Jodie is the Thirteenth Doctor
Doctor Who fans are divided over its revolutionary first female lead. Get to know the lady behind the headlines – golden girl Jodie Whittaker
The internet practically broke last week when the long-awaited new Doctor was announced.
The revelation of who will play the alien time-traveller is always thrilling for Doctor Who fans, but what made this more of a talking point is the fact that the new Time Lord is a woman – the first in the show’s 54-year history.
The announcement was made after the Wimbledon Men’s Final and, within minutes, Jodie Whittaker overtook Roger Federer as the top social media trend.
Sadly – and perhaps shockingly for 2017 – a large number of fans were outraged that a female could take the role.
‘Who is that woman? What total rubbish. I shall never watch it again. #jodiewhittaker #travesty,’ one fan fumed.
‘The Doctor never has and never will be a woman,’ said another.
Yet the self-confessed feminist – who will replace Peter Capaldi at the end of this year’s Christmas special – held her own, and asked those critics ‘not to be scared by my gender’, adding, ‘This is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.
‘The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not one to be afraid of.’
Celebs rushed to offer their approval and congrats (see bottom right).
The BBC stood by their woman, with Doctor Who’s
new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, releasing a statement saying, ‘I knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman, and we’re thrilled to have secured our No.1 choice. Her audition simply blew us all away.’
Even a writer for political and current affairs magazine New Statesman said he’d previously been against the idea, but in a huge U-turn is thrilled to have a female Time Lord.
Jonn Elledge explained, ‘I’ve looked around at all the manbabies whining about what a terrible betrayal of their childhoods [a female lead] would be, and decided I didn’t want to be one of those people.’
He continued, ‘Representation matters: a female Doctor will tell little girls they can play the lead, just as Wonder Woman told them they could be a superhero. There’s a video going round Twitter at the moment of a girl watching the BBC as the casting is revealed, completely silent until the very end. Only then does she turn to the camera, with the biggest grin you’ve ever seen, and scream, “The new Doctor’s a girl!” That is why this is a great day, right there.’
Jodie, 35, once said she loved having a ‘chameleon face’, which allowed her to go about her day-to-day life unrecognised. But that’ll all change now. So who is she?
Brought up in Skelmanthorpe, just outside Huddersfield, she’s the daughter of a businessman and a nurse.
Jodie knew she wanted to be an actress from a young age, ever since she used to line up her dolls and make them ‘speak’ in different voices.
After school, she took a year out to go travelling before applying to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. When she graduated, she left with that year’s gold medal award. Jodie was immediately cast in The Storm, the first new play written for Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.
Unlike many actors, she’s rarely been out of work. ‘I’ve been really jammy,’ she’s said. ‘I’ve never had huge bouts of not working, Emmerdale. but that is nothing but luck.’
Her nephew was three-year-old Harry Whittaker – the child actor who played Marlon and Rhona’s son, Leo Dingle, in
Tragically, Harry, who had Down’s syndrome, died in July 2014.
It was at drama school that Jodie met her husband, American actor Christian Contreras. They married aged 26, and had their first child in 2015.
Sworn to secrecy over her new role, Christian was the only person she told about it. They codenamed it Clooney.
Last week, Jodie explained, ‘George [Clooney] is such an iconic guy, and we just thought, what an iconic name.’
Jodie will make her debut as The Doctor at Christmas
Hubby Christian was the only person Jodie told about the Doctor Who role