Gatwa was born in 1992 and at 29 is one of the youngest actors to play the role, alongside Peter Davison, who was also 29 when he was cast in 1981, and Matt Smith, who was 27 when he took on the role in 2010. Gatwa was born in Nyarugenge, Kigali in Rwanda and was raised in Scotland.
Gatwa will be the first actor not born in the United Kingdom to play the role. He also becomes the fourth actor raised in Scotland (after Sylvester McCoy, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi) to play the role. He is the second black actor to play the role, after Jo Martin who debuted as the "Fugitive Doctor" in 2020, but will be the first to play the role full-time.
Gatwa graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow with a BA in Acting in 2013 and has appeared in TV shows such as Bob Servant, Stonemouth and the forthcoming Masters of the Air. He has also acted extensively on stage. His best-known role to date was playing Eric Effiong on the Netflix series Sex Eduction.
It assumed that Gatwa will be playing the Fourteenth Doctor and will presumably debut in the BBC Centenary Special, expected to air in October this year, when Jodie Whittaker leaves the role. Russell T. Davies, who previously ran the show from 2005 to 2010, is returning to helm the next season, which is expected to begin with the show's 60th Anniversary Special in November 2023. Shooting is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks
According to Davies, "sometimes talent walks through the door and it's so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars." Gatwa has said he is, "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."