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Ncuti Gatwa Makes History as the First Black, Queer, & African-Born Lead to Star in the 'Doctor Who' Series

Updated: Mar 28

TV & Film | Entertainment News

(Source: BBC)

Sex Education star and Barbie actor Ncuti Gatwa will be taking the helm of the 15th Doctor in the legendary BBC series Doctor Who.

After over a half-century lineage of exclusively white actors playing “The Doctor”, the Rwandan-born, Scotland-raised Gatwa has made history as the first Black lead, first openly queer actor and first African-born actor to inherit the iconic role.  

First premiering in 1963, the British landmark series continued until 1989 and was later revived in 2005 after a 16-year-long hiatus. The revival was notably championed and spearheaded by gay, Queer as Folk (British series) creator Russell T. Davies, who also serves as the series current showrunner, executive producer, and writer. To date, the show is the longest running sci-fi series on TV, spanning across 60 years and 874 episodes. 

For those who may be unfamiliar, Doctor Who is a British science fiction television series centering on the adventures of a renegade extraterrestrial scientist, called “The Doctor”, who travels through time and space via the spaceship TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space).

Hailing from the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey, they are a part of an alien species called the Time Lords, who are portrayed as one of the oldest and most powerful civilized races in the universe. 

Since Time Lords have a natural ability to regenerate, at their time of death, every cell in their body changes transforming the being to a completely new person with their own personality. Based on this phenomena, the show regularly incorporates a new iteration of “The Doctor” within each series cycle. 

(Source: BBC)

Straying away from the traditional formula of regeneration, The 15th Doctor is the first in the show to “bi-generate” resulting in the latest regenerate (Gatwa) to split from the previous one allowing both versions of the Doctor to exist. 

Gatwa made his debut as the 15th Doctor in “The Giggle”, the final 60th series anniversary special, and starred in his first full episode in the Christmas Special, “The Church on Ruby Road”, with both specials airing last year. 

(Source: BBC)

Gearing up to be a standout addition to the institution that is Doctor Who, Gatwa already commands a unique presence and brings a fresh, electric charisma to “The Doctor”.

Everything about the 15th Doctor from his “birth”, personality, and the character’s actor diverges from the traditional framework of the franchise. In the most successful sci-fi series to date, Ncuti Gatwa’s portrayal of "The Doctor" immediately creates a major, historical moment within the show’s legacy and by extension the sci-fi genre as a whole. 

A new Doctor Who trailer released last week showing what’s to come for the upcoming Series 14. Alongside his companion, Ruby Sunday, the 15th Doctor is seen traveling through different periods across time-space such as the Prehistoric Era, Victorian England, and an apocalyptic future. We even see a glimpse of two-time RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon, playing an undisclosed villain role that is described as “the Doctor’s most powerful enemy yet”. 

The two-episode Series 14 premiere of Doctor Who will stream on Disney+ internationally, excluding the U.K, on May 10, 7:00pm ET and on May 11, 12:00am GMT in the U.K on BBC iPlayer, followed by BBC One later in the day.

To all the Sci-Fi Gayes out there, it’s our time to shine!


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