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Doctor Who: Everything we know about Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor

From a new accent and Tardis to a full TEAM of companions, we’re collecting all the info about the Thirteenth Doctor ahead of her first series in autumn 2018
By Huw Fullerton

The Thirteenth Doctor is in!

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Following the announcement last year that Jodie Whittaker will play the first female incarnation of the Doctor in BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who, fans around the world have desperately scrabbled to learn anything at all about the mysterious new Time Lord taking over world-saving duties this year.

Details surrounding the new Doctor are scarce – for now – but now that Whittaker has finally taken over the Tardis keys from Peter Capaldi in the 2017 Christmas special, we've collected everything we DO know about our exciting Doctor 13.

This article will be updated regularly.


What will happen in Jodie Whittaker's first Doctor Who episode?

The plot of the Thirteenth Doctor's first adventure is currently unknown, but rumour has it the story is set in Sheffield and will presumably follow Whittaker's attempts to track down her lost Tardis while still adjusting to her new body. Plus, you know, there's that whole "certain death-by-falling" cliffhanger she's going to have to think her way out of.

Some fans do have a theory about what we could see happening in Whittaker's first episodes, which you can read about here but can be summed up simply as "she's stuck on Earth and can't find the Tardis".

The Doctor will also probably meet her new companions Graham, Ryan and Yasmin (played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill) during the first episode.

“When it’s all put together in one series I hope it will blow the audience’s minds as much as it blows mine when I read each new script," Whittaker said in a recent interview.

“It’s never going to feel like [other jobs], because it’s this job and it’s amazing. It’s a world away from any part I’ve played before.”


How long will Jodie Whittaker's first series be?

It's been revealed that the new series will mark a slight change to Doctor Who's series format, with the recent trend for twelve 45-minute episodes per series scrapped in favour of ten 50-minute episodes (with the first of these extended to 60 minutes to fully introduce the new characters).

However, there are now some rumours that the series could be a little longer after an official advert for the series' merchandising arm suggested there'd be over 11 hours of new content this - as it stands, the above episode organisation would only add up to eight and a half hours.

Our theory? That number could include an as-yet-unannounced Christmas special, or behind-the-scenes videos in the style of Doctor Who Extra. You can read more about this intriguing detail here.


What will happen in the new Doctor Who series?

BBC, Getty, TL

At the moment the BBC is keeping its cards close to its chest, but we can assume the series will show the Doctor adjusting to her new form and personality, before jetting off for more adventures in time and space with her Tardis team.

According to rumours and set photos, one story will be set in segregation-era America and deal with the true story of Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks, while another will be set in the 17th century and centre on themes of witchcraft (probably including guest star Alan Cumming, below, as Stuart King James I).

Supposedly the new series will have a fairly even split between episodes set in the past, episodes set in the future and episodes on present-day Earth, with various storylines centring on Whittaker's companions' home town of Sheffield.


What will the new Doctor wear?

There’s no sign of Peter Capaldi’s sonic glasses, but the new Time Lord’s recently-revealed outfit includes deep blue trousers and socks, light brown braces and a black shirt with yellow, green and red stripes. And to top it off, the costume comes with a swish large grey-blue coat, with the same coloured stripe pattern on its edges. And check out that earring! We can spot stars and a possible handshake symbol in there - how about you?

A far cry from the black hoody seen in Whittaker’s announcement video, her overall outfit is a typically colourful and eccentric look for the Doctor - and it's chock-full of references and callbacks to previous Doctors, as we explain in more detail here.

For her first episode, though, we expect Whittaker will be stuck wearing Capaldi's old suit for a while, as has become the tradition in recent years.

“Ray [Holman] and myself designed the costume from scratch,” Whittaker told Doctor Who Magazine in a new interview.

“We’re old friends, because we did five years of Broadchurch together, and it’s an incredibly collaborative relationship, really creative.

“He was able to take a sometimes bizarre explanation from me and then offer up exactly what I was trying to articulate. I’d have an idea and then he’d take it to the next level. My acorn of an idea would turn into an oak tree as soon as Ray got hold of it.

“For me, none of it is [high-street available],” she added.

“I did try on a T-shirt that was off the peg and I really liked it, but there were elements of it that didn’t quite work. It kind of went through so many forms in Ray’s workshop – he cut it to the right shape and put the print on the front.”


What’s the Thirteenth Doctor like?

Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor (BBC, HF)

Each incarnation of the Doctor from William Hartnell to the present day has had their own unique personality and quirks, while still maintaining the core nature of the character – and while we haven't seen much of Whittaker in action, her character's reaction to her new gender in her regeneration scene gives us a brief flavour.

Catching sight of herself in a reflective surface, the Thirteenth Doctor exclaims "Oh, brilliant!" - a far cry from the melancholy exit for Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, and perhaps a suggestion of this new Doctor's more positive outlook.

“In such a tiny moment, she’s given us the Doctor we’ve always known, but in, to say the least, a new way,” ex-showrunner Steven Moffat said of the actor's first scene in the role. “We are in for a very exciting run.”


What does Jodie Whittaker's Doctor sound like?

Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in Doctor Who with a speech bubble (BC Pictures, PJ)

She's Northern! Fans had long hoped that the new Doctor would keep Whittaker's native Yorkshire accent, with a whopping 85% of RadioTimes.com readers believing Doctor 13 should hail from the UK's upper regions, and their hopes were fulfilled in her first scene.

“You’ll spend more time in that first episode reacting to her accent than her gender,” Moffat told SFX magazine. “It’ll be, ‘Oh, what a big fuss… oh, she’s funny, isn’t she?… Yorkshire? Why’s she got a Yorkshire accent?’ That’s going to be it.”

“There have been various dialects, and I knew coming into it that there wasn’t a rule that you had to speak a certain way," Whittaker added. "I auditioned in my accent, and at no point did anyone say to do anything different. In fact they said, ‘Use your own voice.’”

Lots of planets have a North, after all.


What happens in Jodie Whittaker’s regeneration scene?

Well, you can watch it again above, but if you don't fancy that here's a quick summary: Following her regeneration into a new female form, the Doctor barely has a chance to catch her breath before the Tardis has a critical failure, throwing her out of the doors as the console room explodes following damage sustained by the regeneration energy.

Plummeting to Earth, the Doctor can only look on as her burning Tardis disappears, her last hope of a soft landing literally going up in smoke...


Will Jodie Whittaker get a new Tardis? 

Included in Jodie Whittaker's costume reveal was the new design for the exterior of the Tardis, with the Doctor's time-travelling Police Box getting a bit of a makeover including a new sign (white on black, in keeping with some designs of the Tardis from the 1970s), new handles and a new paint job. To see a more in-depth look at all the changes, you can read our breakdown here.

Matt Smith introducing the 2012-2017 version of the Tardis interior

And given these exterior changes, it stands to reason that a new Tardis interior set is incoming as well, especially given that the Christmas special ends with the console room being completely destroyed in a series of explosions. Hopefully we'll have some more details on this soon.


Who are Jodie Whittaker's new companions?

Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will have a lot of new faces joining her on her new adventures when she takes over the Tardis, with long-rumoured companion Bradley Walsh joining the cast of Doctor Who in the role of Graham and newcomers Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill also enlisting in the Tardis crew as Ryan and Yasmin. Sharon D Clarke has also joined the series in a "returning role".

“The new Doctor is going to need new friends," showrunner Chris Chibnall said in a statement. We’re thrilled to welcome Mandip, Tosin and Bradley to the Doctor Who family. They’re three of Britain’s brightest talents and we can’t wait to see them dive into brand new adventures with Jodie’s Doctor. Alongside them, we’re delighted that Sharon D Clarke is also joining the show.”

Jodie Whittaker said: “I am so excited to share this huge adventure with Mandip, Tosin and Bradley. It’s a dream team!”

Bradley Walsh added: “I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor. Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself. I was petrified but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan. I then queued up for ages to get into the Carlton picture house in Watford to watch the great Peter Cushing appear as the Doctor in a full length feature film made in glorious colour. Am I thrilled to be part of this whole ground breaking new dawn for the Doctor?? Oh yes!”

Mandip Gill said: “I am over the moon to be joining the Doctor Who family. This is an iconic show with an amazing fanbase and I look forward to everything that brings. Certain roles seem unattainable and this is one of those, so much so I didn’t believe it to be true for the first few weeks. To be working alongside the likes of Jodie, Bradley and my old friend Tosin is thrilling. This show is worlds away from the work I’ve done previously and that’s the part that excites me the most.”

Tosin Cole said: “I’m grateful and excited to be a part of this journey with the team. I’m looking forward to jumping in this Doctor Who universe.”


What other actors will star with Jodie Whittaker?

Alan Cumming and Jodie Whittaker (Getty, BBC, HF)

While the BBC has remained tight-lipped about any upcoming guest stars, Alan Cumming recently revealed that he'd be playing James I in an upcoming episode, which is rumoured to involve a witchcraft storyline.

Would I Lie to You star and comedian Lee Mack also recently revealed that he has a small part in the new series, after lobbying Head Writer Chris Chibnall for a cameo.


When will Jodie Whittaker’s first full series of Doctor Who be on TV?

 

Whittaker will have to wait a while before beginning time-spanning adventures in earnest, as it has been revealed her first full series won't air until autumn 2018 (almost certainly some time in October, though there's no official word yet).

Still, we’re sure it will be well worth the wait. And in the meantime we have so much still to learn about her...

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