“Thunderbolt” Ncuti Gatwa named on Time 100 Next list

Incoming Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa has been named as one of the Time 100 Next rising stars by the prestigious US magazine.

The 29-year-old Rwandan-Scottish actor, best known to many for his performance as Eric Effiong in Netflix teen comedy-drama Sex Education, was named as the replacement to Jodie Whittaker on the BBC’s long-running science fiction show Doctor Who earlier this year.

Writing in Time magazine to celebrate Gatwa’s place on the list of up and coming stars, returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies described Gatwa as “like a thunderbolt” who “keeps winning new ground”

In a glowing citation alongside Gatwa’s place in the magazine, Davies spoke of Gatwa’s rapid rise to fame in television:

“Ncuti Gatwa’s creation of Eric Effiong in Netflix’s Sex Education went soaring around the world. The character of the gay sidekick is meant to stay in the shadows. Not Eric! He strutted in, stole the spotlight, and I think a gracious, awestruck cast simply stood back and allowed him the room.”

Davies also described the way he saw Ncuti Gatwa’s audition and knew straight away he was the right choice for the main role in Doctor Who.

“I’d watched him onscreen, and thought I had the measure of him, until he walked into the room for Doctor Who audition. Bang! Thunderbolt. And bear in mind, for U.K. TV, the part of the Doctor is the Crown Jewels, it’s history, it’s tradition, it’s … Oh, sod that, I said, and threw it at him.”

Added Davies: “He’s conquered the world. Now all of time and space is his.”

Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker in 2023, with Russell T Davies returning to be showrunner of Doctor Who, after being in charge of the programme between 2005 when it was rebooted for TV in the UK and 2010.

It is not known exactly how and when viewers will first see Ncuti Gatwa on screen, but it is expected he will play a significant role in the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2023 across a number of specials which will see the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate amongst others before a full series is on air, most likely in 2024. It is thought that filming for that series will begin this November.

Before that, there is one final Jodie Whittaker adventure in the shape of The Power of the Doctor, a 90-minute special which will coincide with the 100th birthday of the BBC.