While the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in Doctor Who has been welcomed by most fans, there are some who are less happy with the news.
Hearing that the BBC sci-fi series was bringing in the first female Doctor, they suggested the move was an attempt to tick boxes and be politically correct rather than for genuine storytelling purposes, and they signalled their disapproval to incoming series showrunner Chris Chibnall (who cast Whittaker) accordingly.
However, one of Chibnall’s predecessors has now poured cold water on such claims, with Russell T Davies (who revived and ran Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010) refuting the idea that there was some grand conspiracy behind the move.
“This isn’t some big political strategy by the BBC,” Davies said in an interview for the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine (now on sale).
“This is one man, Chris, moving into the big chair and deciding that’s what he wants to do.”
Imagining the excitement that will generated by the upcoming change from Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor to Whittaker’s incarnation, he added: “There will be some kids sitting down on Christmas Day who don’t follow the news – and the Doctor will change into a woman and they won’t know.
“For those kids it will be as mysterious and as exciting as it was in 1966 when William Hartnell changed into Patrick Troughton. The programme has never been that original since.”
And considering all the other callbacks the Christmas special is including from that first regeneration story, we’d say it’s a legacy Doctor Who fans are very aware of. Fingers crossed Jodie Whittaker makes just as big an impact this December as Troughton did back in 1966 – even if a few fans do take a while to get used to it.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas