‘Doctor Who’ producer thinks Jodie Whittaker will be appreciated over time
As the first female actor to pick up the sonic screwdriver, Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who tenure has been riddled with controversy and backlash, but producer Matt Strevens thinks her efforts will be appreciated as soon as the next Doctor comes along.
Over the past few years, current showrunner Chris Chibnall and Whittaker have spurred the ire of the Whovian fandom for delivering a lackluster run and contravening the story’s established lore. This has also resulted in record low viewing figures for the popular sci-fi series, prompting the BBC to bring back former executive producer Russell T. Davies in an effort to rekindle fan participation and course-correct the show.
But according to Matt Stevens, who joined the crew as a producer back in 2017, the controversy mostly has to do with what every Doctor and every showrunner goes through. As he explained in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine:
“Every Doctor gets it, every showrunner gets it. I loved Steven Moffat’s reaction when Russell T. Davies was announced as coming back recently – writing ‘RTD MUST GO!’ on Instagram. I thought that was so witty because there’s always someone waiting to have a pop. And that’s good, in a way. The great thing is we have freedom of speech and people are free to say what they want,” He explained.
“Every era of Doctor Who has had its massive champions, and every era and every Doctor has had people going ‘It’s not like it used to be…’ And then, afterwards, a lot of the kind of contemporary commentary disappears. With a short distance of time, there is huge affection looking back. I think, when the story is written, Jodie’s Doctor will be thought of, quite rightly, with huge affection. And love, quite frankly.”
That’s certainly one way to interpret the current mood of the fandom. Granted, what Strevens refers to is an actual phenomenon in Doctor Who, where every new incarnation of the character takes some getting used to for their first few outings. But I doubt that we can blame the overall outrage and declining interest on “contemporary commentary” about Jodie Whittaker herself.
If anything, a lot of Whovians would agree that Whittaker is not to blame for the show’s underwhelming performance. Many would even vote for her to stay for RTD’s second tenure as showrunner, as her portrayal of The Doctor has been nothing short of stellar and charismatic. Though I guess the only way to truly know would be to wait and see how the new Doctor is received!