Playing the lead role in Doctor Who is not like playing the lead role in any other show. It’s a huge job — a big commitment. And that’s without the pressure of being the show’s first female Doctor.
This is why, typically, the outgoing Doctor gives their successor some advice. So what was Peter Capaldi’s tip for Jodie Whittaker?
“I said just enjoy it because it’s absolutely incredible,” he revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “She’ll be fabulous. It was lovely to speak to her and see how much affection and passion she has for the show. She’s going to be brilliant.”
Speaking on the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic Con, Capaldi went even further in his praise of Whittaker, saying that, “it’s really, really thrilling to know [Doctor Who] is in the hands of somebody who cares for it so deeply and is going to do really, really exciting things with it. She’s a great choice.”
“There are so many press articles about a backlash within the Doctor Who fandom against the casting of a female Doctor, he said. “There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionally conservative Doctor Who fandom has utterly embraced that change. Completely. 80% approval on social media, not that I check these things obsessively…
“And yet so many people want to pretend there’s a problem — there isn’t. In fact, it strikes me that Doctor Who fans are more excited about the idea of a brilliant actress playing the part, than the fact she’s a woman. It’s been incredibly progressive and enlightened and that’s what really happened. I wish that every single journalist writing the alternative, would shut the hell up.”
At San Diego Comic Con earlier this week, Fifth Doctor Peter Davison divided opinion when he said that the casting choice was a “loss of a role model for boys, who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for.” However, he also added that Whittaker would do a “wonderful job” in the role.
Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord will regenerate into Jodie Whittaker Thirteenth Doctor in Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time.