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Russell T Davies Reveals Gatwa's Doctor Who Announcement Master Plan

Russell T Davies, the showrunner of Doctor Who, says he kept Ncuti Gatwa's casting a deliberate secret for months, orchestrating every move of the reveal

Gatwa's appointment as the new Doctor was revealed in a shocking social media post earlier this month. Many people were taken aback by this, since a Twitter announcement of the actor next taking on the lead role was a first for Doctor Who. Furthermore, the 29-year-old British actor was almost unknown a few years ago. In 2019, he played as Eric Effiong, protagonist Otis' best friend and sidekick, in the breakthrough Netflix movie Sex Education (Asa Butterfield). Sex Education was a global hit, which most likely led to Gatwa's casting as the new Doctor. His appearance also signals Davies' much anticipated return as Doctor Who showrunner, after reviving the programme in 2005.

Davies has now released further information regarding Gatwa's Doctor Who casting announcement. From February 2022, the series kept Gatwa's confirmation a secret. Davies even "placed a few bogus stories" to keep viewers wondering, according to Radio Times. The returning showrunner intended to make the revelation during the BAFTA Television Awards event, so it required a lot of planning and intelligence to keep the news from being leaked. A cryptic tweet was issued online at 11:30am, followed by the formal announcement at 12:30pm, in a pre-planned maneuver. Read on for Davies' thoughts:

"My mate Stefan texted me, always ready with a complaint. 'Bit low-key,' he said. Oh you wait, I thought, as we hit 13:30 and… Flash, bang, pop, scream, the new Doctor walked onto the biggest red carpet in the world! People going crazy for him! That was quite a sight, camera crews and microphones and journalists in the blazing sunshine yelling, 'Ncuti! Ncuti!'"

As Davies points out, Gatwa's casting was a watershed event for many Doctor Who fans. As one Time Lord's Regeneration approaches, Doctor Who fans speculate about who the next Time Lord will be, but this is always veiled in tight secrecy. While there was much conjecture about Whittaker's replacement, Gatwa's name was never mentioned as a possible Fourteenth Doctor prior to the announcement. Instead, It's A Sin stars Lydia West and Olly Alexander, as well as former Doctor David Tennant, were seen as frontrunners.

Gatwa's casting, however, is significant, since he will be the first BIPOC actor to play the famous role as a series protagonist. Whittaker was the first female Doctor in her season, and with the duo playing the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Doctors, respectively, Doctor Who is displaying a new attempt to broaden this iconic position with a more varied and representational cast. Even without considering the historic significance of this choice, Gatwa's casting is intriguing. The actor has established himself as a significant performer, since he is frequently a scene stealer in Sex Education, playing Eric with both comedy and compassion. Gatwa will hopefully bring the same captivating flare to the next season of Doctor Who. Gatwa has a lot of people excited to see what he has in store for the Fourteenth Doctor now that his super-secret casting is revealed.

Source: Radio Times

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