“Doctor Who” premiered its groundbreaking new season on Sunday, October 7, during a simulcast all around the world, but star Jodie Whittaker watched the premiere with fans at Madison Square Garden during New York Comic Con at 1:45pm Eastern. Just two hours before that she discussed the new season and its significance with press at the Javits Center. She’s the first woman ever to play the title time traveler in the show’s 55-year history. Listen to her discuss her historic role in the podcast above.
Whittaker loved the “energy” in the script when she first read it. “[Showrunner Chris Chibnall] says I brought it, but for me it bounced off the page,” she admits. “This is all the things I love about playing. It’s movement. It’s jumping from thought to thought but having a clear purpose. It’s hopeful. It’s enjoying the detail in an epic scale. It’s all those things, and I think it was very much on the page, and it felt like you bounded into this Doctor’s world.”
It was certainly a steep learning curve for Whittaker and for the Doctor herself. The season premiere episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” takes place shortly after the Doctor’s regeneration in last winter’s Christmas special “Twice Upon a Time,” when Peter Capaldi transformed into Whittaker. Regenerations always take their toll on the Time Lord, but before she has time to recover she’s thrust into an adventure on Earth, investigating a strange alien visitation with the help of three new companions.
Those companions are police officer Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill), her old school chum Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), and Ryan’s step-grandfather Graham (Bradley Walsh). It’s perhaps the most diverse cast of characters the show has ever had, spanning ages and racial backgrounds and even representing disability: Ryan suffers from dyspraxia, a condition affecting physical coordination. Whittaker explains, “It gives you the opportunity to not only see these adventures and worlds through the Doctor’s eyes, but through the eyes of people of all ages and backgrounds in the world in which we live in today in 2018.”
Whittaker and company have brought “Doctor Who” into the 21st century. Now the Doctor is about to bring her companions out of the 21st century into parts unknown.
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