Whether you loved it or hated it – and they were plenty of people on both sides of that – the reveal that Jo Martin’s Ruth Clayton was a previous incarnation of the Doctor was a very interesting moment that got everyone talking. So what did the Thirteenth Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, think?
Speaking at the New York Comic Con, an event which was streamed last week online because of the current COVID pandemic, Whittaker talked at length about that Doctor reveal. Martin is the first Black person to play the role of the Doctor and Fugitive of the Judoon sparked many newspaper headlines and conversions on Twitter. Personally I loved her, but she remains a divisive figure (mind you, that’s true of most Doctors!).
Whittaker looked back at the original readthrough for that particular story. She explains how, before they begin reading the script, they all go around the table and tell everyone who they are.
“She was like, ‘I’m Jo Martin and I play the Doctor.’ For her and for both of us, that was a really extraordinary moment because we knew that this was the only room which would know about this for the next few months and we had to keep all the excitement in.”
It was certainly a brilliant reveal. All the way through Fugitive, I was expecting her to be revealed as the Rani; finally playing to the fans when every character in a trailer is revealed, as there is always that speculation if it’s going to be the Rani – not a bad legacy for Kate O’Mara who only featured in two stories!
But when the TARDIS is gloriously revealed and Jo’s Doctor comes out to play, she won me over as a new incarnation of the Time Lord instantly, and dare I say it, maybe a little stronger than Jodie? I know that’s probably sacrilegious to say, but so instantly won over was I.
When later asked by a fan what it was like to experience that reveal for the first time and film those scenes, Jodie had mulled over how the audience might react: shock, maybe a little anger, and with a little sense of ‘what on earth is going on?’ To me, Chibnall certainly knows how the fanbase works!
“I know from friends that texted me like, ‘I need answers now!’ There’s like a real need for more and I felt like the whole range that my Doctor went through in that. I think Doctor Who continually pushes boundaries and shows us that what we think we know could be a world away from the truth. To be the actor in that is as exciting as being someone sat on the couch going, ‘I’m sorry, what?’.”
I was very surprised that Jo didn’t appear more in The Timeless Children, but perhaps Chibnall is keeping the mystery for the upcoming Series 13 which is due to begin filming soon. And I’m hoping that Jo’s Doctor gets some more exploration, either in the next series or a spin-off of some kind. I think are plenty of fans who would quite happily see more.
Alongside this chat, we were shown two photos from the upcoming festive special, Revolution of the Daleks, but details are still being kept under wraps for the time being. While I doubt Jo Martin’s Doctor will be involved, who knows?