The speculation and debate of a female Doctor has been going around for years now. But the last three seasons have made those, like me, who have been ever hopeful for a female doctor a bit more… well… hopeful. — Capaldi’s run saw two Timelords regenerate from male to female, making it more obvious in canon that a female Doctor is possible. And then, the series 10 finale gave what many of us thought was a massive hint to the gender of the Doctor’s next incarnation.
“Do as she says? Is the future going to be all girl?” John Simms’ Master had sneered. And the Doctor’s response?
“You can only hope.”
And I did hope. When it was announced over here in the UK that the identity of the Thirteenth Doctor would be revealed after the Wimbledon Men’s Final (I find a bit of hilarity in that) I watched with anticipation. To be honest, when it really comes down to it, all I ever want is an actor who will be able to portray the Doctor well. But at the same time, I wished said actor would be different to the usual white male we usually get. I wanted the BBC to make a change; female POC, WOC, I didn’t mind. I just wanted the mould to be broken.
Kris Marshall, a British male actor (and white) was the favourite to replace Capaldi for weeks with the highest odds (I would get into how much I didn’t want it to be him, but that’s kind of pointless now). But then, the night before the announcement, Jodie Whittaker jointed him as joint favourite and mine, and many other fans dreams seemed to be a very likely reality.
And then it did become a reality. The thirteenth Doctor pulled down the hood that hid her identity for most of the clip and revealed to us that she was indeed a Jodie. We got our first female Doctor in the history of the show! — I can’t tell you how much I squealed in delight. Nor how many people I text going “THE DOCTOR IS A WOMAN”.
So Who Is Jodie Whittaker and What Do Fans Think of Her?
Jodie is a British actress from Yorkshire (yes, we may just have another Northern Doctor).
She’s been in a lot of things over here in the UK. Her most notable roles, though are; Beverly in the two St. Trinian’s films, Samantha Adams in “Attack the Block,” and Fifon in “Black Mirror”. She also played the role of Beth Latimer in all three seasons of the crime drama Broadchurch, which was written by Doctor Who’s new showrunner Chris Chibnall.
On casting Jodie, Chris 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.”
Fan reaction to her casting has been mixed. But, that’s not all too different from whenever other actors have been cast to play the role. People criticised the casting of Matt Smith as Eleven because he was “too young”, criticised Capaldi because he was “too old”. But now people are criticising Jodie because she’s “not a man” and “the Doctor is inherently a man”. I won’t go into whether this is sexist or not, or how these fans are blatantly choosing to ignore the shows own canon (you can find all these rants and debates on my twitter). All I’m going to say is these things happen.
No, it’s not right to criticise someone being cast for a role that’s canonically genderfluid because of their gender. I wouldn’t say it’s right to criticise someone being cast for the same role because they’re too young or too old when the character they’ve been cast for has regenerative capabilities. But complaints like these always happen when someone new is cast. Most of the time, people get over it. They watch the actor debut on the show, and they’ve instantly grown on them. When Tennant was announced to replace Eccleston way back in 2005 I was furious… but he is now my favourite Doctor. I was unsure of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi… but they’re very high up on my ranking list. It just takes some getting used to. Possibly even more so for people who had never even thought of a female Doctor. It is something never seen before, and it will be interesting to see how it goes.
Of course, some are just critical of her being cast because they thought there are better actresses to be a female Doctor. And then there are fans, like me, who are thrilled. We wanted a female Doctor and we finally got one! It’s another first for the show and it’s exciting. Jodie is a brilliant actress, and I have a lot of faith that she’ll do an amazing job. But, while I’m not unsure of her like I was with Matt and Peter, I’ll still be waiting for her first episode to make a true decision on what I think of her incarnation, just like I did with them. I’m pretty confident this time around, but given we only have a 1-minute clip with no dialogue to go with, I don’t want to be too hasty.
Previous cast members, including Colin Baker, took to Twitter to show their support for Jodie, which was amazing.
And of course, Matt Lucas decided to make fun of all the people complaining simply because of her gender.
Welcome to the Doctor Who, Jodie. I can’t wait to see what adventures you take us on as the Doctor.
Johanna an avid writer and lifelong Doctor Who fan living in the UK. By day she is a student, studying Media and Film Production, and by night she fangirls about all things TV/Film related on Twitter and writes posts for a variety of blogs as well as her own lifestyle blog.