There’s a tradition we have every few years where everyone takes a look at the highest profile performers in the UK and wonders which of them will be the new Dr Who. This is immediately followed by the BBC picking someone that is not one of the highest profile performers in the UK for the role.
But hey, it works. Take 1974. Tom Baker? The guy who was the baddy in that one Ray Harryhausen film? Seriously?
I bring this up because my reaction on seeing Jodie Whittaker’s name was, who? The protagonist from Attack the Block who isn’t Finn? Really?
The big news story is that the BBC cast a woman, but honestly I don’t think that is remotely surprising. The writing has been on the wall for ages — this time was going to be either a black man or a white woman. If they’d cast a woman who wasn’t white, that would have surprised me a little. There wasn’t much chance they’d break both those barriers at once. But, yeah. Woman Doctor. The idea’s been going around since the 1970s at least. It finally happening in 2017 wasn’t exactly radical.
So as I see it, the issue isn’t ‘why is the doctor a woman?’ so much as ‘is Jodie Whittaker going to be a great Doctor?’
And that, I can’t say. I know she comes after Peter Capaldi, who will be a tough act to follow. But I suspect that she’ll be good. One of the most impressive things about Doctor Whois that in its fifty-plus year history, it has never really miscast the role.*
* Yes I remember Colin Baker. There were a lot of mistakes made that caused his era to suck, but most of them were made after the casting.