Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith has recently discussed Ncuti Gatwa’s casting as the next Doctor, sharing his excitement for the future of Doctor Who. Smith portrayed the 11th numbered incarnation of the Time Lord from 2010 to 2013. The actor has currently been cast in the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.
Before being cast as Targaryan royalty, Smith rose to prominence with his portrayal of the Eleventh Doctor. Debuting in 2010 at the beginning of Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, Smith’s Doctor followed Tennant’s Tenth Doctor with an energetic portrayal of the Time Lord fitting for Moffat’s whimsical, fairytale approach. While Smith’s Doctor was eccentric and often playful, the Eleventh Doctor also carried a weariness that showed the characters’ age as he approached the potential end of his life. From restarting the universe, cheating death, and visiting his final stand, Smith’s incarnation stands as one of the series’ favorite Doctors. While Smith has teased a darker role in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, the actor recently reflected on the British sci-fi series, offering his own perspective on the next actor to take up the keys to the TARDIS.
When speaking to Variety during House of the Dragon‘s world premiere event, Smith praised Gatwa, who was revealed to be cast as the next Doctor in May 2022, revealing that he’d enjoyed the actor’s portrayal of Eric Effiong in Netflix’s Sex Education. The former Doctor stated that he feels that Gatwa possesses a certain quality that would fit the role of the Doctor, as well as praising returning showrunner Russell T. Davies’ understanding of the franchise. Smith concluded by stating that he looked forward to seeing Davies and Gatwa’s new era. Check out Smith’s comments below.
Gatwa’s casting was previously celebrated by actor Ryan Gosling, who wore an unofficial shirt featuring Gatwa’s likeness on the set of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, in which he stars alongside the next Doctor actor. In a televised interview in July following the unveiling of his shirt on Gatwa’s personal social media accounts, Gosling also emphasized his support for Gatwa, stating that his casting was one of the most exciting things about the series’ future due to him being the “coolest.” Davies would also respond to Gosling’s shirt, expressing his amazement at the item of clothing while joking he would now have to take legal action due to it being a piece of unlicensed merchandise.
While Smith previously stated he hasn’t been contacted about returning for Doctor Who‘s 60th-anniversary celebrations, it is clear that the actor cares greatly about the franchise. As such, Smith’s perspective on Gatwa’s casting is sure to be welcomed by longtime fans due to his own experience. As the Eleventh Doctor actor stated, Gatwa has shown through his portrayal of Eric in Sex Education that not only can he play a warm, energetic, enjoyable character, but also explore them in darker times when they’re grappling with an internal, deeply personal struggle, fully showing Gatwa’s impressive range as an actor when playing layered roles. When paired with the actor’s pre-established following from the Netflix series, Gatwa’s Doctor may bring new audiences to the long-running sci-fi series.
Next: Will Matt Smith Return For Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary?