It’s finally happened! A woman will play the iconic role of the Doctor in the 11th series of Doctor Who as the BBC announced today (in the below video) that Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, Attack the Block) will regenerate into the role currently being exited by Peter Capaldi.



In a statement, Whittaker expressed her excitement for the role:

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey, with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet,” Whittaker said. “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.”

Incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall, who replaces the also-exiting Steven Moffat revealed that this historic change was always in the cards:

Chibnall said: “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.”

Whittaker is a tremendous talent and a great choice for the role, and has certainly spruced up my interest for the coming series. I’m sadly less enthused about the incoming showrunner himself, but my hopes remain high that he’ll work some of that first season Broadchurch magic moreso than any contribution he’s made to Doctor Who so far – which have been fairly anemic at best.

Regardless, this is a huge step forward for the British institution and a reason to celebrate.

Whittaker will made her debut at the end of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, entitled “The Doctors”, where Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor will meet the First Doctor, played by David Bradley (who also played William Hartnell, the original First Doctor, in the docudrama An Adventure in Space in Time).

30 COMMENTS

  1. I give it three years. That long, because the BBC won’t admit the thing’s a failure till it’s glaringly clear. And it will fail, because apart from a female Doctor being a rotten idea, in Chris Chibnall they’ve given the running of the show to a totally mediocre and derivative writer/producer. Doctor Who is tired and in need of a fresh approach; what it’s going to get is Ooh I’m A Girl Now over and over till all but the confirmed cranks have gotten sick of it.

  2. Meh. I suspect the number of people demanding this is a good bit lower than internet flacks believe, but the quality of the show is what matters and there’s no reason they can’t do a good show with a female lead…except if they haven’t thought through what that means.

    For example, companions in both the old and new shows were predominantly female. Is the Doctorette going to mostly have male companions? And the big thing that has always separated good companions from the rubish ones, especially since Sarah Jane, is the ability to stand up the The Doctor and be more than just a plot-convenient hostage. How’s that going to work with a female Doctor? I can just image the reaction if a young male companion were to rescue Ms. Who or has a good quarrel with her.

    Mike

  3. I don’t see a problem with this. Though he is humanoid the Dr. is not human and any race as advanced as the Time Lords are should have no problem with a gender switch.

  4. Given that she’s Rich Johnston’s cousin should we be expecting lots of Series 11 scoops over at Bleeding Cool?

  5. Well, I feel that it’s long overdue and certainly the last several seasons seemed to be setting up a female Doctor. As after they clearly established that a Time Lord could change genders, they made the Master a woman with Missy and she was absolutely fantastic.

    Michelle Gomez did such a great job with Missy and I found she did a better version of the Master than John Simm did in the few seasons before her.

    Regeneration and changing the actors and character was one of the things that kept Doctor Who fresh. New directions and new story possibilities. Keeping it the same way that it has always been done is just asking for Doctor Who to be eventually cancelled again.

  6. My cousin? And Brimstone, most Doctors were not middle aged when cast, only Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Capaldi would count. It has been established that Time Lords can change gender, and even race, when they regenerate. And just think – you could have had Kris Marshall.

  7. Brimstone, the age of the character has ranged from hundreds, then thousands of years old., through the lifetime of the show. It;s all down to the actor, and if you are happy with Peter Davison, Matt Smith and John Hurt playing middle aged, then Jodie Whittaker shouldn’t be a stretch.

  8. Brimstone, Matt Smith was 28 when he got the role, not middle aged. If you mean the character, the Doctor is 2,000 years old, from Gallifrey. The character has never been a middle aged Brit, unless you’re only counting the two Peter Cushing movies.

    Best of luck to Jodie Whittaker. I’ve no reservations about the casting and I’ve been watching it since 1963. I just hope she has good scripts!

  9. @Brimstone, the BBC has thoroughly tested this before making the final call. They’ll have made sure they were doing it for the right reasons. Your “established identity” doesn’t confer any expertise about maintaining a massive brand like Dr Who.

  10. @Joe S. Walker: “I give it three years. That long, because the BBC won’t admit the thing’s a failure till it’s glaringly clear.”

    What a coincidence, I give it three years too. Because that’s the average amount of time EVERY actor has spent in the role, you git.

    (Just over 3 series for Hartnell, just under 3 for Troughton, Pertwee 5, T Baker 7, Davison 3, C Baker 3, McCoy 3, round McGann’s single appearance down to 0, Eccleston 1, Tennant 4 including the year of TV movies, Smith 3, Capaldi 3. Mean: 3.17, median: 3, mode: 3.)

    @Brimstone: “I am *in* the entertainment industry and am an actor/entertainer and have met one of the actors who played a cyberman at a convention…”

    I’m hitting Poe’s Law pretty hard here. You’re joking, right? You can’t seriously be claiming that “I met an extra at a convention once” makes you an authority.

    “Doctor Who has always been presented as a british middle aged time traveller”

    Now I KNOW you’re trolling: claiming to be an expert while making a rookie mistake about the name of the main character on the show. You’re doing this on purpose.

    (FTR the First Doctor was definitely depicted as older than middle-aged, and River marveled at how young Ten was.)

    Anyhow, I suspect that Moffat knew that Thirteen was going to be a woman when he wrote the finale, given that (SPOILERS, but since the article already reveals the ending anyway…) it ends with Twelve ranting that he doesn’t want to change and One showing up to make fun of him for it.

  11. The motives were to tell a good story. Chris Chibnall doesn;t care about getting headlines or drumming up controversy. He cast her, because she is an actor he has worked with in the past and knows he can get the performance he wants out of her – just as Russel T Davies had with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. And he reckons there are some good stories to tell with this incarnation of the Doctor. There was no marketing team that made this decision, just one showrunner. This is the BBC.

  12. MBunge… your source is from 2013. And market testing… seriously. The BBC is notorious for it! They will have in subtle and overt ways tested the response to see what they got or didn’t. The notion that a single showrunner would get to make that call without input from the senior commissioning editors when it’s one of the BBC’s most lucrative properties is delusional.

    Sometimes overt surveys don’t really get the real story, whereas other market research and assessment helps you figure out the value of appealing to a female demographic, or more specifically a younger demographic than the ones moaning like they’ve had their favourite toy taken away.

  13. If a woman can be their king, then why can’t a woman be their Doctor?

    Besides… I think it’s past time for an American to play Doctor Who.

  14. I’m way behind on Capaldi… looking forward to catching up and only being slightly behind on Whittaker! It’ll be a while before I get to see her in the role, but in the meantime I’m enjoying all the bunched undies of petulant fanboys, be they complete civilians, or seasoned entertainment veterans who’ve actually met a cyberman.

  15. “And market testing… seriously. The BBC is notorious for it! ”

    Wait, either this is a decision made by one show-runner because he thought it would be a good idea OR it’s a carefully market-tested corporate move. Can we settle on one story and then debate that?

    Secondly, as someone who watched the BBC stand by and let John Nathan Turner spend YEARS destroying the original show and watched virtually the same process repeat itself with Star Trek (not to mention a million other examples of various network idiocy), I would caution against putting too much faith in the competence of anyone in television.

    Thirdly, I’m struck by a interesting dilemma. While I grew up with a non-sexual Doctor, haven’t all the new guys been pretty clearly defined as hetero? Is the new Doctor going to be a lesbian? How many people are going to be upset if she’s not? If she is, what message does that send to young homosexual viewers? After all, it works both ways. If the Doctor can become gay, why can’t they become straight?

    Mike

  16. Mike, it can be both. The showrunner can float the idea and then they test it. Or they’d been testing it for years already. I’ve said it’s never a purely artistic exercise, cause it isn’t when we’re talking millions of pounds and even more in international revenues.

    Since Captain Jack was bisexual, effectively, and since there’s no clear “gender” to the timelords (they aren’t human, so who says what’s a man or woman to them, or if they even have those distinctions), what’s to say 13 can’t hit it with a few guys, or be a lesbian. And why does the Dr have to have romantic dalliances anyway? The notion of an asexual being in the timestream is much more interesting to me.

  17. I am more offended by Brimstone typing the word ‘Bruh” than anything on this thread. As for The Doctor? Haven’t watched it since Matt Smith’s first season. Could care less. But, that ‘Bruh’ thing. Yeah, that’s killing me.

  18. Dear William Kucmierowski, It is not the saying of the term, ‘Bruh’ that I find offensive, it is the actual typing of the term. That’s the thing that bothers me. If you could stop that that would be great.

    Sincerely,

    Douglas Waltz

  19. “he is the father of comics and responsible for giving us what we have today in this industry… why wouldn’t I reference him so he can get some of the rightful credit he deserves?”. You’re right. People barely know who Stan Lee is these days.

    The best of luck to you, Kucmierowski. The comments section at the Beat wouldn’t be the same without you, so count me in as a sort of fan.

  20. No disrespect intented, I just forgot to add “mr.” No bravery involved either and if I had any “beef” with you I’d choose other words. Now it’s time for this keyboard commando coward to call it a day. Take care, celebrity.

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