“Doctor Who” – BBC Announces Jodie Whittaker as the First Female Doctor; Former Cast React

Watch the Announcement Video of Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor

Jul 16, 2017 Bookmark and Share


As they said they would, the BBC announced after the Wimbledon Men's Final who would be taking over the iconic role of The Doctor on Doctor Who and as some hoped would be the case, it will be the first female Doctor, British actress Jodie Whittaker will be taking over the role. She is best known for playing Beth Latimer for three seasons on Broadchurch. Other notable credits include "The Entire History of You" episode of Black Mirror and the film Attack the Block, among others. Below is the first teaser trailer/announcement video, as well as quotes from various Doctor Who-related people and the text of an interview with Whittaker the BBC has released.

Peter Capaldi took over as time- and space-traveling alien The Doctor in 2013, but he previously announced that his recently completed third season in the iconic role will be his last. He is expected to regenerate into Whittaker, the Thirteenth Doctor, during this year's Christmas special.

There had been speculation that the Doctor would switch genders this time and become a woman. It had already been established that Time Lords can do this, with The Doctor's adversary The Master becoming Missy. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star and creator of Amazon's Fleabag, had been mentioned as a potential female Doctor (although her representatives had denied this to be the case), as had fellow Broadchurch star Olivia Coleman and even Tilda Swinton.

Doctor Who first aired in 1963. The writers worked out a clever way to keep going when its original lead actor, William Hartnell, needed to leave the show in 1966-as The Doctor is an alien, instead of dying, when he is mortally wounded he "regenerates" into a new body and personality, allowing them to cast a new actor every few years while retaining the same continuity. Whittaker is the thirteenth actor to play the role (if you don't count John Hurt's the War Doctor and the fact that the First Doctor has been played by two other actors since Hartnell's death) and the fifth one since the show came back in 2005 after a 19-year break from the screen. It's not a huge surprise that Capaldi is leaving, as the previous Doctor, Matt Smith, also lasted three seasons.

This was also Steven Moffat's final season as the showrunner and head writer on Doctor Who. His replacement will be Chris Chibnall, who has already written several episodes of Doctor Who and its spinoff series Torchwood and is also known for creating and writing the acclaimed British detective drama Broadchurch (which stars David Tennant, who used to star as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who). Chibnall obviously was instrumental in bringing Broadchurch's Whittaker on board.

Jodie Whittaker had this to say in a press release: "I'm beyond excited to begin this epic journey - with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It's more than an honor 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."

Chris Chibnall had this to say: "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."

Peter Capaldi says: "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 BBC also released the text of this interview with Whittaker:

"13 Need to know answers to questions about the new Doctor Who

1) What does it feel like to be the Thirteenth Doctor?

It's very nerve-racking, as it's been so secret!

2) Why did you want the role?

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.

3) Has it been hard to keep the secret?

Yes. Very hard! I've told a lot of lies! I've embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced!

4) Who was the first person you told when you got the role?

My husband. Because I was allowed to!

5) Did you have a codename and if so what was it?

In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney. Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought: what's a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.

6) What does it feel like to be the first woman Doctor? 

It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you're told you can and can't be. It feels incredible.

7) What do you want to tell the fans?

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.

8) What are you most excited about?

I'm most excited about becoming part of a family I didn't even know existed. I was born in 1982, it's been around longer than me, and it's a family I couldn't ever have dreamed I'd be part of.

9) How did Chris sell you the part?

We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.

It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I'd take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would've got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference!

10) Did he persuade you?

No. There was no persuasion needed. If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you're not right for this part, and the part isn't right for you. I also think, for anyone taking this on, you have to want to fight for it, which I certainly had to do. I know there will have been some phenomenal actors who threw their hats in the ring.

11) What are you going to wear?

Don't know yet.

12) Is that your costume in the filmed sequence which introduced you as the new Doctor?

No.

13) Have any of the other Doctors given you advice? 

Well they can't because they haven't known until now, but I'm certainly expecting a couple of calls - I've got a couple of mates in there. I'm mates with a companion [Arthur Darvill], I'm mates with a trio of Doctors. I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let's throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I'm hoping I get some calls of advice."

Former and current Doctor Who actors have reacted on Twitter, including former companions (Arthur Darvill, Freema Agyeman, Billie Piper, Karen Gillan, John Barrowman), current companions (Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas), and former Doctors (Fifth Doctor: Peter Davinson, Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker, Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy). Read them all below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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