We all suspected after countless hints, particularly in this season that the next Doctor could be a woman and all our hopes and dreams, have come true. Jodie Whittaker will be the Thirteenth Doctor, the first female to play the role in the shows 50+ year history. Many may know Whittaker from the ITV series Broadchurch in which she played Beth Latimer the grieving mother of the deceased Danny Latimer, which was created and co-written by Doctor Who’s next head show runner Chris Chibnall. It was interesting to see that rumours on Whittaker overtaking the role didn’t really come to prominence until at least 24 hours before the announcement was due to be made. Former ‘Death in Paradise’ star Kris Marshall was in the top spot for a while alongside other ‘Broadchurch’ cast member Olivia Coleman, who can also be seen in Matt Smith’s Pilot episode ‘The Eleventh Hour’. It seems as though Chibnall wanted to put his series in the hands of someone he knew he could trust and if Broadchurch is anything to go by, next series is looking very promising.
Whittaker, in my opinion, is a power house with fantastic range, a trait which is essential when playing a character with an extensive a history as the Doctor. She brought immense emotion and depth to the character of Beth Latimer and although she was essentially depressed throughout the entirety of the first season, her performance never got tiresome or clichéd and you felt the character grow all the way through till the end of the third series. Whittaker has also shown us her kooky side (where I first was introduced to her) in St. Trinian’s where she played the high as a kite receptionist Beverly. Other notable appearances include ‘Attack the Block’ and Ffion in the episode ‘The Entire History of You’ in Season 1 of ‘Black Mirror’. Whittaker’s Doctor could be the kind of woman you wanted to be best friends with and could easily convince you to go traveling throughout time and space but anger her and you better have a TARDIS of your own and hope that the universe is indeed as expansive as they say it is.
I am sad however that we may, not only not see Whittaker’s Doctor interact with Bill, but we won’t get see how she and Missy face off with each other. Now knowing the casting I can only imagine what epic scenes could’ve been. (Editor: more on this in a later article).
It’s only been a few hours from the announcement and already the conversation has been fascinating to follow. Of course, there are some upset by the change; some have called it political correctness gone mad but just as many, and perhaps even more, are excited by change. Such a simple change has sparked an incredible emotional response like parents being excited that their little girls can dress up to be exactly like the Doctor. Some people are even calling Whittaker’s casting to be a reason to start watching the show again. It seems like Doctor Who has entered itself into a debate bigger than itself on identity, gender, and political correctness but all we can hope for is that amongst the politics we can all still enjoy some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.
So we have the Doctor but no news yet on who is to be the next companion. With almost all the main companions being female it’ll be interesting to see if Chibnall decides to cast a non-female companion in line with his big shake up of next series or keeps the tradition going, treating us to a completely female lead Doctor Who series, which sounds just as exciting. From Capaldi’s grandfatherly figure we might return back to the best friend relationship between the Doctor and companion as we saw with Amy Pond and Donna Noble. With many of the motherly roles being fulfilled by the various mother’s of the companions, it’ll also be fun to explore that relationship within the TARDIS itself and explore emotional depths we’ve only before seen glimpses of.
Needless to say, I’m excited and it looks like we’ll just have to be content with various fan fiction stories until Christmas comes along and we can see what Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall have to offer.