It must be a strange process for an actor to take on the lead role of Doctor Who. After all, when you’re playing the part, you’re following in the footsteps of so many different people that’ve come before you over the past 50+ years of the sci-fi institution. As such, you can easily feel like you’re an imposter in the role.
For new Doctor Jodie Whittaker, the first moment she properly felt like the Time Lord came quite late in the process. Long after she’d auditioned for the part multiple times and had even had the announcement of her casting broadcast in a specially-filmed promo that went viral. It actually occurred during shooting on the upcoming season 11, when the actress got to give her first classic Doctor-y speech.
Here’s how she described the experience:
“I was thrown into the deep end during the first week of filming that I’m not allowed to tell you anything about, but I had a kind of important speech. Lines to say, and it was early on. Obviously the first take of the first shot is exciting and terrifying, but it is for everyone. Jamie Childs, who’s the director, it was his first take as well, so everyone’s nervous.
But I think when we moved on from the very first shot and were onto a different angle, I thought, ‘Okay, it’s tattooed on film forever. And so I’ll just be the Doctor.’ It was a pretty amazing moment, and not one I thought would happen as a girl born in the ’80s. The Doctor did not look like me, so it was a big moment. I’ve spent a lot of time crying about it. It’s been great.”
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Whittaker was careful not to reveal any details about the season opener in her recount of this story, and the BBC is doing a very good job of keeping a lid on any and all spoilers for the new season. Though a clip from the episode did leak online last month, the corporation was quick to jump on it, even threatening legal action.
That being said, the hype train is still gearing up to full speed, with the cast and crew promising lots of awesomeness to come at this past weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con. Not only that, but showrunner Chris Chibnall has already told us that season 11 will be all about the new and is open to literally all kinds of viewers, from hardcore fans to casual audiences to complete Doctor Who newbies. And hopefully we’ll all feel like Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor too when we finally get to see her in action.