So before I get into my actual thoughts on this, I feel I should explain why I felt the need to talk about it. Firstly, let me give some context to what’s going on for those who don’t know so much about Doctor Who. The series premiered on November 23, 1963 and starred William Hartnell as the titular Doctor. The Doctor is a Timelord from a distant planet called Gallifrey and goes on many crazy and wondrous adventures through time and space along with a companion or companions to take on them in his spaceship shaped like an old police phone box. But after 4 years of doing the show, Hartnell wished to leave the show. So it was written into the story that Timelords, when fatally injured, can regenerate.
And thus, from that point on, every few years, the Doctor would regenerate and take on a new face, sometimes into a younger face and sometimes an older one, and allowing a new actor to take over and put their own spin on the character and take on their own companion(s), though there have been several instances where a companion from the previous Doctor will stick around with the new Doctor for at least a little while.
Now here’s why I wanted to talk about this. I got into the show a little over 3 years ago in June of 2014. I was looking for something to watch on Netflix and saw the current version of the show(the original series was unfortunately cancelled in 1984 due to low ratings) in one of the category listings. I was aware of the show but had never seen it and only knew one or two little details but I can’t even remember what those were. I went on IMDb and clicked on the first image on the shows page and then posted it on my Facebook page saying something along the lines of “Let’s see what all the fuss is about with this show.” I was hooked almost instantly. This show is so insane but so fun with great characters and creative stories and visuals. It wasn’t until after a little while that I realized what the picture I posted was. It was a promo pic of the newest Doctor who’s(no pun intended) first season would be starting that coming August, but I didn’t watch that season for a while as I still had 6 or 7 seasons(or series’. British TV is weird.) to get through before I’d be caught up. This of course meant that I witnessed each of the Doctors, from this current iteration at least, sad regenerations. While it’s a staple of the show and we fans always know it will come eventually, it’s heartbreaking to see an incarnation of the Doctors story come to a close. But this time, it’s much different. Or at least it is for me.
As I said, when I got into the show, the newest Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, was just starting out. I didn’t get the chance to watch his first season until some time the next year. But I got caught up and I was able to follow the show properly, kinda sorta since I don’t get BBC, and I just recently finished up the shows 10th season, which is Capaldi’s final season and at the end of this years Christmas special, the Doctor will regenerate once again.
For months now, there has been speculation and rumors about who will take over for Capaldi and breathe new life into the series. This regeneration will be different for me because this new Doctor will technically be my first new Doctor. The best way I can think to properly phrase it is that this has been my first time anticipating who the newest version of the character will be played by.
And yesterday, at the time I’m writing this anyway, BBC revealed who Capaldi will be handing the key over to. But of all the changes to the character that have happened over the nearly 54 years this show has been around, this change is definitely the biggest.
Yes, for the first time, the Doctor will regenerate into a woman. It’s been brought up multiple times throughout the shows history that regeneration can change your gender. In fact, in Capaldi’s first season, it was revealed that the Master, the Doctors arch-enemy and former best friend, had regenerated into a woman, played brilliantly by Michelle Gomez. And the next season, we were even shown it happen to another Timelord. So yeah, this is definitely a huge change, but I can’t wait to see where they go with it. I think the only thing that would make it better would be if they had just let the Christmas special reveal the new Doctor. It would make the surprise all the more fun and it would put off the backlash(there has always been backlash when the new Doctor is revealed but this one, for obvious reasons, has seemed to have gotten the worst of it) for at least a couple months.
As for Jodie Whittaker and what I think of her in the role, I have no idea. I had never even heard of her until the announcement reveal. She’s best known for a show called Broadchurch, which just so happens to star David Tennant who played the 10th Doctor, who’s first scene in the role you saw in the regeneration clip I showed earlier(he’s also my favorite version of the Doctor). I was already considering taking a look at the series at some point as it’s on Netflix, but now I’m a little more interested in doing so.
Either way, I’m excited to see what she can bring to the role and I feel strangely lucky that my first proper new Doctor is this one, with the biggest change of them all. Best of luck to you Jodie. Oh I’m sorry. Best of luck to you Doctor.
“But wait!” people unfamiliar with the show said. “If she’s the 13th Doctor, why does the main image of the blogpost show 14 people?” Long story short, in the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”, it turned out in the time period between the last installment in the series and the revival in 2005, there was an incarnation of the Doctor we didn’t know about. Said Doctor is known as the War Doctor and was played by the late Sir John Hurt.