The 29-year-old will become the 14th Doctor on the popular BBC show, after Whittaker announced last July she will be leaving the role.
Gatwa is the first black actor to take on the leading role as The Doctor in the show’s history, after Jodie made history as the first permanent female Doctor.
New guard: Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord in Doctor Who, the BBC has announced
Jo Martin played the first black incarnation of the Time Lord in a January 2020 episode, Future of the Judoon, as Ruth Clayton, but Gatwa has become the first black Doctor cast as the series lead.
Scottish actor Gatwa, who was born in Rwanda, starred as Eric Effiong in Netflix‘s hugely popular Sex Education about socially awkward high school student Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson).
Whittaker took over the Tardis in 2017 as the first female Doctor.
Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies is returning as the programme’s showrunner after departing the show in 2009.
Davies, who was responsible for Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, will be back to celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary in 2023, the BBC previously said.
History maker: The 29-year-old will become the 14th Doctor on the popular BBC show, after Whittaker announced last July she will be leaving the role after five years – she made history as the show’s first ever female doctor
The announcement was teased by Davies and Gatwa on Instagram, with a post featuring two heart emojis, a plus symbol and a blue square.
Speaking about his new role, Gatwa said he was ‘deeply honoured’ and ‘beyond excited’, but admitted that he was also a ‘little bit scared’ to join the franchise.
He told the BBC: ‘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.’
Meanwhile, Davies said that Gatwa ‘dazzled’ in his audition, adding: ‘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.’
Debut: The official Doctor Who Twitter account broke the news on Sunday
Gatwa’s Sex Education co-star Emma Mackey, who plays Maeve Wiley in the Netflix drama, was quick to take to Instagram to congratulate her friend.
The French-British actress, 26, shared the BBC’s announcement to her Stories along with the caption: ‘My Doctor.’
Bridgerton’s Simone Ashley, who also starred alongside Gatwa as Olivia in Sex Education, also shared her joy at Gatwa being cast as the Doctor.
She wrote on her Instagram Stories: ‘YES! So proud, go on @ncutigatwa.’
And fans also appeared over-the-moon at the exciting news, as many took to Twitter to congratulate the actor and praise him as a perfect fit to be the Time Lord.
One wrote: ‘Fantastic news, congratulations to Ncuti Gatwa, can’t wait to see your doctor x’
Another penned: ‘LOVE the idea of Ncuti Gatwa as Doctor Who!’
Success story: Scottish actor Gatwa, who was born in Rwanda, starred as Eric Effiong in Netflix ‘s hugely popular Sex Education about socially awkward high school student Otis (Asa Butterfield – pictured together)
Support: Gatwa’s Sex Education co-star Emma Mackey, who plays Maeve in the Netflix drama, and Bridgerton’s Simone Ashley were quick to take to Instagram to congratulate their friend
A third tweeted: ‘Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor is such a compelling choice. Very much looking forward to seeing what he does with the role. This is exciting!’
And a fourth quipped: ‘SCREAMING, CRYING, CHEERING!!! I haven’t felt this excited since I found out in the middle of a busy EdFringe that Peter Capaldi was going to be the Doctor! What a casting.’
While a fifth added: ‘Very much looking forward to Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor. Welcome.’
And a sixth commented: ‘Ncuti Gatwa is a brilliant actor, he was amazing in Sex Education (a show I highly recommend) and I’m sure he’ll be a brilliant Doctor, especially with Russell T Davies returning as showrunner.’
Eager: Fans appeared thrilled by the exciting news, as many took to Twitter to congratulate the actor and praise him as a perfect fit to be the Time Lord
Elsewhere, Gatwa has joined the likes of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the upcoming Barbie movie, which sees Margot star as Barbie and Ryan play Ken. His role in the film has not been revealed.
Gatwa’s Sex Education co-star Emma Mackey has also joined the cast of the live-action Barbie film, which will be directed by Greta Gerwig and will be released on July 21, 2023.
Just weeks ago, Ncuti shared photographs of his and Emma’s names printed in pink on chairs as he teased his involvement by writing: ‘Come on Barbie, let’s go party…’.
The film features an all-star cast including Will Ferrell, Issa Rae, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, and Alexandra Shipp.
‘The future is here’: The announcement was teased by Davies and Gatwa on Instagram, with a post featuring two heart emojis, a plus symbol and a blue square
Gerwig, 38, wrote the script for the film with her longtime partner Noah Baumbach.
A synopsis on IMDB of the upcoming film reads: ‘A doll living in ‘Barbieland’ is expelled for not being perfect enough and sets off on an adventure in the real world. A Live-action feature film based on the popular line of Barbie toys.’
Robbie has been long slated to play the world’s most iconic fashion doll in a live-action movie and back in December 2020, she vowed to give audiences ‘something totally different.’
Opting for something ‘a little left center,’ when it comes to her portrayal of the Mattel doll, the project will be produced by her LuckyChap Entertainment Company whose motto is, ‘If it’s not a f**k, yes, it’s a no.’
Career: Elsewhere, Gatwa has joined the likes of Margot Robbie (pictured) and Ryan Gosling in the upcoming Barbie movie, which sees Margot star as Barbie and Ryan play Ken
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the project, Robbie said: ‘Something like Barbie where the IP, the name itself, people immediately have an idea of, ‘Oh Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is.’
‘But our goal is to be like, ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different – the thing you didn’t know you wanted.”
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Gatwa had gone from war refugee to one of the country’s best paid young actors after raking in earnings of £772,000.
The star was homeless until he landed his role as Eric Effiong in Netflix school drama Sex Education, going on to become a fan favourite.
Exciting: Just weeks ago, Ncuti shared photographs of his and Emma’s names printed in pink on chairs as he teased his involvement by writing: ‘Come on Barbie, let’s go party…’
In the past, he has spoken of having to borrow £10 from friends so he could afford the tube fare for auditions.
But he was able to forward himself £303,340 from the company and paid it all back.
When he was a toddler his family left war-ravaged Rwanda fleeing the genocide and moved to Scotland where he overcame racist bullying at school in Dunfermline.
When he moved to London to pursue his dream of carving out a career in acting he ran out of savings and found himself homeless – sleeping on friends’ sofas for five months.
He said: ‘I couldn’t seem to handle it all financially. I was supposed to move into a new place and it fell through.
Acting: Earlier this year, it was revealed that Gatwa had gone from war refugee to one of the country’s best paid young actors after raking in earnings of £772,000
‘So for five months before Sex Education, I was couch-surfing among all my friends. I didn’t have a home.
‘I was homeless. The only thing stopping me from being on the streets was the fact I had friends.’
The show focuses, often in graphic detail, on the sex lives of a group of British teenagers in an unnamed town. Written by Laurie Nunn, it turned many of the cast into overnight stars.
Recent accounts for his company Gemini Moon Limited showed he had amassed assets of more than three quarters of a million pounds last year.
Before Gatwa was announced as the 14th Doctor, fans were sent into a frenzy speculating who would secure the job, with bookmakers marking Olly Alexander, Michaela Coel, Kris Marshall, Richard Ayoade and Jodie Comer among the favourites.
Show: The Sex Education star, 29, was homeless until he landed his role as Eric Effiong in the Netflix school drama
Rumours were also rife that Jodie could hand the baton back to David Tennant, 50, who played the 10th incarnation of the Doctor from 2005 to 2010.
Hugh Grant was also said to have been ‘in talks’ to take over from Whittaker after previously turning down the role when Davies offered it to him.
In 1999, Grant played a version of the 12th Doctor for a Comic Relief special written by Steven Moffat.
In 2007, the actor said he regretted his decision, telling Digital Spy at the time: ‘I was offered the role of the Doctor a few years back and was highly flattered.
‘The danger with those things is that it’s only when you see it on screen that you think, “Damn, that was good, why did I say no?” But then, knowing me, I’d probably make a mess of it.’
Exit: Last July, Whittaker announced she was leaving the role, described her four-year stint manning the Tardis as being ‘the best job I ever had’
Last July, Whittaker announced she was leaving the role, described her four-year stint manning the Tardis as being ‘the best job I ever had’.
Her departure is currently playing out across a three-part special, the first of which hit screens on New Year’s Day 2022, before the second aired on April 17.
Jodie’s final, feature-length appearance as the Doctor – in which she will regenerate – will arrive in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.
Of her time on the show, Jodie said: ‘In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them.
‘My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life.
‘And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories.’
Rumours: Before Gatwa was announced as the Doctor, fans were sent into a frenzy speculating who would secure the job, with bookmakers marking Olly Alexander among the favourites
She added: ‘We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had.
‘I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.’
Jodie concluded: ‘I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.’
In 2020, Jodie was voted 2nd Most Popular Doctor of all time, coming within a whisker of her friend David Tennant, in a poll of more than 50,000 fans for Radio Times.
Former Doctors David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith could make a comeback for a special 60th anniversary celebration of the show.
Top picks: In 2020, Jodie was voted 2nd Most Popular Doctor of all time, coming within a whisker of her friend David Tennant, in a poll of more than 50,000 fans for Radio Times
A TV insider told The Sun: ‘The BBC wanted something unique to mark six decades of Doctor Who and while getting all the former time lords together will be a challenge, it’s one Russell might just achieve.’
Gatwa taking over from Whittaker marks the first permanent black doctor in the BBC show’s history, although Jo Martin starred as the Time Lord in a January 2020 episode, Future of the Judoon, as Ruth Clayton.
The episode saw Jodi meet a previously-unknown past version of the character, in the form of actress Jo.
This marked two major milestones for the series: the second time a female has played the time travelling extraterrestrial and the first time the character has been black.
Some fans weren’t sure whether or not Martin’s appearance meant what it implied – but show boss Chris Chibnall confirmed that this wasn’t ‘a trick’.
He told The Mirror: ‘The important thing to say is – she is definitively The Doctor. There’s not a sort of parallel universe going on, there’s no tricks. Jo Martin is The Doctor.’
Chibnall noted that the Top Boy star was credited in the same way John Hurt was credited when he appeared as another previously-unseen incarnation, who cropped up during the 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor in 2013.
‘That’s why we gave her the credit at the end which all new Doctors have the first time you see them. John Hurt got that credit,’ Chibnall explained.
The character was introduced initially as a tour guide called Ruth Clayton, who pressed an In Case Of Emergency button as the Judoon invaded her hometown.
‘Definitively the Doctor’: Ncuti’s new role will mark the show’s second portrayal of a black doctor, following Jo Martin’s starring role in January 2020 episode, Future of the Judoon, as Ruth Clayton
Iconic: The episode saw Jodi meet a previously-unknown past version of the character, in the form of actress Jo
It’s unclear where she fits in the mythology of previous Doctors – with many noting she did not recognise Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, suggesting she came between Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor and Jon Pertwee’s Third.
‘There will be answers to some of these mysteries this series. But as ever with Doctor Who, answers often reveal new questions. It’s all very deliberate,’ Chibnall has assured.
He also revealed Martin wasn’t aware she was auditioning to play The Doctor when she met the producers to read for them.
Last month, Doctor Who fans descended into a frenzy following Sunday’s Easter Special, as the time traveller confessed her love for her female companion Yasmin.
In emotional scenes after defeating the villainous Sea Devils, the heroine admitted that ‘if it was going to be anyone, it’d be her,’ but noted that she could never act on her feelings because of her immortality.
Following hints that the pair would finally address their growing feelings, the touching scene sent Who fans into a frenzy, with one even admitting they were ‘absolutely sobbing’ after watching the scene.
At last! Last month Doctor Who fans descended into a frenzy following the Easter Special, as the time traveller confessed her love for her female companion Yasmin
During the episode, which saw The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) transported to 19th Century China, the trio were tasked with battling the iconic Sea Devil villains.
In a standout moment, The Doctor transported the TARDIS to the bottom of the ocean leaving both herself and Yaz in awe of the stunning underwater views.
As the Time Lord quipped: ‘Not a bad date, am I?’ Yaz could be seen gazing at her in the emotionally-charged moment.
Love is in the air! In emotional scenes after defeating the villainous Sea Devils, the heroine admitted that ‘if it was going to be anyone, it’d be her’
While Yaz later came dangerously close to confessing her feelings, it was The Doctor who made the move first, telling her companion: ‘Dates are not something I really do. I mean I used to. Have done. And if I was going to, believe me: it would be with you.
‘I think you’re one of the greatest people that I’ve ever known… If it was going to be anyone, it’d be you. But I can’t.’
Questioned by Yaz, she added: ‘There’s no point. Time always runs out,’ alluding to her immortal state, famously noted by The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) in response to his growing feelings for companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper).
Love is in the air! In a standout moment, The Doctor transported the TARDIS to the bottom of the ocean, before she quipped: ‘Not a bad date am I?’
So much romance! Yaz could be seen gazing at her in the emotionally charged moment
In the episode’s final scene, the pair once again addressed their growing feelings, with The Doctor telling Yaz: ‘I can’t fix myself to anything, anywhere, or anyone. I’ve never been able to. That’s what my life is.
‘Not because I don’t want to, because I might. But if I do fix myself to somebody, I know sooner or later it’ll hurt… Can we just live in the present of what we have, while we still have it?’
Making a wish on a skipping stone, she added: ‘I wish this could go on forever.’
It can’t happen: While Yaz later came dangerously close to confessing her feelings, it was The Doctor who made the move first
Tragic: While she noted that Yaz was ‘one of the greatest people she had never known,’ they could never act on their feelings due to her immortal state
The vindication that Yaz’s feelings for The Doctor were reciprocated sent die-hard fans into a frenzy, with many flooding Twitter with their reaction.
One wrote: ‘that thasmin beach scene is actually one of my favourite scenes in chibnalls whole era,’ while another added: ‘nah, last night’s ep actually happened? thasmin is canon? thirteen reciprocates? what timeline do we live in?’
‘IF IT WAS GOING TO BE ANYONE ITD BE YOU. EXCUSE ME WHILE I DIE,’ one hysterical fan tweeted.
It’s happening! The vindication that Yaz’s feelings for The Doctor were reciprocated sent die-hard fans into a frenzy, with many flooding Twitter with their reaction
A fan tweeted: ’13 said if she’d date anyone it’d be Yaz…. she just told Yaz she loves her too OH MY GOD.’
‘Absolutely sobbing omg. Love them #Doctorwho #Thasmin,’ a hysterical fan added.
Fans have been calling for Doctor Who to address the time traveller’s growing feelings for Yaz, marking her first same-sex relationship with a companion.
Coming soon: Following the episode, Doctor Who teased the return of two former companions in the spellbinding trailer for its centenary special (pictured in-character)
Following the episode, Doctor Who teased the return of two former companions in the spellbinding trailer for its centenary special, airing later this year much to the excitement of fans.
The titular character, played Jodie Whittaker, is told that she is going to die in the gripping footage, having announced her departure from the iconic role last year.
She’ll be joined by Aussie air stewardess Tegan Jovanka (Sophie Aldred) who starred alongside Sylvester McCoy in the late 80s, as well as Ace (Janet Fielding) having worked with Tom Baker and Peter Davison earlier in the same decade.
Return: The Doctor will be joined by an Aussie air stewardess Tegan Jovanka (Sophie Aldred) who starred alongside Sylvester McCoy in the late 80s
Usual favourites including the Daleks and Cybermen feature in the 30-second extravaganza while the Doctor is seen regenerating in another clip, despite being told it would be the ‘end of her existence’.
The sci-fi drama hit the small screen in 1963, however the BBC is celebrating one hundred years since its launch as a radio station in October 1922.
Current Time Lord Jodie’s role comes to an end this autumn with a regeneration episode after she became the first ever female Doctor in 2017.
Doctor Who will return later this year for BBC’s Centenary Special.
Here she is: Ace (Janet Fielding) worked with Tom Baker and Peter Davison earlier in the same decade, is also set to return for the special