The BBC has officially announced that Rwandan-born Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa will be the new Doctor Who, following the departure of Jodie Whittaker later this year.

While some are likely to cry, ‘Who?’, fans of the Nexflix teen-comedy series Sex Education will know him as Eric, the best friend of protagonist Otis (Asa Butterfield), a role that has brought Gatwa acclaim and several BAFTA nominations.

Having landed one of the most recognisable roles on TV, Gatwa won’t be an unknown for long – let’s not forget that David Tennant and Matt Smith weren’t exactly household names when they were cast – and the 29-year-old is set to bring his youthful energy to the TARDIS as the 14th Doctor.

“There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling,” said Gatwa in a statement. “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 utmost to do the same.”

Ncuti Gatwa and Asa Butterfield in Sex Education

With showrunner Russell T Davies (who guided the series return in 2005) replacing Chris Chibnall at the helm for the show’s 14th season, Doctor Who is poised for an exciting new era going forward.

“Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true,” said Gatwa. “His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground. The entire team has 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.”

Jodie Whittaker’s final story will be broadcast in the British autumn of this year as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations, with Gatwa’s first season as the Doctor to follow in 2023.

“The future is here and it’s Ncuti!” said 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. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”

Doctor Who at JB Hi-Fi