Doctor Who recap: How did Peter Capaldi regenerate into Jodie Whittaker?

Is your memory of the last episode of Doctor Who a little hazy? Remind yourself of the moment the Thirteenth Doctor first appeared on screen

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In anticipation of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who series 11 debut in The Woman Who Fell to Earth, you may be wondering how and why she became the Thirteenth Doctor in the first place.


For a reminder of her regeneration scene, plus everything you need to know about how Peter Capaldi transformed into Jodie Whittaker, check out our handy refresher’s guide.

Who played the Doctor before Jodie Whittaker?

That would be Peter Capaldi, who is best known for playing sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, and who played the Twelfth Doctor from 2014-2017.

Initially, his Doctor was slightly more abrasive than Whittaker’s – more angry, more, well, Scottish – but mellowed into something kinder and warmer as his tenure progressed. Accompanying him on this journey was companion Clara Oswald (Victoria’s Jenna Coleman), and second companion Bill Potts, played by relative newcomer Pearl Mackie during Capaldi’s final series in 2017.

How did Peter Capaldi regenerate?

The simple explanation is that Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor was forced to regenerate by two of his oldest enemies: the Master (played across two incarnations by John Simm and Michelle Gomez) and the Cybermen.

The fatal event itself happened during 2017 finale The Doctor Falls, where the Doctor not only had to come to terms with the fact that his companion Bill had been turned into a Cyberman, but also had to defend a village (which is itself on a huge ship) from a Cyberman invasion.

He eventually goes out fighting, having stopped the invasion – but not without being shot several times by Cybermen along the way. He is taken to the Tardis by Bill (who, as mentioned before, is now a Cyberman, but is cured by an alien introduced earlier in the series – it’s a long story), where he refuses to regenerate.

Instead, he lands the Tardis in a snowy field, where he’s confronted by a surprise – the first incarnation of the Doctor, portrayed by David Bradley.

This cliffhanger leads into Christmas 2017 special Twice Upon a Time, where together the two Doctors face their pending regenerations. The episode ends with the Twelfth Doctor managing to say goodbye to some old friends before finally stepping into his Tardis, giving a moving speech, and regenerating.

What happened during Jodie Whittaker’s first moments? And how did she fall out of her Tardis ?

Having just regenerated from Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker’s first moments as the Thirteenth Doctor feature her taking a look at her reflection and remarking, “Aw, brilliant!”

Then she presses a button on the Tardis console, causing the entire ship to explode – a result of it being damaged during the Doctor’s dramatic regeneration. Chaos follows – with the Doctor being thrown around her Tardis before eventually being thrown out of it completely.

The rest, as they say, is The Woman Who Fell to Earth.

Doctor Who series 11 airs on Sundays on BBC1


This article was originally published on 7 October 2018