Ncuti Gatwa Reveals Personal Story Behind His New Look For Doctor Who

It was a "liberating" moment for the former Sex Education star.
Ncuti Gatwa at the Oscars last month
Ncuti Gatwa at the Oscars last month
Gilbert Flores via Getty Images

Ncuti Gatwa underwent a bit of a reinvention for his new role in Doctor Who (even down to his facial hair) – and it was all for a very personal reason.

The Bafta-nominated actor is taking over as the 15th Doctor in the much-loved BBC sci-fi show next month, following his debut in last year’s Christmas special, alongside companion new Millie Gibson.

In teaser photos from the first episode, the Barbie star can be seen rocking new facial hair to play the Doctor, which he’s since insisted he very much intends to keep.

Having wrapped up his role on Sex Education – in which he played fresh-faced teenager Eric Effiong – not long before taking over at the helm of the Tardis, Ncuti has shared that he saw Doctor Who as a chance to grow up on screen.

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in Doctor Who
Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in Doctor Who
James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

In a new interview with Radio Times, Ncuti reflected on the short period when filming for both shows overlapped, which made things a bit tricky at times.

“Initially, there was a conversation about keeping me clean-shaven for Doctor Who,” he recalled.

“But I’d spent the last four years playing a child, at the age of 30, so I said, ‘Let me have my moustache back’.”

As it turns out, he had a little help from the make-up department in what he playfully described as a “bag of pubes”, which they would stick to his face every morning for two months.

Ncuti Gatwa on the set of Sex Education season one
Ncuti Gatwa on the set of Sex Education season one
Sam Taylor/Netflix

They even had to trim and tidy up Ncuti’s ’tache in between takes when it would fall out of place during filming.

“As they flap off in the wind. I’m chasing a monster and the director says, ‘We’ll have to go again because his moustache is half off’,” he revealed, adding that when his real moustache finally grew back, he “felt very liberated”.

After reports in the tabloid press that Millie would not be returning when the upcoming series ends, creators have since revealed that Varada Sethu will be joining as another companion for the doctor, rather than a replacement.

Read Ncuti Gatwa’s interview in full in the new issue of Radio Times, on newsstands now.


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