New ‘Doctor Who’ star Ncuti Gatwa feels ‘sad’ for critics of show’s diversity


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By Eric Deggans, NPR

Ncuti Gatwa in TARDIS doors
“It warms my heart to know that little Black kids out there will be like, ‘Oh, I can be The Doctor,'” Ncuti Gatwa says. “It feels like a huge, lovely responsibility.” (Disney)

It’s the question I most wanted to ask Ncuti Gatwa, the new star of Britain’s science fiction TV institution, Doctor Who.

Exactly who is The Doctor this time?

That’s because the show’s lead character, The Doctor, is a time-traveling alien who has lived for thousands of years, occasionally “regenerating” into a new form. In practical terms, that means the show can change up its star every so often, allowing a new actor to develop a different interpretation of a character that has been around since the show’s 1963 debut.

Gatwa is playing the 15th Doctor – a guy given to wearing bright clothing, with an excitable manner and a dazzling smile, full of enthusiasm and emotion in a way we haven’t always seen in previous versions of the character.


“It’s about time,” he says. “The character is a shape-shifting alien. It can be anyone. So for there to only have been one representation of the character, I think is just quite limiting. … Who wouldn’t want to see themselves in the shoes of The Doctor?”

Discover how the actor feels about racial aggression directed toward his casting.

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