Words by Smiley Team
This weekend, Ncuti Gatwa posted a cryptic message on Instagram: two red hearts and a blue square. For some, this may have caused confusion. But for anyone who watches Doctor Who this was a big hint, symbolising the two hearts of a timelord, and the TARDIS.
Not long after he posted, fans’ suspicions were confirmed; Ncuti has been named the next Doctor.
Announcing his new role, Ncuti said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared.”
The Rwandan-Scottish actor became a hit, starring as Eric Effiong in the critically acclaimed series Sex Education. For his next role, he promises to amaze audiences all over again with his performance.
“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same,” he said.
But life for Ncuti hasn’t always been easy. In fact, just five months before filming Sex Education, he was homeless, sofa surfing while working as a retailing temp.
As he told The Big Issue: “To go to my audition, I had to get my friend to transfer me 10 quid so I could top up my Oyster card.”
Ncuti’s new role isn’t just good news for his career - it could also be a positive sign for diversity in the media.
Reacting to a social media backlash, the deputy chair of Women In Journalism, Genelle Aldred, tweeted: “I don’t even watch Dr Who, but, if the issue is an outrage every time it’s not a White man then surely this just proves the point that everyone is making. For some people, if you’re not a White man you can’t possibly be where you are on merit.”
Ncuti himself thinks it's entirely fitting that the Doctor changes form seeing as the character has always been a transformative alien who can transform into anything and anyone.
“I feel like anyone can put themselves in those shoes. The Doctor is not from anywhere. They don’t fit in anywhere and I think for marginalised people they have been a real beacon of feeling seen in a way,” he said.
SUPPORT: If you’re interested to see more faces of colour in the media, support Media Diversified.
DONATE: To help people who are homeless find their feet again, donate to Shelter.