July 4, 2022

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Doctor Who: Lenny Henry is proud of Nakuti Gatawa’s casting as Time Lord

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Lenny Henry and Friends Gatwa

Sir Lenny Henry believes showrunner Russell T Davies made the right choice (Picture: PA/REX)

Sir Lenny Henry showed his support for Nakuti Gatawa when it was confirmed that he would be the next Doctor Who, claiming that ‘Black fans’ have been waiting a long time for this moment.

Social media went into meltdown with many fans sending their love for the Sex Education actor, who has made history as the first black actor to portray the beloved character.

The exciting announcement was teased by returning Doctor Who showrunners Russell T. Davis and Nakuti to Instagram, featuring two heart emoji, a plus symbol, and a blue square.

The co-founder of The Comic Relief, 63, who reprized the role 37 years ago for The Lenny Henry Show, is confident the casting of Nakuti as the Time Lord will make a big impact in the black community.

“Many black fans have been looking at our watches for a while,” he said.

‘More power to Russell T Davies,’ he added Radio Times,

Lenny Henry, Jodie Whitaker, Mandeep Gill and Bradley Walsh attend the Doctor Who photocall at BFI Southbank, London.

Sir Lenny played a titular role on his show in 1985 (Picture: PA)
It was recently confirmed that Ncuti will play the beloved – which is set to air in 2023 (Picture: REX)

The BBC One series has taken steps towards more inclusivity in recent years, with Jodie being the first woman to play the Time Lord. However, Russell insisted on casting 29-year-old Nakuti in the role. Initially it was not because of the color of his skin.

“Just the best actor walked into the room,” the showrunner told reporters at the BAFTAs on Sunday.

He added: ‘I know it all comes with it. I guess if you’re six, you don’t mind. And that’s really the fundamental reason for me.

‘Cause I saw it when I was six, I’m making it here. So now six year olds watching it will make it in 50 years time.

“Having said that, I think once cast, those things are very important. I think diversity and representation are very important.

On the BAFTAs red carpet, Ncuti shared how ’emotional’ it was, relieved she no longer had to keep it a secret.

He said, ‘I woke up crying, and then I was dancing,’ but I’m glad it’s finally over and I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore, because I’m terrible.

“There are no words to describe how I feel,” Gatwa said of his new role. ‘A mix of deep respect, beyond excited and certainly a little intimidated.

“This role and show means so much to so many people around the world, myself included, and each of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care.

‘I will do my best to make that happen.’

He continued: ‘Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the doctor himself and to be able to work with him is like a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and full of danger.’

Doctor Who will return to BBC One this autumn.

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