New Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker: “It’s a mistake to think that the only heroes are white men”

The Thirteenth Doctor discusses being the first woman to be cast in the iconic role

Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, HF)

Jodie Whittaker has spoken about how her Doctor Who casting is a triumph for diverse storytelling on TV, telling Radio Times, “It’s a mistake to think that the only heroes are white men.”


In the latest issue of Radio Times magazine, Whittaker speaks to broadcaster and writer Emma Freud about preparing for the role of the Thirteenth Doctor, and why she feels she doesn’t have to “defend” her casting against critics.

“I don’t want to defend the decision to have a female Doctor because there’s nothing to defend – I’m playing an alien,” she says. “Matt Smith wasn’t qualified. Peter Capaldi wasn’t qualified.

“They can challenge me about my academic qualifications – fine – but no one can be properly qualified for this job unless they’ve got two hearts and come from Gallifrey.”

The 36-year-old actor says that while the announcement of her casting may have been a major moment in the TV landscape, she hopes that in the future it will not be seen as remarkable.

“I truly hope that in a couple of years casting a woman in a traditionally male role won’t be so exciting – because when it’s not celebrated, it will mean it’s no longer unusual to have this sort of parity,” she said.

“Stories shouldn’t always be told from the same perspective,” Whittaker added. It’s a mistake to think that the only heroes are white men. I’ve spent the last nine months hanging out with my Doctor Who family – Tosin [Cole], Bradley [Walsh] and Mandip [Gill] – and those are very different points of view. I get to see the world for a fleeting moment through their eyes. How lucky am I? It’s the representation of humanity that matters. That’s The Conversation.”

In the Radio Times interview, out on Tuesday, Whittaker also discusses how she was initially nervous about playing on “one of the most intelligent characters on TV” despite not being academically successful at school, and how she helped design the Doctor’s new outfit with costume designer Ray Holman.


Doctor Who begins on Sunday 7th October at 6.45pm on BBC1