You really can’t beat waking up to the biggest entertainment news of the year. Yesterday the BBC teased that we’d see a reveal of the next Doctor on Doctor Who, the 13th Doctor, to take over for the lead role of the iconic 54-year science fiction franchise currently played by Peter Capaldi. After the men’s Wimbledon final today, the BBC released the big news: Finally, the BBC is breaking new ground, for the first time casting an actress as the next Doctor–a woman in the role played previously by 13 men on television (counting unnumbered War Doctor John Hurt), and not only a woman, but a great genre actress at that–35-year-old Jodie Whittaker, who hails from West Yorkshire.
Whittaker is best known for her starring role along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega in the science fiction cult classic Attack the Block. She also was featured in the great British ghost story series Marchlands and most recently in the drama Broadchurch. Replacing Doctor Who’s showrunner Steven Moffat is the previously announced Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. Whittaker said in an announcement today, “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet…. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”
When David Tenant regenerated into Matt Smith for Smith to become the eleventh Doctor on the series, Smith’s Doctor initially thought he was female because of his hair, teasing fans a bit and planting the seed for a gender change to be coming in the near future. “I’m a girl!” he shouted. Also, the addition of a female Master (Michelle Gomez) in recent seasons helped prepare viewers for the change.
Check out yesterday’s teaser, followed by the big reveal:
And for fun, Tennant’s regeneration into Smith’s Doctor:
Look for Jodie Whittaker to premiere as the 13th Doctor at the end of this year’s Christmas special, or in next season’s premiere, expected to be either March-April 2018 unless pushed to August-September 2018.