Doctor Who: Prime Minister welcomes first female Time Lord
The new Doctor has a friend in Downing Street, with Theresa May saying she is “pleased” by Jodie Whittaker’s casting.
The front door of Number 10 featured in a teaser trailing the new Doctor’s unveiling, leading many to speculate the next Time Lord would be female, just like its current incumbent.
Others to welcome Whittaker’s casting include Star Wars’ John Boyega, who predicted she would be “awesome“.
Actress Karen Gillan also signalled her approval with an enthusiastic tweet.
“Jodie Jodie Jodie Jodie Jodie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the former Doctor Who companion wrote on Twitter.
“Congratulations Jodie Whittaker!” tweeted Sylvester McCoy, who played the Doctor from 1987 to 1989. “One small step for women, one giant leap for womenkind.”
An average of 4.6 million viewers were watching BBC One when the identity of the new Doctor was revealed on Sunday afternoon.
Whittaker, 35, was seen approaching the Tardis in a clip broadcast at the end of the Wimbledon men’s singles final.
The news was covered extensively in Monday’s newspapers, several of which put Whittaker’s face on their front pages.
Amid the euphoria, though, came an element of confusion over where the actress fits into the Doctor Who chronology.
Whittaker, best known for her role in ITV drama Broadchurch, has been billed by the BBC as “the 13th Doctor”.
Yet Sir John Hurt played an iteration of the Doctor in the show’s 50th anniversary special, leading some fans to question whether Whittaker’s Time Lord will indeed be the character’s 13th incarnation.
According to the BBC’s Lizo Mzimba, however, Sir John does not have the same stature as the other actors to play the role, which in recent years have included Matt Smith, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi.
“In 2013, John Hurt played an incarnation of the Time Lord who was retroactively revealed to have come in the Doctor Who timeline between the eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, and the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston,” he explains.
“But Hurt’s ‘War Doctor’ rejected referring to himself as ‘The Doctor’, meaning the long-established numerical order was maintained.”
Before Broadchurch, Whittaker was seen opposite Peter O’Toole in the 2006 film Venus, alongside Boyega in 2011’s Attack the Block, and as a firefighter’s girlfriend in Sky 1’s The Smoke.
Before making her debut as the Doctor in the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, the Huddersfield native will be seen as a nurse who pretends to be a doctor in BBC One drama Trust Me.