Who’s next

Jodie Whit­taker first fe­male star of ‘Doc­tor Who’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY JILL LAW­LESS

Bri­tish ac­tress Jodie Whit­taker was an­nounced Sun­day as the next star of the long-run­ning sci­ence fic­tion se­ries “Doc­tor Who’’ — the first woman to take a role that has been played by a dozen men over six decades.

Whit­taker, best known for play­ing the mother of a mur­dered boy in de­tec­tive drama “Broad­church,’’ will re­place Scot­tish ac­tor Pe­ter Ca­paldi at the end of the year, the BBC said.

Whit­taker is the 13th of­fi­cial in­car­na­tion of the Doc­tor, a gal­axy-hop­ping Time Lord from the planet Gal­lifrey who trav­els in the Tardis, a time ma­chine shaped like an old-fash­ioned Bri­tish po­lice tele­phone booth.

In a tes­ta­ment to the place “Doc­tor Who’’ holds in Bri­tain’s cul­tural life, the rev­e­la­tion was made on live tele­vi­sion af­ter the Wim­ble­don men’s ten­nis fi­nal. A film clip showed a mys­te­ri­ous hooded fig­ure — re­vealed to be Whit­taker — walk­ing through the woods.

“Doc­tor Who’’ ran from 1963 to 1989, and was re­vived to ac­claim in 2005. Its longevity is partly due to its flex­i­ble premise. The cen­tral char­ac­ter, known only as the Doc­tor, can travel across space and time and can re­gen­er­ate into new bod­ies — al­low­ing for end­less re­cast­ing of the role.

Spec­u­la­tion had been mount­ing that a woman would get the role, gen­er­at­ing ex­cite­ment from some fans and op­po­si­tion from oth­ers who feel that the char­ac­ter has been es­tab­lished as male.

Whit­taker, 35, has worked ex­ten­sively in Bri­tish tele­vi­sion and film. On the big screen, she played Anne Hath­away’s best friend in ro­man­tic drama “One Day’’ and bat­tled aliens in “At­tack the Block.’’

She said that be­com­ing the first fe­male Doc­tor “feels com­pletely over­whelm­ing, as a fem­i­nist, as a woman, as an ac­tor, as a hu­man.’’

“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gen­der,’’ she said. “Be­cause this is a re­ally ex­cit­ing time, and ‘Doc­tor Who’ rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing that’s ex­cit­ing about change.’’

AP PHOTO

Bri­tish ac­tress Jodie Whit­taker, ar­rives for South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2014, in this Jan. 27, 2014, file photo. The BBC has an­nounced Whit­taker is the next star of the long-run­ning sci­ence fic­tion TV se­ries “Doc­tor Who,” set to be­come the first woman to take the lead­ing ti­tle role.

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