Doctor Who still has to say goodbye to Jodie Whittaker, but fans are excited after hearing about Ncuti Gatwa being cast as the Fourteenth Doctor. It’s always exciting to hear that there’s a new Doctor on the way, but there’s no denying there’s something very special about the hype around Gatwa. One might attribute that to Russell T. Davies returning to Doctor Who with him, but I think there’s definitely something more.
As a matter of fact, there’s a handful of things I already love about the Ncuti Gatwa that warrant talking out. Some things are directly related to Gatwa, while others are things I love about Doctor Who’s casting decision in broad terms. Let’s dive in and discuss all the wonderful things surrounding the casting of the Fourteenth Doctor.
Ncuti Gatwa’s Casting Dismisses The Narrative Of The BBC Trying To Return To What’s Familiar
From the time Season 11 premiered to Jodie Whittaker’s departure later this year, there will be Doctor Who fans who maintain the series lost its way with her arrival. Amidst that talk, rumors surfaced that The BBC was looking to return to what worked before, and even wanted someone like Hugh Grant or even David Tennant back in the role. It was disheartening to hear for me as a fan because while those theories sounded fun, it ultimately felt like a step in the wrong direction for the franchise.
Most iconic science fiction likes to challenge the status quo, and while it shouldn’t feel novel Doctor Who has its first Black male Doctor in 2022, here we are. It’s an important milestone, just as it was when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the first woman Doctor and Jo Martin was the first Black Doctor. The Doctor can literally regenerate into any form, so turning him into another white guy wouldn’t have sat right with me. Furthermore, it would’ve felt like Who signaling backtracking as a franchise, which in turn would’ve felt disrespectful to Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall’s work.
Russell T. Davies And Steven Moffat Are Very Excited About The Casting
Russell T. Davies boasted about Ncuti Gatwa not long after the reveal and stated the actor essentially took the title Doctor Who role from another actor. Davies admitted he and others believed they’d settled on another actor ahead of Gatwa’s audition, but his audition was so good that they went with him. That’s not exactly unheard of, but certainly speaks to how good Gatwa’s audition was to turn around a decision like that.
Steven Moffat teased a while back he knew what Russell T. Davies had planned for his return to Doctor Who, and was excited. More recently, he admitted Davies showed him Gatwa’s audition a while back, and he too has nothing but great things to say about the audition. Moffat told Radio Times that Gatwa was a “brand new hero” who still embodied the “wonderful mad old Doctor” that fans know. That’s not one, but two showrunners responsible for the bulk of the Doctor Who relaunch era praising Gatwa mainly off of an audition tape. Moffat and Davies know Who, so if they both think Gatwa nailed The Doctor, I’m inclined to believe them.
Ncuti Gatwa Has Already Shown He’s A Promising Actor With A Bright Future
Doctor Who has a knack for propelling UK talent like David Tennant, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan into worldwide stars with a Hollywood appeal. Ncuti Gatwa already has a bit of that going into the franchise, as he’s a celebrated piece of the buzzed-about Netflix series Sex Education. His work as Eric Effiong is one of the best performances of the series, and something that would’ve ultimately made him a star elsewhere if not on the BBC series. It’s not rare for Doctor Who to make stars, but acquiring one on the rise is certainly less common.
While Ncuti Gatwa is a newer face on the scene, there’s no denying he’s on the rise. Hell, he’s even going to appear in the upcoming Barbie movie. Granted, we have no idea what the role is and what he’s doing, but it’s certainly a good sign for his post-Who career if he’s appearing in blockbuster movies ahead of his official tenure as the Fourteenth Doctor. In my opinion, it speaks to the level of talent he has as an actor and, again, how lucky Doctor Who fans are to have him.
His Work In Sex Education Really Gives Off David Tennant’s Doctor Vibes
I’d love to see Ncuti Gatwa’s audition tape for Doctor Who, because watching his work in Sex Education definitely gave off some vibes of one of the most beloved Doctors of all time. To be clear, Eric Effiong is a different character than The Doctor, but there’s an energy to his excited moments that screams the same kind of energy David Tennant’s Doctor gave in his most chaotic performances. It’s something you’d only understand by checking out Gatwa’s performance with a Netflix subscription, and it’s worth doing because Sex Education is a good show. After watching that series and Gatwa’s character, I believe most Who fans will understand how he emulates Tennant’s Doctor.
While I believe that Ncuti Gatwa could be the second coming of David Tennant’s Doctor, it almost feels unfair to make that comparison shortly after the official announcement of his casting. To start, it sets an unbelievably high bar for Gatwa to rise to in his opening episodes and creates some immense pressure. Another thing it does is discredit the unique energy and personality Gatwa could bring to the role as an actor, which is also something I don’t want to do. Ultimately, I’m looking for Gatwa to honor the Doctor’s past and forge his own path as the character, not just be a clone of Tennant. Ultimately, I’m hoping and expecting he’ll be just that, which is why I’m so excited about the future of Doctor Who at the moment.
Ncuti Gatwa’s official run on Doctor Who will arrive sometime in 2023, but first, we’ll have Jodie Whittaker’s final episodes in 2022 on BBC America, which will lead into some brief time spent with the 14th Doctor once 13 has regenerated. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the franchise with a new Doctor on the way, so it might be a good time to catch up during this gap between new episodes.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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