Russell T Davis comments on Jodie Whittaker casting

To say that ‘Doctor Who’ has made waves in the news this Summer would be an understatement.  With the previously-announced resignations of current showrunner Steven Moffat and main actor Peter Capaldi, the show was clearly going to be undergoing some changes.  Then, new showrunner Chirs Chibnall made his announcement: the new Doctor will be portrayed by a female, Jodie Whittaker, for the first time in the show’s 50-plus year history.

The question naturally began to be asked by fans: was this casting done intentionally as a strategic, social/political move?  In the latest issue of Dr. Who Magazine, former DW showrunner Russell T. Davies weighed in with his thoughts:

“This isn’t some big political strategy by the BBC. This is one man, Chris, moving into the big chair and deciding that’s what he wants to do. There will be some kids sitting down on Christmas Day who don’t follow the news – and the Doctor will change into a woman and they won’t know. For those kids it will be as mysterious and as exciting as it was in 1966 when William Hartnell changed into Patrick Troughton. The program has never been that original since.”

This sentiment echoes comments given recently at the Edinburgh Television Festival by BBC executive Piers Wenger:

“Chris has a very, very clear sense of where he wants to take the show and has a very clear sense of the sort of qualities that he’s looking for in his Doctor, and Jodie fitted with that.

“He obviously had a relationship with her from Broadchurch. She read for the part, she auditioned for it and she came back a few times. And she herself has a very clear sense of the point of having a female doctor and what she wants to do with that role, and I think she will make her unexpected and iconic.”

Fans will have their first opportunity to see Whittaker in action presumably at the end of the upcoming Christmas Special, when Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor regenerates into Whittaker’s Thirteenth.

‘Doctor Who’ will return with a special Christmas Episode on December 25, 2017, on BBC America.