Doctor Who fans, remember the uncertainty surrounding the series back in 2016 when showrunner Steven Moffat announced he was stepping down after eight years in charge? For a while there, Peter Capaldi kept quiet about his future in the role, meaning we were left to theorize if he was staying on under new showrunner Chris Chibnall or not. Eventually, it was confirmed that the Twelfth Doctor would regenerate at the end of Moffat’s tenure. Chibnall then cast Jodie Whittaker to play the first female Doctor and the rest was television history.
Speaking on David Tennant’s appropriately-named podcast David Tennant Does a Podcast With…, Whittaker explained that the plan to cast an actress as the Time Lord actually pre-dated Capaldi’s exit from the series. When she met with Chibnall to discuss a role on Doctor Who – Jodie thought she was up for a villainous part – Chibnall revealed to her that the Thirteenth Doctor was to be a woman.
“That wasn’t outside of an inner circle either, that Peter Capaldi decided to move on. So, Chris [Chibnall] was like, ‘It’s funny that you bring it up, but the Doctor will be a woman. What about auditioning?'”
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This fits with what we’ve heard before, as Moffat’s come clean that he was told a woman was being cast after Capaldi while he was making his final season – which is why there are references to the Doctor and other Time Lords changing gender in season 10. Likewise, Whittaker’s talked on previous occasions about how she had to fight for the coveted role against many other talented actresses, none of whom have been officially revealed – though we suspect Phoebe Waller-Bridge was up for the part.
At the moment, Whittaker’s filming the next season of Doctor Who alongside co-stars Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, and it’ll arrive on our screens in “very early 2020.” Once we hear more on what to expect or an exact premiere date, we’ll be sure to let you know.