Trans Actor Pete MacHale Joins Ncuti Gatwa in Upcoming “Doctor Who” Season

The upcoming season of Doctor Who seems to be getting queerer by the minute. In addition to casting the first Black series lead and first trans woman, the venerable series has cast its first ever trans man, actor Pete MacHale.

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine announced five new cast members in total, as reported by TV Zone. MacHale joins Bhav Joshi, Eilidh Loan, Miles Yekinni and Hemi Yeroham—though the exact nature of their roles has not yet been disclosed.

In addition to acting, MacHale is a writer and artist. According to his agent’s website, “His work looks at bodily autonomy (The man who came back), gender identity and loss (Father’s last face), and evoking horror (Pike county disturbance).”

In 2021, It’s A Sin and Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies took up the reins as showrunner for the latest iteration of Doctor Who. Ever since then, he’s been on a mission to bring the series up to date—and he doesn’t need time travel to do it.

Recently, he cast openly trans actor and Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney for a part in the anniversary special later this year. Her character, Rose, may or may not be the Doctor’s companion originated with Billie Piper.

Elaborating on why he was so taken with Finney, Davies said, “When you get into the casting room there’s only one question: can you act? And that’s where she stole the show. She was immediately right…to see someone commanding such attention – and let’s face it, such enmity – with grace and wit and a wonderful smile.”

Davies has also cast Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, making him the first Black actor to lead the series. According to Niel Patrick Harris, who will also appear in the new season, Gatwa may also be the first gay doctor. (With that said, it is unclear whether he meant the character or was making an assumption about Gatwa himself. Gatwa has played a gay character in the past but has never publicly labeled his sexuality.)

On casting Gatwa, Davies said, “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.”

The anniversary special this fall will introduce Gatwa as the next Time Lord. Following that, the new season of Doctor Who is expected to air in the first half of 2024.

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