We have a release date for Series 11 of Doctor Who. Jodie Whittaker will debut as the 13th and first female Doctor on Sunday, October 7 in the series premiere episode “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” written by new showrunner Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Childs. In addition to a new Doctor and showrunner, the Tardis will welcome three new companions, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill as Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, respectively. The series reportedly will also be eschewing traditional villains such as Daleks or Cybermen for new monsters, though I doubt we’ve heard the last of The Doctor’s nemeses.
To say that Whittaker’s casting has stirred emotions would be an understatement. I’ve been blocking sexist fans in Facebook groups for months. As a longtime advocate for the gender swap and a fan of Chibnall’s work on the show, everything I’ve seen so far looks amazing.
I love the run up to the show with a new Doctor. My favorite will always be Peter Capaldi telling a young girl dressed as a Dalek that Matt Smith asked him to take care of Doctor Who and would that be okay with her. It’s so wonderful to watch the next incarnation step one foot at a time into the light. In that vein, let’s see what’s so wonderful about our new hero.
5. She Built Her Own Prop Bomb to Practice Technobabble
According to Chibnall, Whittaker was always his first choice, but that doesn’t mean our Jodie sailed into the role without a trial by fire. Chibnall wanted to make sure she could manage the technobabble that is a big part of The Doctor. Determined to get the best performance that she could, Whittaker made her own prop bomb just so she could practice defusing it with proper explanation in the audition. That’s just wonderfully bananas.
4. Her Reaction to Cosplayers is Adorable
Cosplay has a big influence on Doctor Who. One of the reasons Christopher Eccleston wanted his simple look was so that cosplayers would have an easy and cheap time replicating it. Within a short time of her debut, Whittaker was shown men and women already imitating her, and watching her as she sees their efforts is just beyond wonderful. Or, as she puts it, brilliant. Give it a watch and try not to smile.
3. She Wants to be a Role Model for Boys
One of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen in social media is that Whittaker’s Doctor is robbing young men of a good role model. That’s not how she sees it, though. In the same Blogtor Who interview where we learned about her prop bomb she said, “I am asked an awful lot about girls looking up to me as the first female Doctor, but just as important is boys looking up to women.” I couldn’t agree more.
2. Her Surprise Phone Call to David Tennant
David Tennant and Whittaker worked together on Broadchurch, so they’re fairly close. When Whittaker was cast, Chibnall told Tennant that the new, and as yet unnamed, Doctor was really nervous. Could they maybe call the former Tenth Doctor for some advice? Of course he said yes.
Then when her costar’s name popped up in his phone he asked, “What!? Why are you calling me?” He had no idea she was one of his successors. He told her, “This is the most amazing thing that can happen to you, and there’s only a few of us who know how it feels.” She’s clearly taking the iconic role very seriously.
1. She Broke a Literal Glass Ceiling
Some fans I’ve seen have said, “I just hope the ‘woman thing’ isn’t too central. Yeah, I think those lads are going to be disappointed.
In the latest trailer, a huge glass dome shatters around Whittaker before the camera pulls into her face. She simply says, “Whoops” as the titles say “It’s about time.” She literally breaks a glass ceiling, a common metaphor for the barriers that keep women from upper echelons of power. The new series is unapologetically upfront and personal with the change that Whittaker brings to the show. There’s no shying around, and everything looks fantastic. See you in October.