Gatwa takes over from Jodie Whittaker, who has played the iconic role since 2017. The actor’s departure was revealed in July 2021 and there’s been widespread speculation ever since around who will be replacing her, with rumored names including “It’s a Sin” stars Olly Alexander and Lydia West, and even Michaela Coel.
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The BBC confirmed Gatwa’s casting on Sunday afternoon, local time, just hours before the taping of the BAFTA TV Awards, suggesting there could be some reference to “Doctor Who” during the ceremony. Gatwa is expected to be in attendance, according to a list of expected guests provided by BAFTA last week.
— BBC (@BBC) May 8, 2022
The 29-year-old Scottish actor was born in Rwanda and broke out in Netflix comedy “Sex Education,” where he plays Eric Effiong, best friend to Asa Butterfield’s Otis. He is the second Black actor to portray a doctor, following Jo Martin, who played “Fugitive Doctor” Ruth Clayton in a 2020 episode.
In a statement, Gatwa told the BBC that he was “deeply honored, 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,” said Gatwa. “I will endeavor my upmost to do the same.”
Fans began to guess on Sunday that “Doctor Who” news was imminent after a cryptic equation of two hearts, a plus sign and a blue square popped up on the Instagram pages of Gatwa and showrunner Russell T. Davies, who takes over from Chris Chibnall for the next season.
Davies commented “The future is here” under Gatwa’s post.
The “It’s a Sin” and “Queer as Folk” writer told the BBC that Gatwa had “dazzled” the creative team in his audition.
“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,” said Davies.
Production on the new season of “Doctor Who” will begin later this year.
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