SHE’S HERE! BBC Names Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who‘s 13th Doctor

Jodie Whittaker has been named the 13th Doctor by the BBC. Announced in a delightful video reveal this afternoon, the Broadchurch and Attack the Block actor will join Doctor Who next season.

The reveal was different from Peter Capaldi’s live, out of character, reveal last time around. The BBC’s video had Whittaker in costume (though not the official 13th Doctor costume), a key materializing in her hand, and walking towards the TARDIS.

I might have cried.

Capaldi will be exiting the show, along with showrunner Steven Moffat, this Christmas. Broadchurch showrunner Chris Chibnall is taking over as head writer and executive producer.

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor,” said Whittaker. “It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

Here’s what Chibnall had to say about the casting process and choice:

After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth 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 Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama said, “Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.” While Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content added, “Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall’s bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that. The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker – and have lots of fun too!”

It’s fantastic to see progress being made – Rey and Jyn from Star Wars, the new Ghostbusters, etc. – but it’s important to note there’s still a lot of work to be done. While a female Doctor is huge news and I think Whittaker will be fantastic, part of me was hoping they’d cast a woman of color. Having strong women to look up to on screen is vital, but so is having a variety of strong women to look up to on screen, not just white women. (By the way, did you watch the trailer for A Wrinkle in Time yet?)

Many fans are celebrating the news on social media, even noting some special space relationships…

And we can’t forget she also spent time with the 10th Doctor…

…and Rory!

The BBC also released 13 questions Whittaker answered in this very exciting time:

1) What does it feel like to be the Thirteenth Doctor?

It’s very nerve-racking, as it’s been so secret!

2) Why did you want the role?

To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.

3) Has it been hard to keep the secret?

Yes. Very hard! I’ve told a lot of lies! I’ve embroiled myself in a whole world of lies which is going to come back at me when this is announced!

4) Who was the first person you told when you got the role?

My husband. Because I was allowed to!

5) Did you have a codename and if so what was it?

In my home, and with my agent, it was The Clooney. Because to me and my husband, George is an iconic guy. And we thought: what’s a really famous iconic name? It was just fitting.

6) What does it feel like to be the first woman Doctor?

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. It feels incredible.

7) What do you want to tell the fans?

I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. 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.

8) What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about becoming part of a family I didn’t even know existed. I was born in 1982, it’s been around longer than me, and it’s a family I couldn’t ever have dreamed I’d be part of.

9) How did Chris sell you the part?

We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.

It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference!

10) Did he persuade you?

No. There was no persuasion needed. If you need to be persuaded to do this part, you’re not right for this part, and the part isn’t right for you. I also think, for anyone taking this on, you have to want to fight for it, which I certainly had to do. I know there will have been some phenomenal actors who threw their hats in the ring.

11) What are you going to wear?

Don’t know yet.

12) Is that your costume in the filmed sequence which introduced you as the new Doctor?

No.

13) Have any of the other Doctors given you advice?

Well they can’t because they haven’t known until now, but I’m certainly expecting a couple of calls – I’ve got a couple of mates in there. I’m mates with a companion [Arthur Darvill], I’m mates with a trio of Doctors. I know Matt Smith, Chris Eccleston and obviously David Tennant. Oh! And let’s throw in David Bradley! Four Doctors! So I’m hoping I get some calls of advice.

Past Doctors and companions are also sharing their joy on Twitter. Colin Baker chimed in:

As well as companion (who we’re not sure is joining Whittaker yet) Pearl Mackie.

And Bonnie Langford…

And Janet Fielding…

And Katy Manning…

And Billie Piper…

And Noel Clarke…

And Freema Agyeman…

And Darvill.

[UPDATE]

Karen Gillen chimed in.

And John Barrowman…

Matt Lucas…

And Sylvester McCoy

And Alex Kingston found out on stage at a convention…

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  • My main concern is that I’ve not been impressed by new showrunner Chris Chibnall’s previous Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Broadchurch episodes. They should’ve picked Patrick Ness for his surprisingly & consistently great Class. Don’t bollocks this up, Chibnall! Hating the latest showrunner is a proud Whovian tradition!

  • I saw the news and was ecstatic, imagining the new stories that can be told from the shifted POV. And then I saw, on Twitter, that Whittaker made a statement about how fans shouldn’t be “afraid” of her gender, and then I was brought back down to Earth. I forgot I live in the Twilight Zone. Not to be deterred, I came next to this page…and saw this.

    “[I]t’s important to note there’s still a lot of work to be done. While a female Doctor is huge news and I think Whittaker will be fantastic, part of me was hoping they’d cast a woman of color.”

    Today, I have an appointment with a optometrist to see if it’ll be possible to dislodge my eyeballs from the back of my skull, where they rolled to so hard and fast I was knocked unconscious.

    ; p I love ya, anyway, of course. And I wouldn’t expect you *not* to have said it.