How the internet is reacting to the new Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa

After about 26 seasons and 13 regenerations (not including countless specials and spin-offs), the Doctor is adopting a brand new, history-making form: Sex Education standout Eric Effiong.

By that we mean that the loveable face behind fan fave Eric, Rwandan-Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa, has officially been announced as Doctor Who’s next incarnation, in a very low-key tweet from the BBC’s official Doctor Who account. “Unlike the Doctor I may only have one heart, but I am giving it all to this show,” Gatwa has promised, adorably.

If you’re not familiar with Gatwa yet, the most vital memed moment from Sex Education you need to see is this prime moment of Eric’s catchphrase, wherein he warns another student to “wash your hands, you detty pig!” It became a coronavirus catch-cry of sorts—something to tell yourself in the mirror while soaping up your hands for 20 seconds.

Because of the overwhelming love for that character, Gatwa’s new role as the Doctor has received mostly positive feedback, with Whovians and lapsed fans alike expressing their excitement all over social media.

First some well wishes, starting with Gatwa’s Sex Education co-star Gillian Anderson—a bit of an expert at dealing with portals and aliens herself.

@bellewoghirenn Ncuti Gatwa is the new doctor! #ncutigatwa #doctorwho #uk #uktv #antiracism #representation #antiracist #equality #ally #diversity #fyp #culture ♬ Love – Instrumental – GC


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As with the previous Doctor Jodie Whittaker, some critics have accused the casting of being mere political box-ticking: back then it was for casting a woman as the Doctor, now Gatwa is apparently too young/too male/too unrecognisable to be the two-hearted Time Lord from Gallifrey.

In canon, the Doctor has already been played by a non-white actor—Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor in season 12‘s fifth episode. But Gatwa will be the first Black performer to play the time-and-space explorer in a recurring primary role, and the first Scottish actor to do so since Peter Capaldi and David Tennant.

Somewhere in between enthusiasm and criticism, multiple fans were just dumbfounded at the casting: presumably very excited but also shocked, with the Twitter user below especially weirded out at just how casual the BBC’s social media reveal was.


@emptyjunior This has distracted me so much I was in the middle of doing something but that’s now Unimportant #ncutigatwa #doctorwho #bbc #sexeducation #scifi ♬ Doctor Who – Blues Harvest

Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor is expected to die off in one of three associated specials of series 12, when we should finally see Gatwa in all his Gallifreyan glory. Considering the actor’s IRL snappy wardrobe, it would be a shame if he’s wearing anything too sensible: a sprig of celery in his breast pocket, perhaps? It’s been done before.

@dominicjgm ITS OFFICIAL NCUTI GATWA IS THE 14TH DOCTOR #doctorwho #doctorwhotiktok #14thdoctor #fourteenthdoctor #ncutigatwa #foryoupage #fyp ♬ original sound – Dominic

Before we say goodbye to Whittaker, then, make sure you familiarise yourself with Gatwa’s best-loved work in Sex Education. He’ll also appear in the upcoming Barbie movie with Margot Robbie: Ken, get in the hot-pink sedan, you detty pig…