“You deserve love just for existing"— Ncuti Gatwa addresses backlash over Doctor Who casting

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Ncuti Gatwa speaks on the racism he faced after he was cast as the lead doctor in Doctor Who: More details explored. (Image via Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Ncuti Gatwa, the new Doctor Who, recently addressed the backlash for his casting as the show’s first black lead. He spoke to Attitude Magazine about “the hate” and “white mediocrity” and talked about how hard it gets for black actors to get recognition as compared to their white colleagues.

When asked if he saw the social media reactions to his casting as the first black Doctor, he said,

“I got a brief glimpse of it in initial casting, but it’s not something I’ll avidly keep up on. The hate? It is kind of fascinating to me because there’s so much energy they’re putting into it. You are so angry over something so inconsequential that you can’t be an interesting person. You can’t have much in your life. I don’t have the time to do that. And so, I think they need to go find a hobby is one thing.”

Ncuti Gatwa also spoke up about how he thinks that black people have to be “absolutely flawless” to get half of the fame that white actors get.

“There’s so much white mediocrity that gets celebrated and Black people, we have to be absolutely flawless to get half of that anyway. So, I’m slowly training myself out of that and being like, ‘No sh*t. You deserve love just for existing.’ And that has taught me to be a lot more loving as well, in a weird way.”

Ncuti Gatwa's interview came in light of the racist remarks he received after he was cast as the new lead of Doctor Who in December 2023.

“Black excellence - What the hell?”— More details revealed about Doctor Who as Ncuti Gatwa addresses backlash

After the makers of Doctor Who announced that Ncuti would be the 15th doctor of the show, many social media users shared their opinions about the actor and the series. The racist remarks moved Ncuti Gatwa, who spoke to Attitude Magazine and talked about “black excellence.”

“We’re trained to be like, ‘If I’m not exceptional, I won’t be loved.’ Certainly, I think that was my thing, So, yeah, I think I’m just learning now like, ‘Oh, you are allowed to be loved.’ You don’t have to be excellent or aspire to that term, ‘Black excellence’. What the hell?”

He added that his casting is part of the change in the entertainment industry in terms of diversity.

“But another thing is that we do see a shift happening in casting, in positions of power and in the status quo. I mean, not a fast shift, things could tip over the other way a little bit quicker, but you see people kind of malfunctioning because things are changing.”

During the interview, he also talked about Jo Martin’s performance, as she was also cast as the first black performer as a doctor in the show. He concluded the interview by revealing that after the backlash, the show will also be touching on the race factor in the upcoming episodes.


Doctor Who, a British series, began airing in 1963, and ran for 26 seasons until 1989. It then paused for nearly two decades, until it began again in 2005. Since then, it has telecasted more than 13 seasons. So far, the show has aired 875 episodes. Apart from Ncuti Gatwa, other actors like Jodie Whittaker, Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, and Paul McGann have been the doctors in the show.

Gatwa’s first season as the lead doctor will be telecasted on May 11, 2024.

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