Who Is Jodie Whittaker, The First Female Doctor Who?
WHO IS JODIE WHITTAKER?
In the Doctor Who universe, the Doctor is an alien who has the ability to time travel and to regenerate. The Doctor has no gender, but has always been played by a male actor. Finally, the show is taking on a woman to play the Doctor.
“I want to tell the fans not to be scared of my gender,” Whittaker, 35, told the BBC. “This is a really exciting time.” The actress is known for her role as Beth Latimer on Broadchurch. She attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and left in 2005 to take a part in Storm at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. The following year, Whittaker was awarded her first film role in Venus alongside Peter O’Toole.
Whittaker has previously spoken about her happiness at rarely getting recognized in the street, but it’s safe to assume that that’s about to change. “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be,” Whittaker says of playing the Doctor. “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.”
The odds were in her favor when Broadchurch‘s creator Chris Chibnall became the new Doctor Who showrunner. “I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” Chibnall said. “[Whittaker’s] 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.”
The 12th Doctor, Capaldi, has previously shared his desire for a woman to replace him. “She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part,” he said. “She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
A female Doctor is fitting with the times, as more male-driven franchises are introducing female leads. From Daisy Ridley playing the lead in J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, women are forcefully entering the sci-fi world.
Zoe Saldana, who plays a lead in three sci-fi franchises (Avatar, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy) says she thinks sci-fi is the perfect genre for this much-needed change. “It makes me feel superhuman because, obviously, it’s been brought to my attention continuously since I was born that I’m not a conventional person because of the color of my skin or my gender or my cultural background,” Saldana said in a recent interview. “So I think science fiction has given me the ability as an artist to be color-blind, and gender-blind, and to imagine and reinvent myself and be the chameleon actors are supposed to be.”
Whittaker’s most recent film credit was in 2016’s Adult Life Skills, which she starred in alongside her husband Christian Contreras.