Jodie Whittaker named as 13th Doctor Who

Sci-fi breaks new ground as former Broadchurch star set to lead Doctor Who.

Jodie Whittaker has been named as the 13th Doctor in the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The former Broadchurch star will succeed Peter Capaldi when he bows out in December.

Whittaker, 35, was amongst the favourites tipped to be named, although many had expected the role to go to ex-Death in Paradise star Kris Marshall.

But there had been speculation the series would break new barriers with either a female or black Doctor, when new showrunner Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch) takes over from Steven Moffat.

“I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” said Chibnall. “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.”

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey, with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet,” Whittaker said. “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.”

Whittaker has previously appeared in Accused, Black Mirror, Return to Cranford and Dalziel and Pascoe.

Outgoing Doctor, Peter Capaldi paid tribute: “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, Director of BBC Content said, “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.”

On social media there were divided opinions on the announcement, revealed after the Wimbledon Men’s Final win by Roger Federer.





The 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special will be available on ABC iview immediately following the UK broadcast on Boxing Day morning. ABC and ABC ME will broadcast the Christmas Special later that evening.

44 Responses

  1. I thought DocWho was a Time Lord, every Lord I have ever seen or read about has been a bloke, what was wrong with 1950s-1960s thinking?

    Its Chris Chibnall’s involvement that is more of a concern, 1st series of Broadchurch was great, both subsequent ones were amongst some of the worst tv I have seen in recent years, with the latest just being garbage imo…

  2. I don’t see the issue some are having, the Master became Missy in recent years, last year another Time Lord regenerated and changed sexes and even this season the Doctor explained to Bill what happened with the Master/Missy and that he/she was male in the past. The clues have been building and I think its about time.

    Now the question is will the companion be male or female in S11?

  3. @GMPetrie In Matt Smith’s final Xmas special, Clara made a bargain with the TLs to give him a fresh set of regenerations after defending Trenzalore from all manner of invaders for 900 years.

    @David Let’s not forget Arabella Weir’s turn as an alcoholic Doctor for Big Finish

  4. This might actually get me a watching again. I had no problem with the cast when I stopped watching a couple of seasons ago, but the story lines were so boring, convoluted and I could not be bothered concentrating. Glad Steven Moffatt is out if the picture, a good chance to reinvigorate the series, and a good chance to add in humour as the Doctor learns what it’s like being in a womans body.

  5. Given that it took 12 doctors and 50-something years to break with sexist convention, the level of self-congratulation is rather astonishing.

  6. Sexuality is not supposed to play much of a role in Dr Who, though recent Who series and it’s spin-offs have for presumably PC reasons looked at same sex relationships. There is Jenny, the Doctors genetic daughter but not the result of a sexual relationship, so this female regeneration will offer the opportunity to have a female re-imagining of the character, We may have had a sneak preview of what may be to come with the female Master (now apparently demised) played by Michelle Gomez.

  7. Hmmm…not that keen on Jodie as the new Doctor. Didn’t find her particularly interesting or unique in Broadchurch…if they insist on having a female, would have preferred Olivia as she was outstanding in Broadchurch and I think would be more suited to play the Doctor.
    But hopefully Jodie will be better in this part.
    Agree that Doctor Who’s problem for the last few seasons is in the writing and plotlines, not so much the cast.
    Have found many of the recent storylines pretty weak, bordering on completely silly at times.

    1. In 15 or 20 years time, when people who hold NuWho to the cultural connection of the original series have started to die off and a new generation of eyes start evaluating it on its own merits, they’re going to realise that the early years of sentient wheelie-bins, Zoë Wanamaker’s talking bumskin, and farting aliens was the high point. It’s been pretty much all downhill from there…

      I mean, very few eps of NuWho have risen even as high as “Delta And The Bannermen” from TOS – and that was basically a space-bus full of space-tourists on a space-romp through a Butlin’s holiday camp in Wales, rather than a plot. Yet it was still a more complex and thought-provoking story than anything from Smith or Capaldi’s tenure…

  8. I am beyond delighted. The Doctor was originally conceived as a ‘grandfather in space’ which due to the ailing health of the original actor had the concept of regeneration added on, becoming a signature of the character. The character has never actually been about the masculinity of wisdom or universe saving, it has just adhered to the cultural defaulting as leading heroes being played by male actors. Considering the mechanism and function of the regeneration process, it was inevitable the Doctor would take the female form sooner or later. Many are actually surprised it’s taken this long and I for one think it is the right time. I only hope the writing does this opportunity justice coz I think it failed Capaldi’s potential to be one of the greats.

    1. I suspect the writing for Capaldi was to help him develop his own unique version of Dr Who which also had the bonus of appealing to American audiences who likely struggle a bit with all the Britishness, the result was that Capaldi hammed it up, which I guess is a Who trait, but maybe as a result Capaldi’s Dr Who never seemed to develop a realistic bond with his companion actors which may have been the writers choice but it removed some empathy from the show.

    2. Yeah, of course it was inevitable. At least when one tosses the entire history of the show out the window and writes what ever rubbish springs to mind. In the many many visits to Gallifry over the decades and despite numerous regenerations by various characters both main and supporting, until the clowns that pass as writers in the post 2005 series came along, there is not one (spoofs aside) instance of, not even a passing hint at, gender changes as a result of regeneration.

      So while we’re at it, let’s give Doc the ability to shape shift at will, levitate (hey if daleks can do it, why not), possess immense strength that let’s him bash down doors with the mere application of a finger (ala Steve Austin), and heck, the ability to produce a good result from Brexit. It’d make just as much sense and have just as much basis.

      1. The Fourth Doctor once said to Romana II that she should meet up with the Corsair sometime, referring to the Corsair as both male and female when he did so (1979 written by Douglas Adams). That was further expanded with: Most Time Lords disapproved of the Corsair. The Doctor, on the other hand, got to drink with him (in the Corsair’s Fourth and Eighth incarnations) and with her (in her Fifth).

        In the early days of regeneration, it was possible for fragments of other DNA to be incorporated into the new incarnation if, for example, a Time Lord had recently eaten or spent a great deal of time around other species; the early Gallifreyan priest I.M. Foreman suffered from this problem throughout his regenerations, each incarnation becoming more and more inhuman as more foreign DNA was incorporated into the process. (1999).

        Also Time Lords have regenerated into other things, Ganda became…

        1. Well, if you’re going to include novelisations and short stories that were not TV eps then you’ve opened the sluice gates and anything really is possible.

          1. Absolutely, if it has happened in the WhoVerse in some form then it can happen on TV in my view, I kind of have a real life science approach to things like this (and same thing went for Gotham using bits from DC Universes).

            In that if it happens on Earth then the likelihood of it happening elsewhere is highly likely, there’s life on Earth so there will be life somewhere else. In Doctor Who you have Cassandra is just a trampoline really, the Face Of Boe a head in a jar and lizard like humanoids in Silurian’s. In real life we have clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, gobies and other fish species that do swap gender, so the likelihood that an Alien species could do the same is not that far-fetched for me. If that happens to be some Gallifreyan’s that are Time Lords and Ladies then so be it, the books pointed to it early on and that ill-fated Douglas Adams episode that eventually got…

          2. I wasn’t speaking against The Doctor being female (altho’ I’m not enamoured with who has been chosen). Just making a point about whether anything and everything ever written in the Whoniverse should necessarily be considered canon for the TV series.

            There are also some people, notably the “Guevedoces” of the Dominican Republic and some areas o PNG, who change the external sexual appearance from female to male at puberty. If we accept Time Lord regeneration, it’s not much of a step to accepting a change in gender.

            I’m pretty sure that the Silurians aren’t real either.

          3. To your other yeah I think they can cherry pick from the novels and what not, hell I’d even be happy if they did the comics and had a Cyberman/Borg alliance that put Who and Trek together for an ep or two. Marvel and DC change all the time, take things from the various comics and tweek it, so Who falls into that I believe after 50 years, as long as they don’t do a Teen Titans version of Doctor Who. Very similar to those the Doctor Who away from TV stuff has often contradicted itself, but that’s fine it is but a story that is wibbly=wobbly anyway.

  9. I think she will be excellent. She is a very good and accomplished actor and as long as Chris Chibnall and his new team deliver strong stories and maybe also explain why the gender swap, then I reckon the show will have it’s highest ratings and level of interest in years, and this is coming from someone who ( no pun intended) has seen every episode since the 1st one was shown on my 5th birthday in 1963.

  10. I’ve never properly watched Doctor Who but I think I’ll be definitely tuning in for this to see how it all takes place and works now since this announcement.

  11. Thank God they went with a woman … and a great actor as well. Looking forward to the fresh start with a new Doc and writer. I seem to be one of the few who struggled through the Capaldi years.

  12. Looking forward to see what happens. Will be interesting to see who get’s the blame if the show struggles. New Doctor or new showrunner?

  13. Hmmmm…not happy, but haven’t seen this lady in anything so will give her a fair go. The change could either make or break the show I guess.

  14. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but if they are going to go down this path, Jodie is the woman for the job. My reservation is probably based from 50 plus years of the same sort of thing. But then again, I’m open to being pleasantly surprised.

  15. I think most doctor “reveals” are always a bit of a let down. You’re grieving over the death of a character and a replacement is essentially a very different character and quite jarringly pushed into the world.

    I really liked the teacher/student dynamics of the show and it will be interesting to see if they do it differently. Change can be good, but too many changes might make it feel like a different show. I’m a little concerned about Chris Chibnall taking over as showrunner (despite broadchurch) as his episodes were some of the worst.

    I’m sure he’ll do well, but right now i’m having mixed feelings about all this. I hate that we’ll have to wait a year to find out!

    1. Change can be a good thing but the 2005 reboot of Dr Who has progressively crapped all over so many fundamental tenets of the series that they may as well rename it to ‘Magic Mystery Spacey Hour Show’. Let’s face it, the sonic screwdriver has all but become a magic wand already.

      1. Surely “Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Space 3/4 Hour” would be more appropriate?

        I’m less … annoyed? … by this than I thought I would be (which was basically zero to begin with, but hinged on it not being done in a “let’s make it ultra-PC!” fashion). At least Chibnall doesn’t seem interested in playing Moffat’s “Look, I’m Ultra-Alpha Fanboy in charge of Doctor Who!” role and is (hopefully) less interested in seemingly rehashing his personal hangups each season.

        (Seriously, how many variations on “I’ll save you! / You didn’t save me! / I failed! / Don’t worry, I’m having my own adventures without you now! / Yes, but the power of my regret is still strong and that’s the important thing” can one writer write?

        Yes, I know, rhetorical question – the answer is “one”, now matter how many times he does it…)

      2. Yes, the f’g sonic screwdriver. That and Moffat are why I gave Who away after Tennant left.

        “All the daleks are dead”.
        “They’re back because – time travel or something”

        1. Not to mention the heresy of a human dalek. How poor a writer does one have to be to come up with that sort of crap. Even an insane dalek (a tautology if ever there was one) would rather slither into a puddle of petrol and strike a match than pollute itself with any part of another race.

          Anyway, something I thought I’d never do – delete Dr Who from the recording schedule – has now been done.

  16. Doctor Who’s problems have been in their writing, not their cast. I am more curious about the new crew replacing Moffat will bring more than a new actor, although it’s an interesting twist casting a woman.

    Hopefully it was truly done for the right reasons (she was best for the job) and not the cynical one.

      1. Pretty sure they covered that in Matt Smiths last Christmas special… Given that we have already had John Hurt as the “War Doctor” that makes this doctor the 14th, but we dont count it that way.

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