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 having now seen Whittaker in action we can definitely say she’s a worthy addition to the list of Doctors past.
Intensely moral, a little distracted and bursting with energy, she’s both the Doctor we know and a new version of the Time Lord, and we can’t wait to see more of her incarnation as her adventures continue.
“It’s a testament to the energy and focus that Jodie has brought to Doctor Who that it’s hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins,”BBC Drama controller Piers Wenger told Radio Times.
“She said from the start that she could only do it her way and so it has become.
He added: “Gone is the daffiness and idiosyncrasy of her predecessors in favour of a Doctor with energy, spark and relatability.”
And series showrunner Chris Chibnall has also given us a more in-depth description of Whittaker’s incarnation.
“She’s absolutely the Doctor,” the screenwriter told Radio Times. “But there’s a new calibration, a new mixture of Doctorishness.
“The Thirteenth Doctor is incredibly lively, warm, funny, energetic, inclusive – she’s the greatest friend you could wish to have as your guide around the universe.”
For her part, Whittaker has recently said that her Doctor”speak[s] at a hundred miles an hour” – and apparently, she shares some similarities with a former incarnation….
“She has a similar energy to Matt Smith’s Doctor,” new companion Mandip Gill revealed. “Very high energy. Jodie has that about her Doctor.”
Who are Jodie Whittaker’s new companions?
Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC)
“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.”
Jodie Whittaker in a Doctor Who series 11 poster (BBC)
She has, and it looks very different. Created by series designer Arwel Jones, the new screwdriver has a more traditionally sci-fi look than some recent versions, and appears to have been made from scratch by Whittaker’s Doctor.
The new incarnation of the gadget has a curved handle that’s slightly separate from the main screwdriver, containing stripped lights to match the LED light on the end. It’s coloured silver with dark cracks through it, and fits neatly in Whittaker’s hand.
The toy version of Whittaker’s sonic screwdriver (BBC)
In another interesting change, the light on the new screwdriver is an orange-y colour – different from the lighter blues and greens of more recent versions of the gadget, though other colours have appeared in the series’ run – while the LED itself appears more organic and crystalline, perhaps hinting at the source of the screwdriver’s power.
“It’s a privilege to have been asked to redesign the iconic sonic screwdriver for the Thirteenth Doctor and a new generation of audiences,” designer Arwel Jones said in a release.
“I can’t wait for people to see how the Doctor acquires it!”
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.
“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 does Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor sound like?
Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in Doctor Who (BBC Pictures)
She’s Northern! Fans had long expressed the belief 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 have now been fulfilled.
“It’s a body with a voice, and that voice is mine,” Whittaker said at a screening of her first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth.
“I think that if I was RP [received pronunciation] or come from London and had chosen to have a Yorkshire accent it would have a real meaning behind it in a way. But it doesn’t in this instance because it’s me. And it’s lovely because a lot of the time when I am working with dialect coaches or doing things, it’s hard to focus.”
And the Doctor’s new accent makes sense – lots of planets have a North, after all.
“In episode one that’s all me,” Whittaker told the crowd at the Doctor Who premiere in Sheffield on Monday 24th September. “I’m really proud of that.”
However, in some cases she gave way for the stunt team when it was a bit too dangerous for her.
“There are couple of moments in the series where it was deemed not appropriate that I chucked myself out of somewhere,” she explained.
“We have a really amazing stunt coordinator and my stunt double Belinda is amazing so there are moments where it needed a professional.
“Actually it was amazing, and the wonderful thing about the Doctor is that it’s all about self-belief in so many ways. You don’t have these outlandish or other-worldly skills. Physically you have a body like anyone else and you can or can’t do certain things.”
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…
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.
And during series 11 Whittaker’s Doctor also got her hands on a new interior for her Tardis, which was revealed in episode two (aka The Ghost Monument) and is based around strange “time crystals” and endlessly shifting walls.