‘Doctor Who’ Lead Ncuti Gatwa Says Series Will “Definitely” Address Protagonist’s New Race, Feature Episode Inspired By Actor’s “Very Leftist, Liberal Bubble”
In further torpedoing the hopes of many a series fan who thought Russell T Davies’ return would herald a return to form the alien hero, the newest actor to portray The Doctor, Ncti Gatwa, has teased that not only will his upcoming Doctor Who run address the character’s regeneration into a new race, but that it will also feature an episode whose messaging explicitly leans into the actor’s “very leftist, liberal bubble”.
Gatwa, who made his debut as The 15th Doctor in the last of Davies’ return special The Giggle, offered this insight into the once-beloved British sci-fi series’ upcoming direction during a recent interview regarding his new role given to UK entertainment news outlet Radio Times for the December issue of their print magazine.
Speaking to his existence as the first black incarnation of the titular Time Lord (via a transcript provided by The Daily Mail), Gatwa recalled how in preparation for the role he had reached out and asked for guidance in the role from all four of his previous predecessors – David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker.
Gatwa then revealed that while all four “gave me amazing individual pieces of advice”, he “felt a particular affinity to Jodie [Whittaker] just because of the shared struggle, as in the Doctor’s never been seen like this before, and what that means for yaysayers, naysayers. How do you navigate that?”
“She was so generous,” he added. “With her story and her experience of it all.”
Turning to the matter of his character’s racial identity in particular, Gatwa then noted that while he had expected a wave of backlash solely to his skin color, the reality was far from what he expected.
“I was a little bit braced for impact and then was very pleasantly surprised because it was the antithesis [of what I was expecting],” he told Radio Times. “But then, also, what’s scary is that we all live in [social media] bubbles. I remember scrolling on Twitter and being like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m so loved.'”
However, he was not without his critics, as he recalled “And then I clicked on one tweet that wasn’t as positive.”
“And then that opened up an entire world of the opposite feeling, ‘Oh no. There they are,'” continued Gatwa. “Seeing the anagrams of my name [made into a racial slur] was just lovely.”
Noting that his experience with such detractors was, to say the least, “interesting”, the actor then revealed that an upcoming episode of his series would feature a story influenced by his own personal politics. “
“As I say, I live in a very leftist, liberal bubble,” he told the outlet. “And in fact, there’s a really great episode coming up next year where we lean into that.”
Further, when pressed in turn by Radio Times as to whether or not the series would eventually and explicitly comment on the Doctor’s swapping of races between his past and current incarnations, Gatwa confirmed, “Yes, definitely. It would be stupid if we didn’t.”
“The Doctor has always walked into unknown situations and taken charge with authority,” explained the Netflix’s Sex Education actor. “Historically, there’s only really one demographic of people that are able to do that – and it’s certainly not a woman, and it’s certainly not someone black.”
“Thank God, things are changing,” he concluded.
Though Gatwa has already made his screen debut as The 15th Doctor, he will officially take over the role when the first official episode of his series and this year’s Christmas Special, The Church on Ruby Road, officially premieres on December 25th.