If you’ve been living under a rock, Doctor Who fans around the world have finally met the Thirteenth Doctor: Jodie Whittaker! In the 50 years since the sci-fi time-travelling show Doctor Who began, this is the first time that fans will have a female Doctor.
Time Ladies on Doctor Who
We are the most civilized civilization in the universe. We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes. (World Enough and Time – Doctor Who, Series 10)
The show first introduced a Time Lady named Romana (first played by Mary Tamm) way back in 1978. She was a companion during the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) run. However, back in 2014, the episode Dark Water from Series 8 of the show revealed that we’ve had another Time Lady in our midst all along. Missy (portrayed by Michelle Gomez), was initially introduced as a mysterious character who oversaw a strange place she called “Heaven.”
In the penultimate episode of Doctor Who Series 8, the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is shocked when Missy reveals that her name is short for “the Mistress.” Missy confirms that she is the Master’s first female regeneration.
Chibnall Takes the Reins from Moffat
Aside from Whittaker, the show is also welcoming a new head writer and executive producer, Chris Chibnall. Chibnall will be replacing Steven Moffat. Both Whittaker and Chibnall have worked on the latter’s show Broadchurch. The actress expressed her eagerness to start working on Doctor Who:
I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.
Chibnall echoed Whittaker’s excitement:
After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.
I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.
Capaldi, who is exiting the show in the upcoming Christmas special The Doctors, had nothing but kind words for the newest Time Lady:
Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.
The Master: Is the future going to be all girl?
The Doctor: We can only hope. (The Doctor Falls, Series 10)
Like any fandom, we have our share of both positive and negative reactions. It looks like Doctor Who fans are somehow split about the announcement. Some have even expressed anger at the introduction of a female Doctor. (Pretty ironic for a show centered on change, isn’t it?)
Some fans are excited to see the upcoming episodes featuring Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. Others have claimed that they will stop watching the show altogether. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but personally, I can’t wait to see Whittaker’s take on this iconic role.
According to a poll by the RadioTimes, out of 12,000 participants, only 1,978 voters think making the Doctor female is a “terrible” decision. Meanwhile, 40% of the participants believe that Whittaker is going to be a “fantastic” Doctor. At least 43% of the voters want to wait until her first episode before they make any conclusions.
Whittaker Reassures Fans
In Whittaker’s first official interview about being cast as the Thirteenth Doctor, she talked about her reason for wanting the role. The actress shared:
To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.
When asked what she wanted to tell fans of the show, Whittaker reassured them that her gender is nothing to be afraid of:
I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.
Whittaker has previously starred in the movies Venus, Attack the Block, and Adult Life Skills. She was also in TV shows such as Black Mirror and The Assets. The actress will be portraying the Thirteenth Doctor in the upcoming Christmas special for Doctor Who.
Check out this video that first revealed Jodie Whittaker as the newest Doctor: