In the year 2017, Doctor Who enjoys somewhat unique place in popular culture. Since being created in 1963 as an educational programme using time travel as a means to explore scientific ideas and famous moments in history. Since then, the show has become arguably one of the biggest in the world.
And at the centre of it all is The Doctor, a renegade time-lord from the plane Gallifrey who travels the universe righting wrongs and tackling some of the most terrifying villains that can be put on at tea-time.
And a nifty idea that has become central to show is that the central character can regenerate. Basically, every few years when the actor playing The Doctor desires to try to escape so they don’t get typecast as The Doctor (and good luck to them with that) the character gets ‘killed off’ and comes back as a new character with the same name and identity but with a slightly different personality.
And until the 16th of July 2017, that main role had always gone to a white man. And all of that changed when, after an inevitable win at Wimbledon for Roger Ferder for a record breaking 8th time we were shown our first glimpse of the new Doctor.
Which was followed by several inevitable reactions. Twitter exploded with people claiming that it was ‘about time’ and that it was going to be amazing for the show and it’s dynamics. The second was how PC this move was and how it was going to kill the show and how they would never watch it again. Because it was unrealistic that a two hearted time travelling alien could become a woman.
I had a slightly different question.
Who the hell is Jodie Whittaker?
One quick dive to IMDB and Wikipedia told me that she’s worked fairly solidly for years, bubbling away just below the surface.
She was the main character in cult classic Attack the Block (which is pretty much an episode of Doctor Who anyway), as well as appearing in television shows Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008), Wired (2008), Return to Cranford (2009), and of course, the absolutely fantastic Broadchurch, where she played Beth Latimer for 24 episodes.
And despite the fact that I’ve actually had to research who the new Doctor is, I don’t really have any concerns over Whittaker. People forget that Matt Smith was virtually unheard of and the IMDB message boards exploded with claims that he was too young and that he was going to ruin the show. Capaldi was primarily known for playing Malcolm Tucker in satire The Thick of It. And David Tennant wasn’t exactly a household name either.
I don’t care that the new Doctor is a woman either. The writing for that has been on the wall for a while. Although I was defiantly team Tilda Swinton I do think this well respected, talented actress should be given a fair shake at the role.
No, if i’m angry about anything at all it’s the way that the BBC told us about this new Doctor.
You see, Capaldi and Smith had hour long TV shows dedicated to who on Earth they were, what kind of Doctor they were going to be and how excited they were to step into the role, so on and so forth.
But for Whittaker? And unveiling arguably the biggest casting decision of this year? After all, the Whovians were pretty much the only fanbase not declaring with one voice that only Tom Hardy was acceptable in the lead role and eager for anyone that wasn’t Kris Marshall to take the role and how does the BBC tell the world?
A 60 second advert after the Wimbledon mens finals.
Not a teaser trailer, not an advert showing us the new Doctor and then telling us to watch at 6.15 whereupon we would be given more information, hell, there wasn’t even a single word of dialogue.
She simply walked through some woods in little blue riding hoods old cloak, had a key materialize in her hand, look at the camera and that was it. For such a huge casting decision that was all we got.
It was pathetic.
Mind you, it probably added a fair few million to the viewing figures for about ten minutes. And I seriously hope the BBC does better with the new series.
But what do you think about the new casting?