The doctor is in, and, by the way, she is a woman. After over 50 years, the actor to take on the enormous lead role of the Doctor on the BBC’s Doctor Who will be a female actress. Jodie Whittaker will begin her role as the 13th Doctor after the 2017 Christmas special.
According to Reuter’s, “The Doctor, who travels through time in what from the outside appears to be a blue police telephone box, has the ability to regenerate, allowing a number of actors to play the role since the series was first broadcast in 1963.”
This time around, when the doctor regenerates, a woman will be the person walking out of the telephone box. For a while now, fans and critics have been urging the idea for the Doctor to finally be a woman.
Chris Chibnall, head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, said, “I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice…Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role.”
When speaking on her new role, Whittaker said to BBC, “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.”
Even fellow actor Peter Capaldi, the show’s 12th Doctor and the one being replaced by Whittaker, has high hopes for her on the show, according to Hollywood Reporter. “I think Jodie is going to be amazing…she’s so full of excitement and passion about the show. It’s thrilling to know it’s in the hands of someone who cares for it deeply and is so excited about it. So she’s a great choice for it.”
Although there has been some speculation about backlash towards Whittaker and the show for casting a female Doctor, Steven Moffat, writer and showrunner, was quick to shut down those rumors and show his support for the actress.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Moffat said in a panel at Comic-Con, “There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionally conservative Doctor Who fandom has utterly embraced that change completely…So many people wanting to pretend there is a problem. There isn’t. It’s been incredibly progressive and enlightened and that’s what really happened.”
In fact, according to TIME, many fans of the show are very excited about the female lead, stating things like “about time” and “GOOD time to be a fan” on social media.
For the people evidently suggesting that there is a problem with a woman taking on the beloved role, Whittaker had some choice words about wanting fans of the show “‘not to be scared’ by her gender,” according to Reuters.
“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,” she said.
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