Today saw a momentous moment in Doctor Who history unfold: Jodie Whittaker was unveiled as the first woman to officially play the Doctor in 54 years of the show. She’s now also spoken out for the first time, offering fans a simple message: have faith in the change that Doctor Who has always been about.
Speaking to the BBC for 13 simple questions for the thirteenth incarnation of TV’s top Time Lord (you see what they did there), Whittaker discussed everything from her codename for keeping the role secret—The Clooney, as George Clooney was “an iconic guy” to her and her husband—to her Doctor’s wardrobe—which has yet to be decided and is not what she is seen wearing in today’s announcement video—and even how she first spoke to incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall about auditioning for the role:
We had a strange chat earlier this year where he tricked me into thinking we were talking about Broadchurch. And I started to quiz him about his new job in Wales, and asked him if I could be a baddie! And he quickly diverted the conversation to suggest I should consider auditioning to be the 13th Clooney.
It was the most incredible chat because I asked every question under the sun, and I said I’d take a few weeks to decide whether I was going to audition. He got a phone call within 24 hours. He would’ve got a phone call sooner, but my husband was away and there was a time difference!
But above all, it’s Whittaker’s message to Doctor Who’s fans—those who are hopeful for her arrival, and those who are skeptical—that should be taken note of:
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.
Change drives everything in Doctor Who, whether it’s new worlds every week, new monsters to battle, or new friends and new faces for the Doctor and their companions every few years. Today’s change is a huge one, but it’s only the latest to help define Doctor Who’s long journey over the last half-century. There are going to be many more to come! You can check out the rest of Whittaker’s answers at the link below.