Jodie Whittaker On the Decision to Keep Her Own Accent For The Doctor

The Yorkshire accent has been characterised as wise, trustworthy, honest and straightforward – qualities that the Doctor almost certainly possesses – so perhaps it’s no surprise that when it came time for Jodie Whittaker, an actress who is proficient in a whole range of accents, chose to keep her native voice.

Of course, when she made her debut this Christmas in Twice Upon a Time, the question was definitively answer but, as it wasn’t a given that she would speak with her own accent, so how was the decision made?

Well, as it turns out, it kind of wasn’t…

Speaking to DWM (via Radio Times), Whittaker said:

“All the Doctors’ voices have been different. There have been various dialects, and I knew coming into it that there wasn’t a rule that you had to speak a certain way. I auditioned in my accent, and at no point did anyone say to do anything different. In fact they said, ‘Use your own voice.’”

While she said she would have been happy to have adopted another accent, like David Tennant did for the Tenth Doctor and she herself did in Broadchurch, the production team seemed happy with what she was doing and the accent stayed.

“Obviously anyone who’s seen me knows that this isn’t the only voice I’m comfortable doing.

“If it hadn’t worked during the scenes in the audition process I’m sure they would have picked up on that immediately. So in a strange way I don’t know how much of an actual decision it was…I think it happened before I was even cast.”

So, it turns out that lots of planets have a north again…

The issue also included this alternative angle of the Thirteenth Doctors costume, which gives us a better look at her earring and the apparently blue coat too – who knew?

DWM #521 is available to buy now.

  • Rick714

    This, I’m a bit wary about. Back in the McCoy days, whether it was the subpar dialog, or the subpar sound team, it was sometimes hard to hear what Syl said because he had a tough time enunciating. I don’t mind the accents as long as I can understand what’s being said. Fingers crossed.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      McCoy could sure role his Rs like a pro though 🙂

      • Rick714

        This is true. I mostly blame the sound person back then. Depending on who’s doing sound, it can obscure the dialog.

      • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

        He placed too much emphasis on it IMO. Capaldi has also done it but you hardly notice it.

        • FrancoPabloDiablo

          I just look at it that it was one of 7’s characteristics which stood out to me and that I rather liked.

          • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

            I love the 7th Doc but to me McCoy’s background showed through with things like that. It was almost panto in its exaggeration and well beyond what theatre actors Colin Baker ever was (coat aside). That’s why it was a master stroke to make the seventh more dark and dangerous in his later years. It helped combat McCoy’s shortcomings.

    • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

      My only objection to Whittaker using her accent is that as a snob Londoner I think that she sounds like she just stepped off a Leeds council estate.

      Sounds like a terrible thing to say, doesn’t it? But that’s the first thought I had when she showed up at Xmas with her “aw brilliant”.

      • egyptian bar

        Whereas speaking as a Northerner with some Yorkshire blood, my first thought was ‘Lots of planets have a North, but only one has a Yorkshire.’ 😀
        Tribal loyalties do tend to show. To the Doctor, we all sound like children.

        • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

          Tribal? No. As a northerner you are genuinely inferior to me as a Londoner. It has been scientifically proven! 😉

        • The Lazy Womble

          Twelve’s last words include that children can hear his real name. Just sayin’..

      • The Lazy Womble

        “Lots of planets have a Leeds council estate.”

  • Jack Ashcraft

    “Audition”- a word she’s using very loosely here, as we know she didn’t really audition, but was chosen by Chibnall without any auditions. How very disingenuous to use that word.

    • TimeyWimey
      • egyptian bar

        Thank you for that TimeyWimey. Jodie has enough flack to cope with, without ‘alternative facts’ being left unquestioned.

        • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

          She did audition. But I personally think that was a bit of a fudge. Why? Because Chibnall didn’t audition Walsh, who he similarly worked with before, and despite his claims that he would go for the best person for the job, he completely shut men out of the process because he knew what he wanted before auditions even started. I think he wanted not just a female doctor but Whittaker specifically from the outset and went through the audition process for the sake of going through the motions and placating BBC execs with the knowledge he’s tried out other actresses. But my gut tells me this is sadly a case of cronyism being given a pass because certain types of people only care that it’s a woman. At least I know that for all his faults, Moffat would have just gone with who he thought best, irrespective of gender or whether or not he’d worked with them before.

          • egyptian bar

            You see, this is why I like this site. You comment carefully – you say you ‘think’ this or your ‘gut’ tells you that. Although you aren’t happy with Jodie or Chibs, you’re expressing your personal opinion without slagging anyone off. I can’t know any better than you what the real thinking behind the audition process was, but am prepared to give the resulting series a few eps to prove itself before I decide it it’s for me or not. My main fear is that it will be SJA remix, which was excellent for chiildren but not sure it will work for family, all ages, fans. I hope now it has ticked the boxes desired by certain execs they will be free to get on with an adventure show.
            Not sure I agree with you about Moff though – did he audition any men for Missy? 😉

          • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

            Well, thank your for your compliments on my style. I just try and stick to the conversation without childishness or partisan catchphrases.

          • ColeBox

            Judging by history, I will cut Chibs a bit of slack in so much as past producers have always had a list of preferences. Isn’t there a story where Barry Letts was casting and was contacted by Jon Pertwee’s agent? Letts was supposedly aghast as JP was on the top (or near) of Letts’ list. Whitaker just appears to have been at the top of Chibs list.

            However, I fully understand suspicion about casting as show-runners have a record of telling fibs. When too many pants get set on fire, one starts to view any announcement or news with a bit of suspicion.

          • Turd Ferguson’s Doggy

            Yeah see, my concern isn’t so much about a female doctor anymore. I was against it but only really because I thought it would change the character too much and rob young boys of ne of the few positive against type role models they had. But it’s done and I will give the show a few episodes to win me over rather than pulling a huff and refusing to even try it out. So really the whole female doctor thing for me has been significantly overtaken by concerns over Chibnall, his casting methods and his general skill as a writer and showrunner. If the doctor was to be female then Whittaker was well down my list. I don’t much rate her at all. Plus I also think that Chibnall’s work both in and outside DW is highly overrated. His Doctor Who and Torchwood work has either been average or flat out crap and series 2 and 3 of Broadchurch played like a cheesy soup opera (series 3 in particular). So when I see what seems like cronyism and agendas on top of these already existing concerns I start to get worried. I can’t rid my mind of a vision of the guy as being an adult version of the arrogant little turd who sat tore Pip and Jane Baker and JNT off a strip 30 years ago. I hope I am wrong, but as my Aunty used to say, he gives me bad vibes.

          • ColeBox

            I can’t disagree with any of that. I haven’t hated any of Chibnal’s episodes but I’ve never seen Broadchurch. I can’t say much about Whitaker: I’ve never seen her in anything apart from the regeneration scene. I wasn’t initially happy about the casting but, like you, am going to give things a chance.

            However, I do have fears about the programme in that it is becoming politicised. It has been creeping in for a couple of years, but this last series is when it got silly.

            I’ll qualify that with something that appeared on Cultbox a while back; they did an article where people were meant to rejoice in certain things that this series was delivering. One of the options was that the show was being written by Social Justice Warriors! See also the politicising after Whitaker’s announcement.

            My biggest fear – and I concede that I may be wincing too much – is that Whitaker’s arrival is also going to bring in the identity politics; my immediate thought is that Bradley Walsh’s character is there to be the brunt of comments like “check your privilege” etc.

            What it boils down to is that Doctor Who was a children’s show which became a family show. I don’t want the spiteful and divisive nature of modern politics to infect my favourite programme. If that sort of thing has to have a place on telelvision, I just don’t want it to be Doctor Who. I am not optimistic; I hope to be proved otherwise.

          • DonnaM

            Moffat is on record as saying only Peter Capaldi auditioned last time and to my mind that worked out well enough, but you articulate all my concerns about Chibnall perfectly. Jodie might be a brilliant actress (having only seen her in Broadchuch I can’t vouch for her comic range but am willing to give the benefit of the doubt) but is he inventive, clever, witty enough to create Doctor Who as I love it? I have my doubts based on his previous work.

      • Jack Ashcraft

        Nope. Every report (except HuffPo, which we all know is above reproach in its reporting.), had Chibnall call her and offer her the job. She did not audition against a single other actor, which is part of the controversy in her casting. You and HuffPo are welcome to your opinions, but not your own facts.An audition means you’re actually trying to land the role against other actors, which she did not have to do. All she did in reality was a read through for her boss, Chibnall. He had already made the decision the role was going to a woman, and he simply chose one he worked with. No men were “auditioned”, no other women were “auditioned”. Period.