The casting of Jodie Whittaker as the new star of Doctor Who this summer took many fans by surprise, with her status as the first female Doctor kept under wraps for months before being unveiled during the Wimbledon tennis final.
However, some fans have since pointed out that there were some hints towards the Time Lord’s gender change in the most recent series of the BBC sci-fi drama, with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor hoping the future could be “all girl” in series finale the Doctor Falls and previously explaining his species ability to change gender to companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) in World Enough and Time.
“We’re the most civilised civilisation in the universe,” he said. “We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.”
And of course, even before that we had the fact that the Doctor’s longtime nemesis the Master (previously played by Roger Delgado, Antony Ainley, Eric Roberts and John Simm) had regenerated into a woman herself in 2014, Michelle Gomez’s Missy – a choice that departing head writer Steven Moffat now says was the catalyst for Whittaker’s casting.
“I mean I suppose we’ve been heading in this direction for a while with the Master becoming a woman,” Moffat told The Showbiz Lion at the Edinburgh TV festival.
“I always thought the moment the Master became a woman, the Doctor would NEVER allow that to stand without having a go at the same.”
So clearly, a female Doctor was written in the stars for years – and Moffat seems pretty pleased that it’s finally happened.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful. I think it’s thrilling,” he said.
“But never mind the fact everyone’s talking about how it’s a woman – it’s Jodie Whittaker! That’s the great thing. Jodie Whittaker, one of the best actors of her generation, is playing the doctor.
He concluded: “I’ve already seen her first little tiny bit and it’s brilliant.”
Sounds like a truly masterful enterprise – in more ways than one.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas