This iconic Jodie Whittaker photo was actually taken by a well known Doctor Who actor

"It was a beautiful, perfect moment"

Jodie Whittaker's Doctor and the new Doctor Who logo (BBC, HF)

One of the most iconic images from Doctor Who series 11 was actually taken on the spur of the moment by Jodie Whittaker’s co-star Shaun Dooley using his smartphone, it has been revealed.

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The famous silhouette photo sees Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and her Tardis at the top of a mountain as the sun sets. The Doctor stands sideways from the camera, her coat swinging behind her.

Shaun Dooley, Epzo, Doctor Who (BBC, KB)
Shaun Dooley as Epzo in Doctor Who

You might assume that this shot was carefully staged or created using CGI. But according to actor Shaun Dooley, he was the one who snapped the image in South Africa while playing the role of Epzo in the second episode of series 11, titled The Ghost Monument.

Dooley told Doctor Who Magazine how the photo came about while filming on a road to the top of Paarl Mountain.

“As we went round this corner, I suddenly saw the Tardis on top of this mountain range. There was nobody else there and it looked amazing. I’m a big Doctor Who fan so I was like, ‘Stop the car, stop the car,’ so I could take some landscape pictures of the Tardis.”

He recalled seeing a South African boom op “really beautifully backlist at the top of this huge rock”.

“I’ve taken a lot of pictures in my life in silhouette with back lighting – I really love that sort of thing – so I was like, ‘Jodie, Jodie, Jodie, go and stand up there.’ I got her to face sideways, facing out to my right.”

Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who silhouette crop

Even then, he knew he was about to capture something special.

“I don’t normally get this, but it was a really odd moment where I knew I was going to get the shot I wanted,” he explained. “I felt a wind coming in from the side and I said to Jodie, ‘Keep looking that way. Don’t move.’ The wind came and it just lifted her coat up. I went click on my iPhone, and I was like, ‘I’ve got it!’ It was a beautiful, perfect moment. I showed Jodie the picture and she was like, ‘Oh wow.’ Honestly, I was so chuffed.”

With Whittaker’s approval, he then sent the image to executive producers Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens.

“I said to them, ‘I think I’ve got a great picture of our Doctor.’ And they were like, ‘This is amazing!’ Then publicity came on board… and now I’ve got a cup and a T-shirt with it on.”

He added: “The image is everywhere! I’m going to get it framed.”

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This article was originally published on 10 January 2019


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