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Doctor Who’s Ncuti Gatwa & Russell T. Davies Address Racist & Homophobic Backlash


Doctor Who's Ncuti Gatwa & Russell T. Davies Address Racist & Homophobic Backlash


Summary

  • Doctor Who
    star Ncuti Gatwa speaks out against racist and homophobic backlash in the wake of his casting as the Fifteenth Doctor.
  • Gatwa emphasizes that
    Doctor Who
    is about regeneration and an alien entity, not limited to a specific race or sexuality for the main character.
  • Russell T. Davies adds that, to him, The Doctor “chimes with queer energy.”



Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa has addressed the backlash towards his casting as the Fifteenth Doctor in the long-running BBC sci-fi series. Gatwa recently took over from David Tennant, who has appeared twice as the iconic Time Lord, first as the 10th Doctor in 2006, and then reprized the role in 2022, replacing Jodie Whittaker. However, Gatwa’s casting as The Doctor was met with racist and homophobic abuse from bigoted fans.


Speaking to Variety, Ncuti Gatwa discussed the hateful comments towards his casting as The Doctor. Gatwa is the first Black, openly queer actor to take on the role. The actor said that fans who are fixated on his race and sexuality are missing the point.

“I feel like anyone that has a problem with someone who’s not a straight white man playing this character, you’re not really, truly a fan of the show. You’ve not been watching! Because the show is about regeneration, and the Doctor is an alien — why would they only choose to be this sort of person?”

Fans are excited about seeing Russell T. Davies, who helped bring back Doctor Who for a modern audience in 2005, make a comeback. However, the groups that are targeting Gatwa because of his ethnicity and sexuality are ignoring that Davies has been a long-time supporter and creator of inclusive storytelling on TV. Inbetween working on Doctor Who, Davies has also created, written, and produced iconic LGBTQ+ shows like It’s a Sin, and Queer as Folk. Russell T. Davies appeared alongside Gatwa in the interview and built on the actor’s comment, saying:


“They weren’t exactly the straightest men in the past. You’re talking about someone who does have a lightness and a joy about him that, to me, chimes with queer energy. It’s very rarely driving the story vehemently, but you will see moments exploring it. We’re not delivering a neutered Doctor.”

After making his debut in a three-episode special alongside David Tennant, Ncuti Gatwa took center stage as The Doctor in 2023’s Christmas Special episode, ‘The Church on Ruby Road’. Alongside Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday (the companion to Gatwa’s Doctor), Ncuti Gatwa will return as The Doctor in the upcoming 14th Season, which debuts on May 11.


Science Fiction Has Always Been a Progressive Genre


Sadly, racist and homophobic abuse and backlash is nothing new in the world of film and TV in 2024. Toxically defensive fans frequently criticize every aspect of an upcoming project’s casting, and ethnicity and sexuality are two elements that get attacked the most. While this happens across the board in the industry – and even in the world of stage theater, with Tom Holland’s new Romeo + Juliet being an unfortunate target – it is especially prevalent in the science fiction genre.

Related

Ncuti Gatwa Really Wants to Fight a Dalek in Doctor Who But It Might Not Happen

The new Time Lord also reveals that he was confused as to how he should play The Doctor and that things didn’t become real until he saw the TARDIS.


John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran were mercilessly bullied and abused online by fans who took issue with their casting in the Star Wars sequels. The same happened to Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh when they were cast in Star Trek: Discovery. The backlash is as equally sad and short-sighted as it is ironic as science fiction has always been a progressive genre. Classic sci-fi literature from the genre’s golden age introduced audiences to progressive ideas. Star Trek: The Original Series was groundbreaking when it debuted in 1966, featuring a gay, Asian-American actor, and an African-American actress in the show’s main cast, which was unheard of at the time.

Doctor Who
season 14 premieres on May 11. Past episodes are available to stream on Max.

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