The new Doctor Who is a woman!
And at once, fans on all sides of the spectrum have erupted. Those who’ve been pushing for female representation are jubilant, while those who oppose change are affronted and upset.
Meanwhile, a third group are annoyed that the Doctor’s casting isn’t even more diverse – would it kill the franchise to hire someone who isn’t whiter than vanilla yoghurt?
Regardless, the debate rages surrounding Jodie Whittaker’s gender. Is this a case of the BBC bowing to fan pressure? Is it a token gesture just to appease those who yearn for a more inclusive science fiction show?
This debate isn’t going away any time soon, but in the rush to defend or reject the casting of a woman as the new Doctor Who, many are overlooking the person at the center of all this.
Even a brief look at Jodie Whittaker’s acting portfolio shows that she’s actually a really great choice for the role, regardless of gender.
If you’re in any doubt about Whittaker’s acting chops, particularly when it comes to running from/fighting evil alien monsters, you’ll need to watch Attack the Block.
Yes, by the way, that is John Boyega. This movie not only gave the new Doctor Who her first sci-fi role, it was also instrumental in the early career of Finn from The Force Awakens. If an alum from this movie is good enough for Star Wars, they’ll also be good enough for the Tardis.
After all, if there’s anything that a Doctor needs to be good at during this era of movie making, it’s acting against monsters and aliens that, half the time, are merely tennis balls on sticks. Whittaker can do that, with ease, and that makes her an excellent choice.
It’s also more than a little likely that Whittaker got this role because of her previous work with the new Doctor Who showrunner, Chris Chibnall.
Chibnall’s written a few Doctor Who episodes over time, but in all honesty, they haven’t exactly been the best of the show’s history. Similarly, his work on Torchwood is mixed, so it’s safe to say that he didn’t get the job based on his science fiction chops.
Instead, Chibnall’s big success is Broadchurch, a show in which Whittaker played an incredibly important central character.
And, yes, again, you did spot some key faces there. David Tennant, a former Doctor, is one of the main characters of the show. Arthur Darvill, who played companion Rory Pond Williams, also appears in the show.
British media feels like a pretty small world, huh?
Chibnall has spoken out, saying that Jodie Whittaker topped his list of potential candidates to play the Doctor right from the start. Everything he’s done, all the plans that are in motion, are based around this specific actor, and her particular talents and delivery.
In other words, The Doctor’s gender is secondary: what matters most is the woman playing the character. Jodie Whittaker has been chosen because she’s the right person for the job at this particular moment, having proven herself in the past.
So if you, or, more likely, someone you know, is complaining that this is some deliberate attempt at political correctness, it’s important for everyone to remember that Jodie Whittaker is not just a woman.
She’s an actor, and a very good one, who has won a role because of her significant talent.
That’s why people are optimistic for the future of the show, and it’s what will ensure that Doctor Who continues to be at the forefront of science fiction media.