Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Doctor Who will thrive with Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor

Ncuti Gatwa, who rose to fame with his role as Eric Effiong in Sex Education, has been cast as the next Doctor in the BBC’s long-running sci-fi show, Doctor Who. He will make his debut next year with showrunner Russell T Davies returning to the helm of the ship he first steered into modernity right back in 2005. 

Ever since the first regeneration in 1966, change has always been a big part of Doctor Who and the arrival of a new doctor still makes me excited like a little child as I wait and see what direction they take the character in. 

Each actor has offered something different to the role, bringing new energy and a way of doing things. From my own point of view, some of these have been better than others, but all of them have retained some essence of the Doctor. 

It’s always funny watching the merry go round of rumours when the incumbent Doctor calls time on their version. From Hugh Grant to Richard Ayoade, Lydia West to Michael Sheen, we see hundreds of big names banded around in the hope one will come true. However, in a move no one saw coming, it’s Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa who will be taking possession of the TARDIS key, sonic screwdriver, and maybe a fez?

Ncuti Gatwa Doctor who
Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Sex Education

Sometimes casting just feels right, like when Matt Smith was revealed to the world and we saw that shock of hair and slightly alien-esque face, and you scream “YES! They’re the Doctor!” Well, I let out an audible gasp when Ncuti was revealed. With that energy, that rubbery face and his looks, THEY ARE the Doctor! 

Casting is also sometimes perfect for the moment. Right now, it feels like the show is in a regeneration cycle of its own. Ratings are down, storylines haven’t been well received and the BBC is swinging an axe to cut its costs. What the show needs is another soft reboot, a chance to get back to its roots and rediscover its core role as a show for children. In the fandom, we forget sometimes that this show is really for kids and in order to do so, we need the fun back. 

Ncuti is perfect for this time as they can bring their infectious energy into the role and also provide inspiration for young black kids who will finally see themselves reflected back in such prominent and well-regarded role like The Doctor.

Russell T Davies has grown up too, returning to the showrunner seat after various TV hits including It’s A Sin and Years & Years. It will be interesting to see what they do with the show as it needs a firm reset back to its winning ways. 

Change is good, change is exciting and as long as they respect the past, the future looks bright with Ncuti at the helm. 

In the words of the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith: 

“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

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