Doctor Who fans are currently celebrating our first tiny glimpse at Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, as revealed in the first trailer for the series’ 60th anniversary specials. One of the best things about the Sex Education star’s casting is that he’s the first person of color to be the show’s lead. And yet he’s not the first non-white performer to play the Doctor, as that honor goes to Jo Martin, who made several guest appearances across the Jodie Whittaker era.
But with the Thirteenth Doctor’s tenure in the TARDIS having now wrapped up, fans have reflected on Martin’s time as the so-called Fugitive Doctor — and they’ve found the treatment of her character hugely lacking. Debuting in 2020’s “Fugitive of the Judoon,” as a lost incarnation of the Time Lord from their distant past, Martin made an immediate impact on the fandom… but she only turned up a mere handful of times after that, as pointed out by a bitter tweet that’s gone viral in the Who community:
On the one hand, you could argue that Martin’s presence in Whittaker’s era had to be somewhat limited so as not to take the spotlight away from Thirteen too often. Especially given that the Fugitive Doctor is a much more forceful character than her later self, possessing more of the commanding personality and confidence associated with the Doctor, in contrast to Thirteen’s more passive persona. If Martin had been allowed more screentime, she would’ve totally stolen the show.
And yet it can’t be argued that this fan has a point that it’s a crying shame our very first POC Doctor was so absurdly underused in this way. Well, considering that Whittaker has already made plans to return to Doctor Who, Jo Martin could always come back at some point herself, maybe even teaming up with Gatwa one day.