Although David Tennant is briefly returning to play the Fourteenth Doctor in Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary episodes, after that, Ncuti Gatwa will take over leading the show as the Fifteenth Doctor. While Tennant and Twelfth Doctor actor Peter Capaldi were massive fans of Doctor Who growing up, Gatwa is a relatively new convert to the long-running sci-fi series. However, his feelings about the show now will definitely resonate with fans who’ve loved the shows for years.
The beginning of Gatwa’s Doctor Who’s tenure follows him wrapping his time as Eric Effiong on Sex Education and appearing as one of the Kens in Barbie. As for how he ended up being cast in Doctor Who, the actor recalled to Rolling Stone that he’d emailed his agent one day expressing interest in playing a role like Willy Wonka or The Doctor, and a week later, he was asked to audition for the BBC program. Though Gatwa had “enjoyed” the time-wimey show before this, he entered full-blown fan mode after he spent a week watching all the episodes released since it was revived in 2005. In Gatwa’s words:
I fell in love with it. When you watch it, you forget all your troubles. You go to space, or to another time. You have adventures.
As a fan of Doctor Who, I agree with this statement, to the point that it’s long been one of my top comfort shows. Ncuti Gatwa was particularly taken by the Time War portion of the Doctor Who canon, with the show’s revival era having frequently explored The Doctor ending a massive conflict between his people, the Time Lords, and the Daleks, by, as it was initially explained, wiping them out. Granted, both races ended up returning, and the events of the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of The Doctor,” painted the end of the Time War in a different light. Gatwa, who fled Rwanda as a child with his family to escape genocide, was taken by a character who was the last of their people. The actor continued:
This person survived a genocide. This person fits in everywhere and nowhere. I am the Doctor. The Doctor is me. I decided that I had to get this role.
While the Time War hasn’t been deeply explored in Doctor Who for many years now, there will be more than to keep Gatwa’s version of The Doctor busy in the near future. Following his debut as The Fifteenth Doctor at some point during the 60th anniversary, Gatwa will make his first full appearance as the character in an episode airing sometime in December, and then Season 14 proper will begin sometime in 2024. He’ll travel across time and space in the TARDIS with new companion Ruby Sunday, played by Millie Gibson.
Among the other new actors appearing in this next batch of episodes include Jonathan Groff, Indira Varma and Jinkx Monsoon, the latter of whom is playing a mysterious villain. Additionally, Doctor Who Season 14’s cast includes familiar faces like Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart, the head of UNIT, and Bonnie Langford’s Mel Bush, who was a companion of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. Behind the scenes, Russell T. Davies, who was Doctor Who’s showrunner from 2005-2010, will continue those duties following his return for the 60th anniversary.
We’ll let you know when Doctor Who Season 14’s premiere date is announced, but remember that starting with the 60th anniversary, fans outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland will need a Disney+ subscription to continue watching the show. Meanwhile, you can enjoy Ncuti Gatwa’s acting chops by streaming Sex Education with a Netflix subscription, and Max subscribers will likely be able to watch Barbie on the platform sometime in the near future.