Meet Jodie Whittaker, the thirteenth Doctor.
The 13th incarnation of The Doctor, the eponymous lead role in the long-running British sci-fi show Doctor Who was announced today. For the first time in the show’s 54-year history, the role has been handed to a female actor. Check out the initial announcement video below:
Yep, that’s Jodie Whittaker of Broadchurch and Attack the Block fame, so we know she’s no stranger to great emotional range/facing off against otherworldly monsters with some silly British youngsters in tow, a Doctor Who staple.
For the uninitiated, the titular Time Lord, who can “regenerate” after suffering a fatal injury, retaining memories while changing their appearance/personality (within reason). It’s a fun, cool way to keep a show going with the same protagonist for decades on end. Whittaker will be replacing beloved Scottish actor, and peerless swear machine Peter Capaldi, who’s been in the role since 2013.
There’s a feeling of inevitability about this announcement. Since around the David Tennant era (he played the Tenth Doctor between 2005 and 2010), there have been calls for more diversity in the role. The twelve incarnations have all been white men–including a canon but not-counted appearance by acting legend John Hurt as the War Doctor, an iteration who committed a terrible act and was stripped of the name/lineage—yes, this is a very silly show. The Doctor’s Time Lord nemesis, The Master, has also been played by a woman since 2014—a wonderfully deranged but committed performance from Scottish actor Michelle Gomez. She’s departing alongside Capaldi, paving the way for an all-new Master to come up against Whittaker’s “Thirteen.”
Whittaker will be re-teaming with Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, who has succeeded Steven Moffat as the Doctor Who showrunner. Her debut as The Doctor, and Chibnall’s as head writer, will come on Christmas Day of this year on BBC America. It’s gonna be wild.
MORE STORIES LIKE THIS ONE