Backlash over casting of Jodie Whittaker as new Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker on the red carpet at the British premiere of her film Hello Carter during the London Film Festival on Oct 12, 2013.
Jodie Whittaker on the red carpet at the British premiere of her film Hello Carter during the London Film Festival on Oct 12, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Television series Doctor Who has faced immediate backlash following the BBC's announcement of actress Jodie Whittaker as the first ever female to take on the hallowed role.

The science fiction series, which has run on the BBC since 1963, has seen 12 men play the titular role of the extraterrestrial "Time Lord" who time travels the universe in a blue British police box called the Tardis (Time And Relative Dimension In Space).

Previous "Time Lords" have included Matt Smith and David Tennant.

But many "Whovians", or Doctor Who fans, are unhappy that a Time Lady instead of a Time Lord is at the helm.

Facebook and Twitter have become a hot bed for comments disparaging the decision to cast 35-year-old Whittaker.

Commenting on the official Doctor Who Facebook page post of the reveal video, many fans deemed their favourite show "ruined". Others dismissed the decision to cast a woman as a politically correct one.

One wrote: "I guess not even Doctor Who is beyond jumping on the popular politically correct bandwagon. Hoped for more. A woman would be fine, if it wasn't what the social climate (warriors) demanded. Way to cave under pressure."


Another fan wrote: "I'm not watching anymore."

The announcement was made on Sunday night (July 16) after the Wimbledon tennis men's final match. Whittaker will replace current Doctor, Peter Capaldi following the annual Christmas special episode, which is expected to air in December.

But there was also plenty of support on the decision to cast her, while calling out the misogyny.

One fan wrote: "Good grief, are you lot still living in 1950?! It's interesting how the vast majority giving hate for the simple fact that the new doctor has boobs are men. Intimidated maybe? Or just plain sexist pigs? I personally haven't watched since midway through Matt Smith's time as the Doctor, but I will certainly be watching to see what she brings to the role."

Another tweeted: "If you're angry about #doctor13 possibly being a woman, just remember: 1) Its not real 2) The Doctor is an alien 3) You're a moron"

Whittaker, a Guildhall School of Music and Drama alumni, most recently played Beth Latimer - a mother whose son is murdered - in BBC crime drama Broadchurch, alongside former Doctor Who, Tennant.

Fans of dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror will also recognise her as the character Ffion in the series one finale, The Entire History Of You.

Perhaps preempting the backlash, Whittaker urged fans in an interview with the BBC "not to be scared" by her gender. She said: "Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."

Steven Moffat, the show's lead writer and executive producer, will also leave the series after the Christmas special and will be succeeded by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.