iconic characters.

Tell us more …

The headline news is that he’s the first actor of colour to play Doctor Who. Born in Rwanda in 1992, Gatwa came to the UK in 1994 to escape the Rwandan genocide – to Scotland, in fact, where the family settled first in Dunfermline and later in Edinburgh, where he attended Boroughmuir High School. He later studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and cut his teeth as an actor at Dundee Rep, appearing in plays by David Greig among others. In 2019 he featured in BBC Scotland documentary Black And Scottish, directed by fellow Scot Stewart Kyasimire, and spoke of the racism he experienced while living in Fife.

Exciting news, isn’t it?

It certainly is, and Sunday’s lunchtime announcement meant that when he turned up to that evening’s BAFTA Awards in the company of Russell T Davies, who is returning as Doctor Who show-runner, tongues were already wagging with the news. “The future is here and it’s Ncuti,” said Davies in a statement. “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. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds.”


Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Netflix hit Sex Education

What do the fans say?

The consensus so far seems to be that it’s a brilliant choice. Sex Education co-star Gillian Anderson certainly thinks so. Tweeting her congratulations, she called Gatwa a “ray of sunshine” and following Whittaker’s turn as the first female Doctor most fans are delighted that a black actor has finally been cast to take the role full time. And, though Gatwa is guarded about his sexuality, that hasn’t stopped a slew of fans also hailing what they see as the first LGBT+ actor to take on the role. His being the fourth Scot has not passed without comment either. Sadly, though predictably, there have been mutterings about ‘wokeness’ and ‘box ticking’ from the more ‘gammon’ end of the social media spectrum.

And the Time Lord himself?

“There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling,” Gatwa said. “A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. 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.”

So when will we see him?

Jodie Whittaker bows out in a special autumn edition of the show, at which point she will presumably regenerate. But we’ll have to wait until 2023, Doctor Who's 60th anniversary year, before we see Ncuti Gatwa wielding the famous sonic screwdriver.