Who is the new Doctor Who? All you need to know about Sex Education's Ncuti Gatwa

Jodie Whittaker has said goodbye to the role after four years

New Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa at a red carpet event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The long-awaited news over Jodie Whittaker's replacement has been revealed. So, who is the new Doctor Who?

Sci-fi fans spent months speculating over who is going to be the new Time Lord, and after various names were floated for the prestigious role, the wait was finally over when the BBC made the announcement back in May 2022. Now, fans are desperate to know when Doctor Who will return (opens in new tab) so they can get their first look at the new cast member, who will take over from Jodie Whittaker as the 14th Doctor. Whittaker - who announced she is pregnant with her second child (opens in new tab) earlier this year - spent four years in the role and was the first woman to play the Doctor.

However, curiosity has been renewed following the recent series finale for the BBC's centenary special, as viewers were shocked to see the 13th Doctor regenerate into old fan-favourite David Tennant. The cliff-hanger has left viewers desperate for answers to the question who is the new Doctor Who?

Who is the new Doctor Who?

In May 2022 the BBC announced that the new Doctor Who is Ncuti Gatwa - full name Mizero Ncuti Gatwa - and star of Sex Education. The announcement explained that Ncuti, 29, will become the 14th Doctor - and he also makes history as the first Black actor to play the iconic role.

Speaking about his new venture, Ncuti, who is best-known for playing the iconic Eric Effiong in the Netflix (opens in new tab) comedy drama series, said, "There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. 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 utmost to do the same."

While Gatwa takes on the role, a familiar face will be returning to the show. Screenwriter Russell T Davies revealed he will become showrunner once again after the departure of Chris Chibnall - right in time for Doctor Who's 60th anniversary in 2023.

Ncuti Gatwa has said, "Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it’s daunting, I’m aware I’m joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show.”

Meanwhile, Russel T Davies said, "The future is here and it’s Ncuti! 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. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”

Is David Tennant the new Doctor?

Yes, David Tennant is returning to the show as the 14th Doctor. After Whittaker unexpectedly regenerated into Tennant at the end of the 90-minute special, the BBC has confirmed that the actor - who also played the role between 2005 and 2010 - has officially returned.

Further to the BBC's previous announcement about Gatwa taking over the role, it has been revealed that he will in fact be playing the 15th Doctor, not the 14th as previously thought. 

But although Tennant is technically the next Doctor, he will only appear in three episodes - alongside other returning cast members such as Catherine Tate and the late Bernard Cribbins - for the show's 60th anniversary. These episodes are expected to air in November 2023.

Following this, Gatwa will make his full Doctor Who debut. The BBC has said his first episode will air "over the festive period in 2023."

Who is Ncuti Gatwa?

Ncuti Gatwa is a Scottish actor originally from Rwanda. He was born in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 1992 when the country was already fully embroiled in a civil war. 

At the age of two, he moved with his family to the UK where he was raised mostly in Dunfermline and Edinburgh. He attended Boroughmuir High School and Dunfermline High School before moving to Glasgow to study acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Gatwa previously opened up about his experience as part of the 2019 BBC Scotland documentary Black and Scottish (opens in new tab). At the time Ncuti said, "We came to the UK because of the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994. We were refugees, we were refugees coming to the UK and I definitely now view myself as a Rwandan-Scotsman. Yes there's such a term and I'm giving it a name today."

But growing up, he admitted he struggled to find a role model to look up to. He admitted, "I definitely felt growing up that I wasn't seen as the same as anyone around me because no-one around me looked like me.

"I remember my mum being like, 'everyone looks the same'. She travelled all around Edinburgh... trying to find someone that was black and she couldn't see anyone.

"Role models? There were no black Scottish role models. I felt like I was the only black person in the world."

See more

Ncuti scooped a Best Actor Award at the Scottish BAFTA’s in 2020 for his performance in Sex Education, as well as numerous nominations including Best Male Performance in a comedy programme at this year’s BAFTA’s. He attended the Critics Choice Awards in LA back in March after being nominated for an award.

How do you say Ncuti Gatwa?

Ncuti is pronounced 'shoo-ti', 'Gatwa' is pronounced 'gat-wa'. Ncuti's full name, Mizero Ncuti Gatwa, is of African origin.

Fans of the long-running TV series are delighted with the new Time Lord choice.

One tweeted, "This is the greatest Birthday present you all could have given me today, and as a Black Man who loves this show it's so Freaking amazing to finally see a Doctor Who looks like me."

Another fan put, "This is ummm MASSIVE news to just make a simple tweet lol I'm exited tho I loved them in Sex Education definitely gotta finish it now."

And a third fan added, "I am BEYOND excited and elated to see what Ncuti and the return of Davies will bring to this next iteration of the Doctor! #DoctorWho."

Doctor Who is set to return to BBC screens in autumn 2023.

Video of the Week