We Asked Jodie Whittaker About Becoming A Whovian For Life
We’re mere weeks away from the Doctor Who Season 11 premiere, the first full episode to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. Ahead of the big day, we chatted with Whittaker and asked how she was feeling about becoming a part of the Who universe, which is basically a job for life. Here’s what the Doctor had to say.
Being the Doctor is a kind of lifelong role like being Luke Skywalker or Carrie Bradshaw in that it’s difficult for that character to be eclipsed by future roles. I was wondering what your feelings are about that—are you coming into this with that on your mind?
Jodie Whittaker: You know full well that once you take on this role, it’s a role for life and it doesn’t matter how many Doctors regenerated. For the rest of my career and the rest of my life, I will always be a member of the Whovian family and so that’s a wonderful thing. You’re always going to be embraced by the fans of the show. Fans for 55 years. All the hard work of gaining an audience has been done well before I played the role.
When I first got cast, someone said something about being worried about typecasting. I don’t know how you can be typecast as an alien, there haven’t been many scripts I’ve read where the things I’m required to do in this I’ll be being cast like this again. To me it’s a turn of events that I could never have predicted and it’s really exciting.
But to be always known as it—that’s brilliant and also knowing that these actors went on to have very rich and exciting careers in other projects is also exciting. To know that this is certainly, at this moment, the biggest thing in my career but that this could be steps to another wonderful role that I couldn’t imagine playing.
The sci-fi genre is quite crowded these days, but Doctor Who has always stood out for its optimism in the face of both the fictional and real world dystopian downtrend. Is that meaningful for you, to represent a kind of hope for the future, especially at a time like this?
I think one of the things that’s really important about the show is that it’s for everyone. If you’re sitting around the television with your seven-year-old niece or 70-year-old grandfather, it can engage and take both of you on a journey—maybe for different reasons, but it’s for everyone and it’s aimed at no one in particular. In a way, it is its own genre.
Also, I love that the Doctor is a continual pacifist, which I suppose is a bit rare for the genre that this fits into. The desire to outsmart and to outthink and to be a continued optimist I think is needed in this society, particularly with what goes on in real life. It’s a welcomed hour of television to take you out of the norm, sometimes.
The new season of Doctor Who (and Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor) debut on October 7.