The Radio Times TV 100 is all about the last twelve months, and looking back on a year in television it was very hard to find someone more befitting of our top spot than Jodie Whittaker.
A pivotal character in Chris Chibnall’s third and final series of Broadchurch, Jodie showed her versatility as a performer, moving from the frenetic grief she exuded as a bereft mother in series one to trusted counsel to another victim of crime in series three. Without her Broadchurch could not have been the success it was – a thrilling whodunit that kept the nation on the edge of their seats for three consecutive series and proved that event television is far from over.
And so it was no surprise that Jodie went on to be cast as the lead character in her own BBC four-part drama, Trust Me.
A fantastic year by any actor’s standards but perhaps not enough to top our list, until the 16th July 2017 – the day that Jodie Whittaker became a worldwide superstar in a minute-long performance in which she spoke no words at all.
“Introducing Jodie Whittaker, the 13th Doctor.”
An intergalactic star was born!
To become the lead character of the BBC’s global sci-fi hit would make any actor’s year, but to become the first female to be cast in the iconic role in the show’s 54-year history made global headlines.
There are few British actors who can ever find themselves plastered across the front pages of almost every newspaper in the English-speaking world – even fewer who can achieve such buzz without a word being uttered in a new role on screen.
Speculation and excitement around the 13th Doctor is deafening thanks to social media, forums, fan blogs and newspaper leader columns and incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall’s decision to cast the first woman in the role has ensured that Doctor Who – and not just its lead character – is regenerating and will surely continue to help see Jodie Whittaker’s star rise with it.
We’ll probably not hear much from camp Whittaker over the next few months. But on Christmas Day there will be a female Doctor for the very first time (albeit for a few seconds) as Peter Capaldi’s character regenerates in the episode’s final scene. It is at this moment that Whittaker will officially be handed a five-decade old baton that will see her life and career change forever.
There is no more exciting story that’s unfolded in British television in the past twelve months, and there’s plenty more to come.
That’s why we here at Radio Times have put Jodie Whittaker top of our inaugural list.
Congratulations to everyone in our top 100, and here’s to another brilliant twelve months of television!