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Neil Patrick Harris Says Ncuti Gatwa Will Be the First Gay Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’

Ncuti Gatwa in Sex Education

News about Doctor Who’s 14th Doctor just keeps getting better and better! In a recent interview with Variety, Neil Patrick Harris said that Ncuti Gatwa will be playing the first gay Doctor. Harris himself will be joining the Doctor Who cast when the new season airs in 2023, although his role is a secret.

Gatwa, who won Best Actor at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2020, for his portrayal of Eric Effiong in Sex Education, will be the first Black man to play the Doctor in the long-running BBC series, making the new announcement doubly historic. Fans have been clamoring for years for more diversity among the actors who play the Doctor, since the Doctor can regenerate into a new body whenever they’re badly injured.

So far, among the 13 actors who have played the Doctor in the show’s main recurring role—not counting an array of actors who have played the role in other capacities, which includes Jo Martin as the first Black woman in the role—12 have been men, all of them have been white, and none of them have ever been explicitly queer.

In the interview, Harris said that Gatwa is “Glorious … he’ll be the first gay Doctor, which is going to be super cool, a sexier Doctor.” Other queer characters in Doctor Who have included Captain Jack Harkness, companions Bill Potts and Yasmin Khan, and many characters in the Torchwood spinoff and various comics and novels.

Of his casting, Gatwa said back in May, “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. 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.”

(featured image: Netflix)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and covers film, television, and books for The Mary Sue. When she's not making yarn on her spinning wheel, she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.