According to Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, whose stint as the titular Doctor is soon to come to an end, she once feared that the emphasis put on her status as the first female Doctor had “ruined” the chances of another woman ever playing the part in the future.

Source: Doctor Who Series 12 Episode 9 “Ascension of the Cybermen” (2020), BBC One

As recalled by Whittaker during a recent interview with The Guardian published on December 4th and given in reflection of her time in the Tardis, the “most heightened point of pressure” for her concerning the character’s legacy came during the September 2018 New York Comic-Con premiere of her first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, at Madison Square Garden.

“The very first episode was being shown live in front of a massive audience, and I went and sat next to my husband, and I’d absolutely gone,” said Whittaker, using a British slang term to refer to the fact that the awe of the event had left her faint. “I just thought: ‘There’s this crowd of Whovians that are really excited and full of love and support.’”

Source: Doctor Who Series 11 Episode 1 “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” (2018), BBC One

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It was then that the actress says she was struck with the thought, “‘What if I have pitched this so badly wrong? What if I’ve ruined it for actresses?’ Because I know full well that when lads were cast in the part, they weren’t representing men, they were representing their own personal casting.”

“The way it was described in every outlet was not: ‘Can Jodie Whittaker play the part?’, it was: ‘It’s a woman!’ I suddenly thought: ‘Have I hindered us? Have I held us back?’”, said the actress of the media’s obsession with her gender over her acting talent. “Because we’d filmed the first series, and I’d loved it. I really felt confident all the way through. Then there is that moment where you go, ‘oh God …’”

Source: Doctor Who Season 13 Episode 1 “Chapter Six: The Vanquishers” (2021), BBC

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Ultimately, said Whittaker, she realized that after “the first episode goes out, it’s either your cup of tea or it’s not,” which in turn led her to accept that “you’re not representing anyone other than yourself.”

“And hopefully, with the next 15 generations of Doctors, we never have to have this chat again,” she exasperatedly concluded. “I’m delighted [the first outing as a female Doctor] was mine, but it never has to happen again, thank God.”

Source: Doctor Who Season 13 Episode 1 “Chapter Six: The Vanquishers” (2021), BBC

Though Whittaker’s final official season as the Doctor came to an end this past weekend, the actress is still set to appear in the role for three more television specials across 2022, starting with the series’ annual winter special on New Year’s Day.

What do you make of Whittaker’s feelings towards the media’s coverage of her casting as the Doctor? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.