16 July 2017

Welcome to space, Jodie Whittaker!

She’s not done much sci-fi, Jodie Whittaker, but she looks at home walking through a forest, past the remains of an old wagon of some sort and towards a familiar sound. Because we move quickly even without being able to travel in time and space there is now as much attention on the clip as there is on who is revealed in it. What a reveal though! Wonderfully shot (does anyone know who directed this and the teaser?) it suggests a man by the way the new Doctor is walking. Jodie Whittaker walks like a man! Our first fact. Is this her costume? It looks a bit costumey actually - long coat, boots etc but it could be a generic costume or it could be what she threw on that morning. It’s the tone of the clip that intrigues me, just as it did with Friday’s teaser. It suggests something markedly different is on the way and I don’t just mean the first ever female Doctor.

You need to have watched Broadchurch- not I’m suggesting because there is any sort of continuity between the two programmes - but to get more of that tone I mentioned. Broadchurch has a tone of its own, a slow but not sloth like pace that is reminiscent and quite possibly nicked from those Scandinavian dramas. It imports the maximum drama out of something quite ordinary and I’m wondering now if this is where Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who is headed. Have we seen the end of big fanfares, characters rushing about talking really quickly? Is the series being recalibrated almost in front of our eyes into something smaller but equally as gripping? Will this be what we come to call (yes I’ve thought of another word) Chibnallian?

You certainly can’t imagine any of the other modern Doctors walking so slowly towards the Tardis, they’ve been about flash, bang and wallop. Speed has meant everything. Perhaps it is well past time for a change of pace. Perhaps I’m reading far too much into a one minute clip that has probably had a lot of consideration placed on it in a way that won’t be possible once the new team get down to the regular grind? It feels like a sleight of hand has been achieved – while everyone’s looking to see who is playing the new Doctor, they are also seeing but not realising something of how the series is going to change in other ways. I did think it was Kris Marshall at first because the camera is placed to make the person taller and as mentioned above the walk is very much made to look like a bloke. 
Like everyone but the people involved- whatever observers might say over the next few days- I have absolutely no idea how Jodie Whittaker will play the role. Unlike some of the other leading candidates there is nothing in her previous work to suggest a particular style she might employ but then again she is an actor.

I've seen her in only three Things- Broadchurch of course and the great film Attack the Block which incidentally another of her supposed rivals for the role Luke Treadaway was in and on stage at the National Theatre in Antigone. And I can report she is was excellent in all three. Until she smiled slightly upon the appearance of the Tardis key in her palm I don’t think I’ve seen her smile and she does it very well indeed.

I’ve never been bothered as some Who fans seem to be by the casting of a woman in the role and the mood music surrounding the thirteenth Doctor was so loud that the furore had they cast another man would surely have been bigger than any that might come from casting a woman. In time the debate over what a female Doctor means for the narrative of the show (two women in the Tardis? Or just a male companion?) will become clearer but for now it’s good to savour the moment.  A minute, a walk and a smile is not much to go on but it’s enough for now.

Welcome to space, Jodie Whittaker! 

Official quotes from BBC 
Chris Chibnall, New Head Writer and Executive Producer, says : “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.
"I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”
Peter Capaldi says: “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of BBC Content, says: “Making history is what Doctor Who is all about and Chris Chibnall’s bold new take on the next Time Lord is exactly that. The nation is going to fall in love with Jodie Whittaker - and have lots of fun too!”
Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama, says : "Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor."
Matt Strevens, Executive Producer, says : "I'm so thrilled that Jodie Whittaker said yes to playing the Doctor. I've been a fan for years and always hoped to work with her. She is an actor of great emotional range and inhabits every role with complete passion and conviction. Just thinking about what she will bring to the Doctor makes me as excited as a kid at Christmas. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Betting Odds @ 3.10pm Sunday -


  1. Apparently this *isn't* her costume. A few months to go before we see that!