We really should’ve seen Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Thirteenth Doctor coming, as when showrunner Chris Chibnall took over Doctor Who, he simply turned to one of the leads from his hit crime drama Broadchurch to step into the role of the face-changing Time Lord.
Of course, another actor involved with Broadchurch was David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor in the BBC’s sci-fi series. Seeing as all three were friends, Chibnall and Whitaker had some fun with David when they revealed that Jodie was taking over his old role, and the actress recounted the story during the Doctor Who panel at this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, explaining:
“Obviously the news was a secret and [as] I know David and Chris is very good friends with him, [Chris] said “look, the person who is getting announced tomorrow is a little bit nervous so can they give you a ring so they can’ – they, not she – ‘ask you a few questions.’ He said, ‘so in the next ten minutes just keep an eye on your phone.’ And then my name came up and [Tennant] went ‘WHAT?!'”
It’s no secret that Tennant has supported Whittaker’s casting on numerous occasions, promising that she’ll take Doctor Who to a whole new level in season 11 and that all the discussion about her gender will be “irrelevant” once we get to see her in action and witness how good she is as an actor. Tennant also teased that she’d be fizzing “with energy and madness” in the role. Which, funnily enough, is very close to a description Whittaker herself gave about the new run.
The actress later touched on what she went on to talk about with her friend and fellow Time Lord, before mentioning that she also spoke to Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi at a later date. As she’s revealed before, each of them told her that playing the lead in Doctor Who was the role of a lifetime and it was an honor to be part of the select group that get to bring the time-travelling alien to life. There’s a lot of weight to the job, then, but that clearly doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when breaking the news to another Doctor.