Jo Martin Says She Didn’t Know Ruth Was Actually The Doctor On Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Season 11 of Doctor Who kicked things off with Jodie Whittaker’s first female Doctor, a new cast of companions and Chris Chibnall as showrunner. With all that change, it seems that they decided to play things relatively straight, giving us a series of monster-of-the-week episodes. But Chibnall was merely keeping his powder dry for season 12, which has shaken up the foundations of the show.

The major revelation was that the Doctor isn’t actually a Time Lord, but rather the Timeless Child. It was explained that he/she originated from another dimension, had unlimited regenerations and seems to be the origin point of the entire Time Lord race on Gallifrey. As part of this revelation, we got to meet Jo Martin’s incarnation of the Doctor. We saw her as a humble tour guide, before soon finding out that this was a past incarnation of the Doctor using Time Lord tech to live incognito, hiding her true self with a cover personality.

It was, let’s say, a bold move and has split the Doctor Who fan community as to whether it’s a good idea. At the very least, revealing that the Doctor was once a black woman certainly rattled a few cages. This was kept so secret though that even Jo Martin didn’t know she was playing the Doctor. In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, she discussed getting the part and how she slowly realized who her character was when she was performing scenes where she piloted the TARDIS.

“Sometimes with auditions, they don’t give you the actual text. They’ll give you something different just to see how you read. I thought maybe that’s what it was. So I put it to the back of my mind, went into the audition and hoped for the best… I had absolutely no idea I was going to be a Doctor!”

And then, when Chibnall called her to confirm the true nature of her character, here’s how she felt:

 “I wanted to run down the street going, ‘Guess what? Guess what? GUESS WHAT?’ But I had to button it and be like, ‘I’m just playing a tour guide’.”

I think it remains to be seen whether this retconning of the Doctor’s origins and Time Lord history turns out to be a success. It could either reinvigorate Doctor Who (and provide some serious fodder for Big Finish) or it could go down as one of the show’s all-time screw-ups. If it turns out to be the latter, then expect this retcon to quickly be retconned from existence.