The BBC put an end to months of speculation this weekend by finally announcing the identity of Doctor Who’s Thirteenth Doctor. And surprise: The show decided to make some history along the way.
That’s right, for the first time the iconic Time Lord will be played by a woman. Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker will officially take over the keys to the TARDIS following outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi’s departure this December. While it’s assumed that Whittaker’s first appearance will take place in the as-yet-untitled Christmas special in which Capaldi regenerates, that’s pretty much all we know.
And even then, we won’t see much. Traditionally, the new Doctor appears at the very end of the episode in which the character regenerates. (These days, that’s during a Christmas episode.) They maybe get to say a line or two. And that’s about it. Season 11 likely won’t start filming until sometime later this year, and probably won’t air until mid to late 2018. So it’ll be a good while before we get a real look at what Thirteen is like. (So prepare your expectations accordingly.)
It’ll have only taken 54 years, by the time this event comes to pass, but, wow. Talk about a game changer. And as someone who’s watched and loved Doctor Who for quite a long time – and who is also a woman – it’s difficult to articulate precisely why this means so much to me. But, whew, it does. It’s time. It’s so past time.
Watch the annoucement for yourselves below:
New headwriter and executive producer Chris Chibnall will also take over showrunning duties from outgoing head honcho Steven Moffat. So Doctor Who Season 11 will likely look quite a bit different, on the whole, than the season that just concluded earlier this summer. This isn’t actually that weird – when Moffat took over the show from Russell T. Davies, he also got a fresh start as showrunner, with a new Doctor and companion back in 2011.
“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris, and with every Whovian on this planet,” Whittaker said in an introductory statement. “It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”
And, not for nothing, but we do still have one episode left with outgoing Twelfth Doctor Capaldi. His final Christmas special, featuring special guest star David Bradley as the First Doctor, will air this December, and looks like it will be a particularly memorable send-off.
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