Doctor Who Director Says She Was Nervous About Introducing Jo Martin’s Secret Doctor

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Among the many surprises that Doctor Who season 12 had in store for fans, Jo Martin’s introduction as a secret incarnation of the titular character was perhaps the most mind-blowing twist that showrunner Chris Chibnall came up with for Jodie Whittaker’s second outing as the Thirteenth Doctor.

“Fugitive of the Judoon” started out like any old single story from the BBC’s long-running sci-fi series, but as the narrative progressed, the producers made it perfectly clear that they weren’t holding back at all, especially since a solid point of criticism for Jodie’s first season was the lack of a coherent story arc. Not only did the fifth episode see Captain Jack Harkness return after nearly a decade, but it also introduced us to yet another female iteration of the Last of the Time Lords, this time played by the talented British actress Jo Martin.

Of course, even with the Timeless Child revelation, we’ve yet to uncover the real truth about this seemingly forgotten version of the protagonist. That being said, fan reception has been incredibly positive towards Martin, but it appears that the crew had their reservations about the sudden twist. Nida Manzoor, who directed the episode, recently talked about how she was nervous about helming “Fugitive,” saying:

“It was so exciting to be part of that piece of casting and to have the honor to direct an actor with the kind of caliber and breadth of ability as Jo and Jodie together. I always felt like I was in some kind of dream. It was pinch-me moments constantly,” She explained. “It was honestly such a great experience for me. It was the biggest thing I’d done so far. So coming onto it, I felt nerves, like, ‘Oh, I’m really kind of stepping into the big leagues. This is a machine.’ They have their kind of ongoing crew, but the crew are so awesome, and they really made me feel welcome.”

With shows like Doctor Who, one-off directors who take on only one episode every season usually don’t have significant creative input on the process. That wasn’t the case with Manzoor, though, who revealed that Chibnall worked closely with her to make sure that everything looked as seamless as could be.

“You know, Chris Chibnall’s a very generous showrunner,” She continued. “I was able to discuss with the costume, ‘What do we want her to wear? The aesthetic? What does her TARDIS look like?’ We had different lighting options. ‘What about her skin tones? Her costume?’

We were really trying to think carefully about how we can really make her just look so badass. ‘Is she badass? Does she look cool? What is she wearing?’ [laughs] These things were just so important. I felt really lucky with that, actually, because it has so many shifts for both those Doctors. One of my favorite things as a director is performance, working with the actors, and finding the truth, finding the vulnerability, and all the shades. They’re both so generous to work with.”

Tell us, though, what were your thoughts on “Fugitive of the Judoon” when it premiered last year? And did you think Jo Martin managed to pull off a convincing Doctor? Sound off in the usual place below.