The speculation over who will be the next Doctor Who is finally over with Ncuti Gatwa’s inspirational appointment as the next incumbant of the prestigious TV role. The Sex Education star has been announced as the Time Lord’s latest regeneration.
The 26-year-old actor, who has a massive following among young people on social media, will be the first black actor to play the Doctor. When he takes over as the British sci-fi hero, he will follow in the footsteps of Jodie Whittaker, who was the first woman to play the famous role.
A bit like James Bond, there is always intense speculation over who will be the next Doctor Who. In Gatwa’s case, he has said he can “finally breathe” now that the secret is out.
READ MORE:BBC Doctor Who announces Ncuti Gatwa as next Doctor
The Scottish actor, who was born in Rwanda before his family moved to the UK when he was a boy, played the part of Eric Effiong in Netflix ‘s popular Sex Education. He revealed to PA news at the Virgin Media TV Baftas, held at London’s Royal Festival Hall today (Sunday, May 8), that he’d actually been cast as the next Doctor several months ago.
“I feel really happy that I can now talk about it because I got cast in February and I have been keeping it a secret since then,” he said. “So it is nice to finally breathe. But also really nervous. It is an incredibly iconic role and an incredibly iconic show.”
Gatwa added: “I just hope I do it justice. I am following in some very, very big footsteps so I am just hoping that I fill them up.”
How many regenerations have there been?
His 13 predecessors include a veritable ‘Doctor Who’s who’ of British acting talent who cemented their status as household names, in part, by headlining the TV series. The series first aired on the BBC on Saturday, November 23, 1963.
It was the day after the infamous assassination of John F. Kennedy. News coverage of the momentous and tragic event in Dallas, Texas, resulted in an 80 second delay in the programme’s scheduled start time.
Stage and television actor William Hartnell, who died in 1975, was the first to play the Doctor. Apart from the Time Lord, he is best known for playing the title character of Carry On Sergeant in 1958 – the first in the famous Carry On series.
His three-year tenure was followed by English character actor Patrick Troughton, who died in 1987 and played the Doctor until 1969. He, in turn, was replaced by John Pertwee, who also enjoyed widespread fame as Worzel Gummidge in the 1980s before his death in 1996.
Tom Baker, now aged 88, became the fourth Doctor, and one of the most iconic of all with his floppy hat and large, multi-coloured scarf. Baker played the part until 1981, when he was replaced by Peter Davison, aged 71, who was best known at that stage of his acting career as vet Tristan Farnon in the BBC’s television adaptation of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.
Another Baker, this time Colin, aged 78, took over the reins from Davison in 1984 for a two-year stint. His replacement was Scottish actor Sylvester McCoy, aged 78. The Doctor’s eighth regeneration saw Paul McGann, aged 62, of The Monocled Mutineer and later Withnail and I fame in the eighties, play the role in a TV film in 1996.
Christopher Eccleston, aged 58, who was already an established star having appeared in films such as Shallow Grave and the hit TV crime series Cracker, became the ninth incarnation. He played an important role in reinvigorating the Doctor Who character during the 2005 series.
His contribution was built upon by David Tennant’s tenth Doctor. The 51-year-old actor went on to play the role for five years, until 2010. Tennant handed over the reins to the charismatic Matt Smith, who left in 2013.
Smith’s replacement was Peter Capaldi, aged 64, as the twelfth Time Lord. Then came Jodie Whittaker, aged 39, and her much-heralded appointment in 2018. And now we have Ncuti Gatwa.
As tradition dictates, Gatwa is set to play a small role in Whittaker’s final episode later this year. His online filmography suggests that his first episode proper will air in 2023 – BBC bosses, however, remain tight-lipped about when he is due to start, saying that further details will be announced in due course.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tennant, wife of David Tennant and daughter of Peter Davison, welcomed him to the Doctor Who family. In a tweet responding to today’s announcement, she simply said: “Hello dad!”