In a momentous twist, the latest episode of Doctor Who revealed a previously unknown incarnation of time-travelling hero the Doctor – and for the first time in the sci-fi drama’s history, the character is being played by a black actor.
Specifically, Jo Martin (Back to Life, Holby City) plays the previously unseen regeneration of the Doctor, who is only revealed as a different version of Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord in later scenes of Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall’s Fugitive of the Judoon.
Whittaker herself made history in 2017 when she was unveiled as the first female version of the Doctor, a regularly face-changing character previously played on-screen exclusively by male actors including David Tennant, Matt Smith, Tom Baker and Peter Capaldi.
However, the new episode suggests that Martin’s Doctor (who is disguised as a human named Ruth Clayton for most of the story) is a very early version of the character who has someone been cut out of the memory of Whittaker’s incarnation, meaning that technically Whittaker would only be the second female Doctor.
Still, however it all lines up this is still a momentous day for the series. Sure, Martin’s Doctor isn’t taking over the show as would normally be the case with a new casting – instead, she’s more like when John Hurt’s repressed ‘War Doctor’ incarnation was invented for the 2013 anniversary special – but it’s still exciting to see Doctor Who move in new and interesting directions with its casting.
Looking ahead, we’re pretty sure this won’t be the last we see of this new old Doctor – and frankly, we can’t wait to see what else Martin has in store.
Doctor Who continues on BBC One at 7:10pm on Sundays