On Friday, BBC announced plans to reveal the identity of the new star of “Doctor Who” after Sunday’s Wimbledon final, with fans eagerly awaiting news of who’ll be taking over the TARDIS from exiting star Peter Capaldi as the 13th Doctor on the long-running sci-fi series.
The revelation came in a one-minute video, above, in which a cloaked figure is seen walking in a forest, eventually removing the jacket’s hood to reveal British actress Jodie Whittaker, who’s appeared in such UK series as “Broadchurch” and “Adult Life Skills”.
Whittaker, 34, is the first woman ever to be cast as the time-travelling Doctor in the history of the show, which first hit the airwaves back in 1963.
As fans know, the Doctor is an immortal Time Lord with the ability to regenerate into a new physical incarnation at the moment of death, which has led to 12 previous actors taking on the role.
“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with [showrunner] Chris [Chibnall] and with every Whovian on this planet,” said Whittaker in a statement. “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.”
Added Chibnall, who’s taking over showrunning duties from Steven Moffat (“Sherlock”): “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.”
Outgoing star Peter Capaldi also shared praise for Whittaker in a statement: “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.”
Fans have long been calling for a female Doctor, and the reaction on Twitter was beyond enthusiastic.
Whittaker also received kudos from “Broadchurch” co-star Arthur Darvill, who starred as one of the Doctor’s companions on earlier seasons of “Doctor Who”.
Some viewers, however, were not happy about the casting.
In response, the BBC released a statement addressing those who aren’t looking forward to the first female Doctor Who. The BBC notes that new voices and ideas, like the casting of Whittaker, are what makes the series so successful.
“Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.
The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.
As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, 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.
We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.”