New Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker wins the prestigious backing of a former Time Lord along with A-list stars
Former Time Lord Colin Baker has backed Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the 13th Doctor Who – and branded the response of some fans as “sad”.
Some Whovians were so incensed by the news that the Broadchurch star, 35, would take up the sonic screwdriver they vowed to never watch again.
One threatened to burn their DVD collection while others joked that she would struggle to park the Tardis.
But most fans were thrilled to get the first female Time Lord – as were former Doctor Who actors and guest stars.
Baker, 74, was the sixth Doctor and starred in the BBC sci-fi hit from 1984 to 1986. He said after Jodie’s unveiling: “Well I never, the BBC really did do the right thing and let the Doctor be in touch with her feminine side.
“As a father of daughters – result! Change, my dears, and not a moment too soon – she IS the Doctor whether you like it or not.”
And when the backlash came, he added: “Cannot deny that I am amazed by the ‘never watch it again’ reaction by some viewers. I hesitate to call them ‘fans’. Very sad.
“To those making ‘parking the Tardis’ jokes – name me one male Doctor that was unfailingly good at that!”
The seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, 73, agreed, writing: “One small step for women, one giant leap for womenkind.”
Peter Davison, 66, the fifth Time Lord, did not comment on Jodie’s appointment but suggested those unsure about it were not necessarily sexist.
He said: “It might be more helpful to be encouraging, and not simply scornful, of fans who are uncertain about change.”
But Billie Piper, 34, who played assistant Rose Tyler alongside ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and 10th Doctor David Tennant, was thrilled.
She said: “G’wan Jodie!! This is amazing news.Well done Dr Who world.”
And Tracy Ann Oberman, 50, of spin-off Torchwood, said: “Good choice. A generation of young Whovians will now know as a female in the universe, you don’t have to be the assistant.”
But Peter Purves, 78, who appeared alongside original Doctor William Hartnell, had said last week he would be “horrified” by a female lead.
He said: “That’s not a misogynistic view; it’s just I don’t think it’s right. A bit like James Bond, Doctor Who ought to be a man.”
However, other showbiz stars were delighted. Comic Sue Perkins, 47, wrote: “Jodie is a class act. End of.”
Gillian Anderson, John Boyega, Riz Ahmed and David Harewood also approved. Star Wars actor Boyega, 25, who was in 2011 film Attack the Block with Jodie, posted: “She’s going to be awesome.”
Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss said the appointment marked a “new dawn”, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Welcome, madam.” Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be “pleased” but refused to be drawn on whether operating the Tardis was a “boy job” or a “girl job”.
Most complaints about the gender switch came from male fans – but there were plenty from females too. Sharon Bull posted: “Doctor Who is over for me. Hugely disappointed.”
But another viewer said: “For each sexist bigot threatening not to watch, there’ll be a young girl with a new hero they didn’t have before.”
Fan David Bewell stressed there was always moaning at a new Doctor, saying: “Let’s not forget Matt Smith was too young and Capaldi was too old.”
And Jacqui Oatley, who sparked controversy as the first female commentator on Match of the Day in 2007, sent words of encouragement to mum-of-one Jodie.
She said: “People are really rooting for you. The majority are so positive. You kind of need to get over the hurdle of the first one.”
Many fans believed the recent series finale gave a clue to the new Time Lord being female. John Simm, as The Master, rolled his eyes while asking, “Will the future be all girl?” To which Capaldi replied: “We can only hope.”
Capaldi, 59, has praised Jodie, who won a BAFTA with Broadchurch in 2014. He said: “Anyone who has seen Jodie work will know she is wonderful. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Jodie, believed to be on a one-year deal, will debut as the 13th Doctor in the Christmas Day special. She films her regeneration scenes this week.
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