Once the shockwaves from the history-making announcement that Jodie Whittaker had been cast as the Thirteenth Doctor began to die down, fan speculation about the new Time Lord turned – as it always does – a bit more mundane. Instead of wonder who the Doctor would be, we now wonder what she would be like, how she would dress, and in some circles, which accent she would speak with.
With notable the notable exception of Sylvester McCoy’s manic Scottish r’s, every Doctor from the series’ original run spoke with a received pronunciation – what you might describe as a sort of generic “BBC accent.” The show’s modern incarnation has thus far run the gamut of accents, with David Tennant affecting an Estuary accent and Peter Capaldi often going full Scottish. This willingness to paper over a regional accent lead many to wonder whether or not the actress would affect something more neutral than her natural Yorkshire accent, especially since she has demonstrated the ability to do so in the past.
As anyone who saw Whittaker’s brief debut in ‘Twice Upon A Time’ already knows, she settled this debate in the space of two words: “Aw, brilliant!” But what went into deciding the Doctor’s latest accent? According to Whittaker, the answer may well be as simple as “That’s how she decided to audition.”
“All the Doctors’ voices have been different. There have been various dialects and I knew coming into it that there wasn’t a rule that you had to speak a certain way. Obviously anyone who’s seen me knows that this isn’t the only voice I’m comfortable doing. If it hadn’t worked during the scenes in the audition process I’m sure they would have picked up on that immediately. So in a strange way, I don’t know how much of an actual decision it was. I think it happened before I was even cast.”
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Jodie Whittaker’s first season of ‘Doctor Who’ will begin later this year, during which she will be joined by an array of companions that includes Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, and Bradley Walsh.