New to Doctor Who or returning after a break? Check out our guides designed to help you find your way!


Careful . . . spoilers!

This page absolutely does contain spoilers either about the behind-the-scenes or narrative elements of stories which have not yet been published or broadcast. Please see our spoiler policy for our rules governing articles about such subjects.


You may be looking for his parodical counterpart.

Mizero Ncuti Gatwa[4][nb 1] (born 15 October 1992[1][2]), known professionally as Ncuti Gatwa, is a Rwandan-Scottish[1] BAFTA-winning actor[5] who plays the Fifteenth Doctor[3] in Doctor Who, starting with The Giggle [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who 2023 specials (BBC One and Disney+, 2023)., the last of the 60th Anniversary Specials, following his predecessor's bi-generation.[6] Gatwa has had roles in television, film, and theatre.

Gatwa had the distinction of being the very first black actor to spearhead the series in the titular role,[7] although he wasn't the first black actor to portray the Doctor, being preceded by Lenny Henry and Jo Martin.[8] He is also the first openly queer actor to play an on-screen version of the Doctor[9], as well as the first actor born after the end of the show's original tenure to play the role.


Early life[]

Mizero Ncuti Gatwa[4] was born in the Nyarugenge District[2], in Kigali, Rwanda[10], on 15 October 1992[1][2], but he and his family fled to Scotland in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide.[10]

During his childhood, he lived in Dunfermline and Edinburgh, but he always felt different from everyone around him, as nobody, not student nor adult nor role model, shared his heritage in Scotland.[10] Gatwa was trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland[2], obtaining a BA in acting.[11]

He describes himself as a "Rwandan-Scotsman", a term he coined.[10]


Gatwa notably performed in stage plays such as Hecuba, A Midsummer Night's Dream[2], and David Greig's Victoria.[2][12] His first role in television was in Bob Servant (series two, The Van) as an unnamed customer in 2014. The series also starred Brian Cox.[1][13]

Gatwa starred in Netflix's Sex Education as Eric Effiong, an openly gay character[14] who was prasied for not being a caricature, as one may expect from the typcial portrayal of black and gay characters in television and film, due to Eric being fully fleshed out as a character and never being played "second fiddle" to Otis (the primary protagonist of the series).[15] The series also co-starred the likes of Gillian Anderson.[2]

In 2022, Gatwa was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.[16] The RCS informally called him a "Doctor of Drama".[17]

Doctor Who[]

Casting and announcement[]

Russell T Davies explained with the casting of Gatwa, that his casting wasn't just about "diversity and representation", explaining that he was...

"Simply the best actor walked into the room"Russell T Davies

Davies did also punctuate that he considered "diversity and representation [to be] very important."[18] Russell later added: "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."[5] When Gatwa was told that he had got the role, in around March, he didn't tell anyone about it, including his co-stars in the 2023 Barbie film.[19][20]

On 17 April it was revealed by BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba in a BBC News article that Jodie Whittaker's successor as the Doctor was "expected to be revealed in the coming weeks".[21]

On 8 May, Gatwa teased his role on the series on his Instagram account, where he posted a white image with the emojis of "❤️❤️➕🟦" on it;[22] shortly thereafter, it was officially announced that Gatwa would be joining the series.[23]

By 27 May, Gatwa had to hire security for himself and his family following the announcement of his casting.[19]

In a mini-interview released on 25 October, Gatwa expressed his excitement for taking on the role, despite it being "daunting" to follow in the footsteps of the many actors before him, but was looking forward to putting his "own stamp on the Doctor".[24]

Although Gatwa was initially announced as the Fourteenth Doctor, the conclusion of the Power of the Doctor revealed that David Tennant was the Fourteenth Doctor. Gatwa will instead portray the Fifteenth Doctor.

Casting reception[]

Many Doctor Who actors praised the casting of Gatwa.

Lenny Henry, prior to the broadcast of his role in Spyfall, criticised Doctor Who for never having "a black Doctor Who", jokingly adding "they would rather have a dog do Doctor Who than a black person. [Barking noise]."[25] When Gatwa was announced in the role, Henry strongly praised Russell T Davies for the casting, stating "a lot of black fans have been looking at our watches for a while! More power to Russell T Davies."[14] Matt Smith, who played the Eleventh Doctor, called the casting "inspired", adding that Gatwa has a "real warmth and wit and a real depth to his talent", and other actors also shared their opinions: Jo Martin (the Fugitive Doctor) called Gatwa and Davies the "dream team"; Sophie Aldred (Ace) said "wicked!"; Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown) was "thrilled by this clever casting"; Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) was thrilled about the new actor; Louise Jameson (Leela) said "I think we're going to LOVE him"; and Katy Manning (Jo Grant) had "total confidence he will be wonderful". Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) welcomed Gatwa to the "Doctor Who club"[26] in a video message he released on Twitter,[27] and when Gatwa was announced, McCoy texted Paul McGann (the Eighth Doctor), telling him "Scots four, Scousers two", in reference to the nationalities of himself, McGann, and other actors to play the role of the Doctor. McGann, while initially unfamiliar with Gatwa, watched his performance in Sex Education, and thought highly of it. He also praised the casting of someone youthful, as he felt that the series needed someone like him as opposed to another middle-aged white male.[28]

On 11 May, Gatwa released an Instagram Story, responding to McCoy's video message thanking him for his "beautiful message [...] especially from a fellow Scot." He also thanked the other actors for their support.[29]

Outside of regular Doctor Who actors, other actors also supported the casting of Gatwa. Gatwa had to keep his casting a secret until the official announcement, but after that, co-star of the 2023 film Barbie Ryan Gosling went to Gatwa's trailer to congratulate him, being a fan of Doctor Who himself,[20] and then was later spotted wearing a t-shirt that featured fanart produced by Matthew Purchase.[30][31] The Official Doctor Who Twitter account praised the artwork and retweeted it,[32] and Russell T Davies joked that the BBC was going to sue Gosling over the "illegal merch".[33]

In the role[]

Gatwa had a role in the costume chosen for his Doctor.[34] Apart from appearing in trailers for the 2023 specials, Gatwa appeared as the Doctor in the first shot of the Whoniverse ident; however, Gatwa's Doctor technically debuted in non-television media, explicitly in the short story First Day of the Doctor [+]Paul Lang, Doctor Who The Official Annual 2024 (Penguin Group, 2023)., an entry in Whotopia: The Ultimate Guide to the Whoniverse [+]Simon Guerrier, Una McCormack and Jonathan Morris, BBC Books (2023)., and implicitly in the poem Contents [+]James Goss, Now We Are Six Hundred (Harper Design, 2017).[35] and the audio story The World Tree [+]Nick Slawicz, Short Trips (Big Finish Productions, 2022)..[nb 2]

On 23 November 2023, a version of An Adventure in Space and Time [+]Mark Gatiss, An Adventure in Space and Time (BBC Two, 2013). was broadcast on BBC Four, wherein Gatwa replaced Matt Smith's cameo as a premonition experienced by David Bradley's William Hartnell.


As the Fifteenth Doctor

Doctor Who[]



External links[]



  1. Pronounced shoo-tee gat-wah (example)
  2. For more information on the non-television appearances of Gatwa's Doctor prior to his debut television story, please go to the behind the scenes section on the Fifteenth Doctor page.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Nucti Gatwa on famousbirthdays.com via the Wayback Machine
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Ncuti Gatwa Embraces His Electrifying Power on teenvogue.com via the Wayback Machine
  3. 3.0 3.1 David Tennant is the Doctor! on doctorwho.tv via the Wayback Machine
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mizero Ncuti GATWA on gov.org
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ncuti Gatwa is the Doctor on doctorwho.tv via the Wayback Machine
  6. DWM 581
  7. Doctor Who: Ncuti Gatwa to replace Jodie Whittaker, BBC announces on thegaurdian.com via the Wayback Machine
  8. Untitled The Lenny Henry Show sketch and Fugitive of the Judoon
  9. ELLE Style Awards: Ncuti Gatwa Is The Modern Pioneer on elle.com
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Ncuti Gatwa: The Scottish-Rwandan roots of the 14th Doctor Who on bbc.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  11. 2013 BA Acting pdf from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  12. Theatre review: Victoria, Dundee Rep on thescotsman.com via the Wayback Machine
  13. The Van on bbc.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sir Lenny Henry praises Russell T Davies for casting Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who on theindependent.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  15. Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa Doesn’t Want to Play the Gay Best Friend on vulture.com via the Wayback Machine
  16. New Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa is awarded another Dr title on thetimes.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  17. RCS on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  18. New Doctor Who casting wasn't about “diversity and representation”, says writer on radiotimes.com via the Wayback Machine
  19. 19.0 19.1 Simu Liu Reveals Co-Star Ncuti Gatwa Didn’t Even Tell ‘Barbie’ Castmates He Was New Doctor Who on variety.com via the Wayback Machine
  20. 20.0 20.1 Ncuti Gatwa On Barbie, Doctor Who And Baring It All In British Vogue on vogue.co.uk
  21. Doctor Who: Former companions to join Jodie Whittaker's farewell on bbc.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  22. Ncuti Gatwa on Instagram
  23. @BBCDoctorWho on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  24. Ncuti Gatwa's Guide to Doctor Who - Q&A - Doctor Who on the Official Doctor Who YouTube Channel
  25. @KennethTharp on twitter.com via the Wayback machine
  26. DWM 578
  27. Sylvester McCoy on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  28. Paul McGann on Ncuti Gatwa as the Fourteenth Doctor on DWhoUnreleased
  29. Doctor Who: Ncuti Gatwa thanks Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy for his support in dedicated video on Independent via the Wayback Machine
  30. @DrWhoMoment on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  31. @TheCyberDevil on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  32. bbcdoctorwho on Twitter
  33. Russell T Davies jokes he’s going to sue Ryan Gosling over Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who t-shirt: ‘#RulesAreRules’ on independent.co.uk via the Wayback Machine
  34. Ncuti Gatwa reveals he has a say in his “exciting” Doctor Who outfit on radiotimes.com via the Wayback Machine
  35. @EllingtonElms on twitter.com
  36. The future is here! Ncuti Gatwa is the Doctor. ❤️❤️➕🟦 on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  37. Ncuti Gatwa took the TARDIS for a quick spin today to celebrate the news that #DoctorWho is coming to to the @bbc and @disneyplus in 2023 ✨ on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  38. Millie Gibson joins the cast of #DoctorWho as the Doctor's companion, Ruby Sunday ❤️❤️➕♦️ on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  39. The Doctor and Ruby ❤️❤️➕♦️ on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  40. 40.0 40.1 Introducing the Doctor and Ruby Sunday, played by Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson ❤️❤️➕🟦 on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine
  41. The TARDIS is detecting some major Kenergy on Earth today 👀 on twitter.com via the Wayback Machine