Jodie Whittaker Playing The Doctor ‘The Defining Moment Of My Life’

As excited as you may be for the Thirteenth Doctor to arrive you’ll never be as excited as Jodie Whittaker who has called her casting ‘the defining moment of my life’.

Last seen tumbling out of a stricken TARDIS, Whittaker made her bow at the end of this year’s Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time, and it seems that brief foray into space and time travel has given her a taste for the life of the Doctor.

Speaking to Total Film (via Radio Times), Whittaker said:

“I feel old enough for it. And I feel like I understand how important it is, and I’m so excited that the role models for young children, boys or girls… or teenagers, or adults, come in different forms.

“There’s nothing unattainable about me. I don’t look like I’ve been carved out of rock. I don’t sound like I’ve had the extraordinary glamour.

“For me, knowing what I thought were my limitations as a person and an actor, because this industry is about, ‘You sound like this, you look like this’… but I’m normal.”

It’s that normality that appealed to Whittaker – the idea of a regular, everyday person being a superhero – it’s something that she also discussed with the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant, who co-starred with Whittaker in three series of Broadchurch.

“That was exciting to David. It was a superhero he could play. And now it opens it a little wider, to women as well.”

In fact, the only negative aspect of the whole experience so far has been that the casting of the first female Doctor was such big news to begin with– her hope is that, in the future, it could just be normal.

“It’s amazing to be a milestone, but how wonderful if it wasn’t, if it was just accepted, embraced. I’m not dissing the moment – it’s f**king brilliant – but hopefully when other people grow up, it’s not so much of a surprise.”

Doctor Who will return to BBC One this autumn.

  • egyptian bar

    Been listening to Lyse Doucet’s series, ‘Her Story made History’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09lylvw
    Somewhat sobering to think how hard it still is for so many women in so many countries that the flack Jodie receives is inconsequntial in comparison.
    But she’s right; the fact that it’s a big deal and controvercial reflects divisions and anxieties even in the supposedly civilised, modern west.
    And yes, I know that most people who DON’T want gender-swapped heroes are NOT mysogynist, and don’t see this whole thing as an equality issue but one of narrative integrity of their fav show. ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
    I used to think society’s broke and the MALE role-model Doctor was a good part of fixing it, but was convinced by James L’s argument that the failure of others to step up to the mark shouldn’t stop our show doing something different. It goes world-wide, and other cultures need a female Doctor more than the smug west which fondly imagines inequality is a thing of the past. The Doctor is still a great role-model, and I look forward to seeing how Jodie plays it.

    • The Lazy Womble

      Well said, Egyptian bar. The more I read from Jodie Whittaker, the more I like her. But the concerns I had had were never really about her. My attitude is cautiously optimistic. With growing optimism and slightly receding caution.

      • DonnaM

        Fingers firmly crossed, but I’m still waiting for something from the new showrunner to allay my concerns about him. Jodie’s a fine actress. She’ll deliver her material well. That’s the one thing I’m not worried about at the moment.
        Perhaps the announcement of other writers will bolster my spirits – even if they’re new to Doctor Who, so were Moffat, Mathieson and Dollard once! If the first name out of the hat is Matthew Graham on the other hand…
        No, not going to think it. Must be optimistic, Donna!

  • ColeBox

    Potty mouth ;o)
    The interesting contradiction is that Jodie (quite rightly) wants a woman Doctor to be a non-issue, but the media just can’t help themselves by making Jodie’s Doctor into an issue and won’t let it be normalised; Jodie will always have the tag-line, “the first woman Doctor”, rather than just be called the thirteenth Doctor.

    • Liam

      It was the same with Eccelston being northern and Smith being young or Capaldi being old. They take what makes the new Doctor different and turn it into some sort of scandal.

    • The Lazy Womble

      Or “the Doctor”

      • ColeBox

        Sorry, I should have made that clearer; the labelling was retrospective. When we move onto the next Doctor and the one after that, Jodie will still hold that label.

        • The Lazy Womble

          I am sorry if you thought I was having a go at you Colebox. That wasn’t my intention. It was something Mr Moff once said about each of them being The Doctor rather than 1st 2nd or Nth Doctors

          • ColeBox

            Not at all :o)
            Moffat may have a point, but I rather think that anything that can be split up into parts or eras will automatically get given a title: the Fourth Doctor, the Hinchcliffe era, the Mondasian Cybermen or classic Who/nu Who. We just can’t help ourselves.

          • The Lazy Womble

            It would make for some strange conversations. “Which is your favourite Doctor?” “The Doctor”.

  • Rick714

    I think the whole controversy is still plastering over the fact that we’ve had so little DW recently. I feel that the show is as close to the brink since the mid ’80’s and Apathy is the enemy. We’ve all got quite used to the Doctor changing faces and being around in general, the nuWho generation as well, after a decade. Jodie will help give the ratings a boost but we’re barely getting much DW in general anymore.

    When series 11 begins, we’ll have had 15 eps total in 3 years. And because of the even new shorter season, (if we even get a Christmas special in ’18), when series 12 hits in 2019, we’ll have had only 26 episodes in 4 full years.

    Compare that to the first four years, 2005 through 2008, where we had 56 episodes. The BBC seems to be trying their very best to slowly squeeze their golden goose out of existence. Idiots.

    • Planet of the Deaf

      I’m not sure it’s the BBC deliberately not wanting to produce much Doctor Who, but rather the real problem in finding a replacement for Moff and the wait for Chibnall to take over.

      In an ideal world Moff would have finished with THORS in summer 2015, and the new person could have taken over immediately. Instead Chibs ended up taking over 2 years later

  • DonnaM

    It’s nice that she’s so enthusiastic (although I’d be exceptionally concerned if she wasn’t :-)) and I hope to high heaven my fears are unfounded but… unlike Bar and The Lazy Womble, I’m not feeling my optimism grow as we move into the Chibnall/Whittaker era and I’m afraid that Jodie’s allusion to Tennant and the “regular, everyday person as superhero” notion doesn’t help.
    I liked Tennant. From his first few words he impressed with a lightness of touch I’d felt lacking in his more intense, dramatic predecessor. But he became too “regular and everyday”, not quite alien enough for my taste as his tenure progressed.
    I haven’t formed any judgement on the Thirteenth Doctor yet. “Aww, brilliant!” and being successfully blown out of the TARDIS tells me nothing of her characterisation beyond the accent. She’s an entirely blank canvas onto which those pro and anti her casting can project their own prejudices as far as I’m concerned.
    There again, even the wonderful Mr Capaldi wouldn’t have entirely convinced me had his introduction been limited to “Kidneys!”. It takes more than one line to make The Doctor, however gifted the human being behind the title might be.

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    Jodie, you seem like a genuinely lovely person and from what little I’ve seen of you acting (Attack The Block springs to mind) you are superb. But sorry, you are merely the wrong gender for the part. Simple as. Your casting is not progressive. I’m so sorry you are now a part of the PC, SJW, Feminazi, Liberal agenda the BBC seem hell bent on shoving down our throats.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    A couple of things slightly grate to me about that interview

    One, is the touch of “Eccleston Northern chippiness” that comes over, in her comments about her normalness, and not sounding glamorous.

    Secondly, once again we have a comment – “but hopefully when other people grow up” – which implies that anyone disagreeing with a female Doctor is doing it because they are some sort of old fashioned, sexist dinosaur. It really isn’t the way to win over those doubters.

    • egyptian bar

      Her rapid-fire comments aren’t clearly thought-out or expressed, but I read that totally differently from you – I got the impression she was trying to say in years to come, when people who are watching it now as children have grown up then it won’t be a big issue any more. She does start by talking about being old enough herself, and about role models for children, teens and adults. I really don’t think she’s attacking anybody, but I may be wrong.

      • The Lazy Womble

        If you are wrong, bar, you are not wrong alone. That is how I read her comments too.

      • DonnaM

        That’s a much kinder interpretation of Jodie’s comment – I’m afraid I read it as Planet of the Deaf did, as an unnecessary dig at the doubters/detractors/objectors. Either way while I wouldn’t want anyone to turn into an automaton, spouting media-friendly platitudes, it’s to be hoped Jodie gives herself time to consider the implication of her words now so many more people are going to be watching them – and cuts out the effing bits too! I’m sure I’ve read a quote from her predecessor about being freed to swear again once he’s no longer the Doctor…
        I feel sorry for her in many ways. She’s stepping into a minefield every time she opens her mouth and that can’t be a comfortable position for anyone.

  • kerrie_30

    Great way to talk about fans of the show that aren’t supportive of her being cast…

    “When other people grow up.”

    Shows exactly the type of person she is unfortunately.