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What Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor Who casting means for Sex Education

With Ncuti Gatwa receiving the keys to the TARDIS, there's a big question mark over the future of his breakout show Sex Education.

Ncuti Gatwa, Sex Education
Published: Thursday, 19th May 2022 at 2:31 pm
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May is proving to be an exciting month for Ncuti Gatwa, who the BBC announced as the next actor to play the titular role in Doctor Who on the day of the TV BAFTAs.

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Unsurprisingly, the reaction to this casting news was overwhelmingly positive. Gatwa has already won the public over with his performance as Eric Effiong in Netflix's Sex Education, a role which has earned the 29-year-old three BAFTA nominations, and with Gatwa playing the Doctor and appearing in Greta Gerwig's upcoming Barbie film, he's on track to become a household name (if he wasn't already).

With Gatwa's schedule about to be blocked out by long stretches of filming, press interviews and everything else that comes with playing the Doctor, we can't help but wonder: what will happen to Sex Education?

The hugely popular Netflix series aired its third season in September and is set to return for a fourth later this year – but with Gatwa taking on the mammoth undertaking that is Doctor Who, does this mean Eric Effiong could be written out of the show?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies attend the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2022 at The Royal Festival Hall on May 8, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Ncuti Gatwa and incoming Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies Dave Benett/Getty Images)

While Netflix declined to comment, fans of the comedy-drama needn't fret. With Gatwa's Eric being one of the key characters at the centre of the show thanks to his complicated relationship with Adam Groff (Connor Swindells), his heartwarming friendship with Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his ongoing journey to self-discovery, Sex Education would be losing a large part of its identity if Eric were to suddenly disappear.

RadioTimes.com also understands that Sex Education season 4 filming is planned to take place in between Doctor Who filming blocks this summer – so production clashes between the two shows are unlikely to happen.

With this in mind, it's safe to say that season 4 of Sex Education will be going ahead as usual, with the show following Otis, Eric and Maeve (Emma Mackey) as they navigate the final years of their studies – although with Maeve moving to America and Moordale closing down in the season 3 finale, it's unknown how and when the gang will be reuniting.

Speaking of making it big in the States, Gatwa isn't the only Sex Education star whose career is on the rise. Simone Ashley announced last month that she wouldn't be returning to the show after starring as Kate Sharma in Bridgerton, while Emma Mackey has headed to Hollywood, with Sir Kenneth Branagh's Death on the Nile already under her belt and main roles in the Barbie movie and an Emily Bronte biopic lined up.

Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) in Sex Education season 3
Ncuti Gatwa as Eric in Sex Education Sam Taylor/Netflix

As the cast of Sex Education become even busier, the making of Sex Education is going to prove even more difficult – so it's likely that season 4 is going to be the show's last outing.

This wouldn't come as a huge surprise given that the show's characters are now approaching their final year at school and that Aimee Lou Wood – who plays Aimee Gibbs – previously told RadioTimes.com that the comedy-drama is "closer now to ending".

"There's also a part of me that's like, 'No – we've all got to go and do different things and play different parts,'" she said. "We can't be like 50 saying, 'Freshers week!' So it's a weird one. It's a bittersweet thing because it probably is, even if it's not this series, it probably is closer now to ending than it is to the start."

Meanwhile, Asa Butterfield told Cosmopolitan UK in September last year: "We’ve been doing it for three years now, and I’d be happy saying goodbye to these characters."

While we'll be sad to see Sex Education come to an end (if it does conclude with season 4), there's a lot to look forward to from the ever-growing world of entertainment.

The Doctor is about to regenerate into Ncuti Gatwa, while Russell T Davies is returning as showrunner, bringing David Tennant and Catherine Tate with him and introducing Yasmin Finney – the first transgender actor to play a lead role – as a new 'Rose'.

Doctor Who is about to take on a whole new legion of fans and welcome back old ones who've been missing the Tenth Doctor, while the Sex Education alumni are taking on brand new roles in upcoming projects.

But you never know – Netflix may treat us to a Sex Education spin-off in the future. Perhaps we'll follow Otis to uni? Or watch Aimee as she sets up her own bakery? Either way, I think we can expect Sex Education to go out with a (literal) bang whenever that time comes.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer, while Sex Education seasons 1-3 are on Netflix. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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