Doctor Who has become a cemented part of international pop culture since its revival in 2005, a continuation of the original 1963-1989 run. Tardis boxes, Daleks and companions have become a part of the lexicon, and each new iteration of the Doctor has been met with more and more acclaim. The is part of an alien race called the Time Lords, all with the ability to undergo a transformation into a new physical form and a somewhat different personality upon the onset of grave injury or old age. This has been used as a plot device to explain each change in the lead actor since the first season. The current and twelfth Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi, who has done so since 2013. He announced back in January that he would be leaving the role at the end of this season, immediately sparking speculation on who would replace him. There had previously been fan interest in having an ethnic and/or female Doctor, something that’s never been done.
Yesterday, BBC 1 officially announced that Jodie Whittaker would be stepping in as the Thirteenth Doctor, beginning in the Christmas special later this year. Also, longtime showrunner and writer Steven Moffat, who’s been with the series since 2005, has announced that he will be leaving as well. BBC has tapped Broadchurch showrunner and Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall to take his place.
Whittaker is known for her appearances in Broadchurch, Attack the Block and Black Mirror and beat out many other contenders for the new Doctor, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Broadchurch, The Iron Lady), Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise), Ben Whishaw (Spectre, The Danish Girl), Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Alice Through the Looking Glass), and Sacha Dhawan (Iron Fist, Mr. Selfridge). This casting comes at the perfect time as there’s been a recent push for more high-profile, female-backed projects, such as the recent box-office smash Wonder Woman and increased female presence and emphasis in such films and TV series as Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sweet/Vicious, Sense8 and Beauty and the Beast among many, many others. The time couldn’t be more ripe for the first female Doctor, and the world will be overflowing with anticipation until her debut.
Season 11 of Doctor Who is expected to premiere sometime in 2018.