The next star of Doctor Who has finally been announced – and the person stepping into the role of the wandering Time Lord is Jodie Whittaker.
She is the first woman to take on the role, playing the 13th Doctor in the drama. Whittaker, who rose to fame in crime drama Broadchurch, had been tipped as one of the contenders.
Debate has been intense over who would play the Doctor ever since Peter Capaldi announced in January that he was leaving the show.
Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s new head writer and executive producer, said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.
“I always knew I wanted the 13th 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 13th Doctor is on her way.”
“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet,” said Whittaker. “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.”
“I am very excited about this. As soon as I saw Jodie Whittaker appear on the video in the BBC clip announcing her, it just felt right – she just felt like the Doctor,” Emily Cook, editorial assistant at Doctor Who magazine, said. “Having a female Doctor is really exciting and significant. I cannot wait to see what she does with the role and where she takes the show.
“She will bring a freshness. She is younger than Peter Capaldi and, being a woman, she will have a different approach to the role. It’s completely new territory for the show and that is very exciting.”
Erica Lear, the social secretary at the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, said: “I think it’s very brave but she is a brilliant actress. I did not expect it but I think it’s brilliant. My only wish was that we have a good actor and that is what we have.”
But Lear noted that the appointment might divide opinion. “It will spark debate and split fandom; there will be lots of people not happy with the decision but it’s up to the new series to change their mind.”
“Today’s announcement has been a shock for many fans,” Sebastian J Brook, site editor at Doctor Who Online, said. “But this is a show about change, and perhaps now is the time that we all get behind the idea of a female Doctor?”
Brook added: “I must admit, I’ve always been of the opinion that the Doctor is and should be a man. He has always identified as male in the series, and after 50+ years, it’s certainly going to take some getting used to, but I support the show and Jodie is a fantastic actress, so she gets my full support, too.”
“Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm,” Capaldi said. “She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Colin Baker, the sixth actor to play the role, from 1984–86, also applauded the decision.
Bring it on, we say.