For the first time in its 54-year run, Doctor Who’s titular character will be played by a woman.
The much-buzzed about announcement was made this past Sunday after the Wimbledon’s men’s finals. In a dramatic video, BBC revealed the 13th Doctor as Jodie Whittaker, well-known for her role with costar and former Doctor David Tennant on “Broadchurch,” as well as the popular sci-fi mystery show “Black Mirror.”
Although it has been confirmed by Whovian lore for some time now that the time-traveling alien known as The Doctor can regenerate into any form, regardless of race, gender, or even species (can you imagine a Dalek Doctor?), the Doctor has always been a white man since the show premiered in 1963. The announcement of the historic gender change has sent a shockwave through the fan community, and reactions are mixed, to say the least. Many are furious that the tradition of the show has shifted course and equate the change to a “liberal agenda.”
Fans are claiming that they will boycott the show, and others vow to never watch again.
Others are defending the casting choice:
But Whittaker wants to reassure fans of her respect for the iconic nature of the role:
“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” Whittaker told the BBC in her first interview post-announcement. “Because 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 already has blessings from current and former Doctor Who actors:
Although some fans are adverse to change, Doctor Who has been evolving sociopolitically for several seasons now. On the sixth season, the show depicted its first inter-species lesbian romantic relationship. And this past season, the new companion, Bill, is a lesbian character with romantic interests and dating woes.
The fandom has been loudly buzzing with speculation about a female star ever since The Doctor’s nemesis, the Master, regenerated on the eighth season into a quirky, sarcastic woman nicknamed Missy.
So, the signs were there for a female Doctor. It was only a matter of time. The show is also getting a new showrunner, Chris Chibnall (“Broadchurch”), who will be replacing Steven Moffat next season.