“Doctor Who” Makes History with Jodie Whittaker as First Female Doctor
BBC’s beloved science-fiction action series Doctor Who made history over the weekend when it announced that, for the first time since the show first aired over five decades ago, the lead actor playing the Doctor would be a woman.
Doctor Who centers on a Time Lord, the title character, meeting danger and adventure as the Doctor and companions travel through space in his TARDIS (spaceship.)
As the show has been running for so long it has become the norm that every few years the actor playing the Doctor will leave the show and the character will “regenerate” into a new body as a fresh actor takes over the role.
Speculation has been rampant since Peter Capaldi, the actor who most recently played the Doctor, announced in January this year that he would be leaving the show. Capaldi’s exit is accompanied by showrunner Steven Moffatt, who will hand over the reins of the new season to Chris Chibnall.
Actress Jodi Whittaker will take over the lead role from Peter Capaldi, who has played the 12th Doctor for three seasons, meaning Whittaker will play the 13th reincarnation of iconic character.
During the 2017 Christmas special it is expected that Capaldi’s 12th Doctor will regenerate into Whittaker’s 13th Doctor before she takes over the role full time starting in the 2018 season.
See also: 2017 Emmy Nominations lean towards Feminism.
David Bradley will also star in the Christmas special as the First Doctor (originated by William Hartnell in the 1960s), creating a rare occasion where three Doctors will all appear in the same episode.
In the few months before Sunday’s announcement, various high profile names circulated the rumor-mill as possible options to take over the Doctor’s TARDIS, including the likes of Tilda Swinton and Emma Thompson.
As usual, there was much controversy on Twitter from those prejudiced against the idea of a woman playing the cherished title role in a show that has become a XXX for both British and nerd culture in the fifty-plus years it has been airing.
It is a momentous occasion to have a woman taking over the lead role in such a popularly viewed show, in comparison to the past when women have often been sidelined into playing the Doctor’s companion or to put it another way, sidekick, assistant, helping hand, romantic interest, etc.
In a statement to the BBC, Whittaker said, “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.”
Jodie Whittaker is an actress best known for her role as grieving mother in the ITV crime drama Broadchurch, the first two seasons of which are currently streaming on Netflix as the third and final season is currently airing on BBC America.
On Broadchurch Whittaker worked with past Doctor Who stars David Tennant, who is a fan-favorite for playing the 10th Doctor, and Arthur Darvill who played one of the 11th Doctor’s companions.
Congratulations flowed in on Twitter as the BBC made history by casting Whittaker in the lead role, not just from average fans of the show but members of British Parliament as well.
“Yes Jodie.” Said Darvill on Twitter, in a short congratulations to his former costar.
David Lammy, a British politician for the liberal Labour party, tweeted, “Congrats Jodie Whittaker. A wonderful actress who will inspire millions of young women (and show them that they can save the world too)”
Lammy’s words sum up the news of a woman taking over an iconic role extremely well.
For the first time in over fifty years, fans of the show all over the world will get to see a woman saving the world in her own right as the Doctor. A concept that is groundbreaking for many reasons, but it is especially exciting that this is a sci-fi show (a genre usually stereotyped as masculine) that will be changing the perspectives of millions of viewers in just a few months.
This is huge news that will surely inspire and gratify female fans of the show in all corners of the world, and that bodes well for the future of women’s roles in television. Perhaps Whittaker’s Doctor will take this opportunity to travel forward in time and prove that the future is indeed female.
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