Actor Jodie Whittaker will be the first woman to portray the titular character on Doctor Who when the series returns this October.
Whittaker, who plays the thirteenth Doctor, recently appeared on The Graham Norton Show to promote Season 11 of Doctor Who and briefly discussed her reaction to finding out she’d landed the role. According to Whittaker, she’d gone to what she’d believed to be the final audition. It was there they let her know she’d secured the role. “I was being all steely and when they told me the part was mine,” she said, “I just started crying.”
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Although she was crying, Whittaker admitted to wanting to “WhatsApp someone” and tell them the news. She said she felt a sense of “joy, fear, and responsibility to the fans” after finding out she would become the next Doctor.
Regarding backlash to the casting of a woman as the Doctor, Whittaker did note that it was “ridiculous” for a female Doctor to be “such a big deal in 2018.”
Interestingly enough, though, Whittaker initially had another idea for how she could join the Doctor Who universe after her friend — and new showrunner — Chris Chibnall took over. During a night out with Chibnall, Whittaker initially asked to play a baddie on the upcoming season. However, Chibnall surprised her when he changed the direction of the conversation and went on to ask if she’d be interested, instead, in playing the role of the Doctor. At the time, Whittaker was admittedly surprised. However, she soon realized that the Doctor could easily be a woman. “For me, at that moment, it was before anyone else had any notion that it could be a woman and I was immediately excited but also ‘Oh! It can be a woman.’”
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Doctor Who stars Jodie Whittaker as the latest iteration of the titular Time Lord. Whittaker will be joined by co-stars Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill in a season that will be spearheaded by new series showrunner Chris Chibnall. The series returns in October.