It’s almost the end — for Peter Capaldi. But the moment has been prepared for …
Yes, the 13th Doctor is a woman, for the first time in the British sci-fi series’ 54-year history! Whittaker, 35, has starred as grieving young mother Beth Latimer (pictured) in Broadchurch, now just ending its third and final season, for incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall. She’s also appeared in Attack the Block, the St. Trinian’s series and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
Whittaker said in a BBC statement she is excited to begin her journey as the Doctor. She also said that the costume in the introduction video is not her Doctor’s final look, but she didn’t know what she’d be wearing yet.
“It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor,” she said. “It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”
Chibnall said his plan was always to cast a woman, and Whittaker was his first choice. “I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” he said. “Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.”
Doctor Who’s new Time Lord was introduced Sunday, July 16. The news broke just after Roger Federer’s record-breaking eighth win in the Wimbledon men’s singles final over Marin Cilic.
Capaldi welcomed his successor with warm words: “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.”
Capaldi is (sadly) leaving the role in the annual Christmas Day special, which will see his 12th Doctor meet “the original,” played by David Bradley.
The 12th Doctor suffered fatal injuries at the hands of the Cybermen in the 10th Season’s finale, “The Doctor Falls,” triggering the regeneration process that has kept the series and its main character reinventing themselves for nearly 65 years.
As the announcement video hints, it’s time for someone new to pick up the TARDIS key and go gallavanting around the galaxy (saving stupid old Earth many times along the way, of course).
After Christmas, a new series will be scheduled starring Whittaker and helmed by Chibnall, who is taking over the reins from Steven Moffat, who was only the second Doctor Who showrunner since the series returned to television in 2005. (It originally ran from 1963-89.)
A female Doctor at last! It’s definitely a big shift for the series, which has explored the idea of gender-swapped Time Lords in recent seasons with Missy, a new incarnation of the classic villain known as the Master. With the series’ penchant for bringing back familiar foes and allies, this will certainly create fresh opportunities to explore those relationships anew. Perhaps more important, the casting should allow new communities and generations of fans to see more of themselves in action as one of pop culture’s most unique heroic characters.
How do you feel about Jodie Whittaker being cast as the 13th Doctor?