Doctor Who: Matt Smith Praises Ncuti Gatwa as "Sensational" Casting

When Doctor Who enters its upcoming 60th anniversary season it will enter a new era with Ncuti Gatwa as the Fourteenth Doctor. The actor, best known for playing Eric Effiong in Sex Education, was announced in the role earlier this year and while Gatwa hasn't yet taken his place as the next Time Lord, he's already earning the praise of those who have come before him — including the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith. Speaking with Variety at the House of the Dragon premiere recently, Smith called Gatwa's casting "sensational" and praised the actor's previous work.

"I think it's the most sensational bit of casting," Smith said. "What an actor — he's brilliant in Sex Education. I think he's got something 'other' that that part really needs."

Smith also said that he is excited to see where showrunner Russell T. Davis takes the iconic series next.

"I think Russell has such a sense of the show as well, and I'm really, really excited to see where Doctor Who is going," Smith, who played The Doctor from 2010 to 2013 said. "I love Doctor Who. It's forever in my heart."

Gatwa will take on the role of the Fourteenth Doctor when Jodie Whittaker's time as the Thirteenth Doctor comes to an end in Doctor Who's BBC Centenary Special this fall.

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"There aren't quite the words to describe how I'm feeling," Gatwa said in a press release when his casting was announced. "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 upmost to do the same.  Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor's metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it's daunting, I'm aware I'm joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I am giving it all to this show."

The 60th anniversary season of Doctor Who won't air until 2023. The upcoming Doctor Who BBC Centenary Special will debut this fall.