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July 17, 2017

Jodie Whittaker Is The New ‘Doctor Who’

By now you know that in an inspired casting move, the BBC has cast Jodie Whittaker as the iconic Doctor in the upcoming season of “Doctor Who.” There’s been much ballyhoo over the fact that Whittaker will be the first female Doctor, and the actress is certainly feeling the attention.

“It feels completely overwhelming; as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be,” she said in a statement (via BBC). “It feels incredible… I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because 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 a fearful one.

Almost entirely passed over amidst the discussion surrounding Whittaker’s gender, however, is the fact that Whittaker is, in her own right, a fantastic pick to play the Doctor. Unlike the last Doctor, Peter Capaldi, Whittaker is something of an unknown in this context. Anyone who’d seen an episode of “The Thick of It” knew just what they were in for with a Capaldi Doctor. Whittaker has never taken a role like this before, at least not one that’s gotten much attention. It’ll be fascinating to see what she does with it.

Known primarily for starring alongside previous Doctor Who David Tennant in the BBC’s atmospheric series “Broadchurch,” Whittaker has also given solid supporting performances in films like “Attack the Block” and “Black Mirror” episode “The Entire History of You.” To this point, she’s been a great ensemble player.

She’s not an obvious choice for the role — for the past couple of weeks, rumor had it that the role would be going to “Fleabag” star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, an actress who, unlike Whittaker, is known for her quirky, mannered performances. Bridge’s persona and acting style are a much clearer fit for the Doctor, who is typically a ticky, oddball personality. Whittaker, on the other hand, is not known as a comedic actress. “Broadchurch,” her highest-profile project to date, had her playing a bereaved mom for three seasons.

That said, try and watch this one minute teaser and come out the other end thinking that Whittaker won’t be a perfect Doctor:

She’s got the physicality, the sense of humor, and the look of a classic Doctor. She’ll bring her acting chops from more serious projects to the table and get the opportunity to stretch her comedic muscles a bit. Waller-Bridge would’ve been a phenomenal Doctor, but sometimes the best choice is a less obvious one. Whittaker is a great actress, she holds the screen well, and has long deserved a starring role in a prominent series. Now she’s got one, and I’m betting that she blows us all away.

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