Over the weekend The BBC made the long overdue decision to break the 53-year streak of only choosing white males for the lead role of their long running science fiction series Doctor Who. The network announced, to the joy of most of the internet, that Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the 13th regeneration of the Doctor, the two-hearted ancient alien who travels through time & space in the series.
The series had already made it clear over the years that Timelords, the race the Doctor belongs to, can change their race and gender when they regenerate a new body after their current one is close to death.
All that being said, as with all types of progressive change, there were many on the internet that expressed their anger that the role was going to a woman. Right away hashtags like #NotMyDoctor and #NurseWho began to appear on social media outlets.
Those complaints came to the attention of The BBC, who has responded to those that were not happy with their casting choice.
Some viewers contacted us unhappy that Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the new Doctor.
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.
Essentially the BBC response boils down to ‘we heard you, but we don’t care if it angers you.’
Whittaker will make her debut as the Doctor at the end of the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special where Peter Capaldi’s version of the Doctor will finally regenerate after injuries sustained in the recent series 10 finale. Series 11 will be Whittaker’s full chance to play the character on a regular basis, which will debut in 2018.