It feels like ages since it was announced that Doctor Who would be taking a huge step into the 21st century by casting Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. It was a mixed reaction, to say the least. Most dedicated fans were thrilled by the announcement, but some older fans said some very misogynistic things on Twitter.
Whovians across the world have been anxiously awaiting the new season. And now, here we are, just 2 days away from the start of season 11. Everything is new with a new Doctor, a new showrunner (Chris Chibnall) and new “friends!”
So what can we expect from the thirteenth Doctor? At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Jodie said that her Doctor remains a “pillar of hope” and that she is “striving for brightness and inclusion.” Jodie, Tosin Cole, who plays Ryan (a new friend), and Matt Stevens (executive producer) also said at Comic-Con that Thirteen is energetic, fidgety, bubbly, playful, full of childish wonder, stern when she needs to be and that she has an utter joy for life. Chris Chibnall recently wrote an article for the Radio Times (British magazine) giving 13 reasons why people should watch the new season. He said that “Just a few seconds with Jodie Whittaker’s lively, warm, funny, super-smart Doctor will have you willing to follow this Doctor to the ends of the universe,” and that the Doctor continues “solving problems by thought and wit rather than punches and violence.”
“The series is made up of ten standalone stories – every episode is a complete story. The settings range from the present day, through centuries past, alien worlds and spaceships. Each week is a new treat,” Chibnall revealed. He also divulges that the new writing team includes former children’s laureate and acclaimed YA novelist Malorie Blackman and BAFTA winner Vinay Patel.
The new friends (companions) were revealed to be Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) in October 2017. Even more diversity with a British-Asian actor playing Yasmin Khan and a black actor playing Ryan. In an exclusive interview with the Radio Times, Mandip Gill revealed how hard it was to keep her casting secret. She said, “The minute she [her agent] told me I burst out crying. But then I just wiped my tears and went to Sainsbury’s. I got it out of my head and went back home, but couldn’t tell anyone, so just stayed in my room.” And why did she want the role? “When I went up for this job, I just wanted to have fun. I’d done so many other parts that were serious, I do a lot of dramas and stuff. I just wanted to run, I wanted to scream, and I wanted to chase things. And we’ve done all that.”
In his Radio Times interview, Tosin Cole was asked how it felt to be finished filming. He said, “It’ll be good to release all the secrecy, all the tension of keeping things quiet. And it will be nice, after all the hard work that everyone’s been through, for the audience to see it. Hopefully, we’ll have good feedback.” Cole has also been in a Star Wars movie- so he is used to high levels of project secrecy!
Bradley Walsh is already well-known to British viewers for various dramatic roles and as the regular quiz-master for The Chase. In an interview with Digital Spy, he revealed that the cast wasn’t allowed to take photos in the TARDIS, “I was absolutely thrilled,” he explained. “They said, ‘We’re going into the TARDIS’, so I said, ‘Oh right, I’ve got to get me camera out!’ [but they said] ‘You can’t take any photos!’… it was a completely closed shop.”
The cast seemed to get on really well at SDCC 2018. Tosin Cole seemed to be a cheeky monkey, so many fans are excited to see if his character is the same.
The most recent trailer doesn’t reveal much plot, but it does show Jodie Whittaker delivering some awesome lines like “When people ask me for help, I never refuse.” Also, the song at the end of the trailer will be stuck in everyone’s head for the rest of the day. However, the best part of the trailer is when the words “It’s about time” appear. It has a double meaning as it refers to the long wait for the new season but it’s also so poignant and makes you think that a female Doctor is long overdue.
Jodie Whittaker recently went on The Graham Norton Show, and although she wasn’t allowed to reveal much about any plot, they did show an exclusive first look at Episode 1, “The Woman Who Fell To Earth”. From the short clip, we find out that the Doctor does not remember who she is or (presumably) that she is a Time Lord.
The critics got to watch the first episode a week early and glowing reviews of Whittaker’s performance and the episode as a whole have been flooding in. Digital Spy said on the first episode: “‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’ is not perfect. It is, however, a promising start to a new era of Doctor Who that, if this first episode is anything to go on, is going to feel fresh and modern without losing the key components that have made the 55-year-old sci-fi show such an enduring success… Jodie Whittaker is terrific. She makes an incredibly assured debut, with a performance that’s, quite literally, fizzing with energy.” This has made Whovians very excited for the new season. Chris Chibnall also said in his article that you do not need to have seen any previous episodes to enjoy the new season.
Season 11 of Doctor Who will premiere in the UK and the USA on Sunday 7th October! The premiere date varies in other countries so check your local listings.
Featured image Via the BBC