Jodie Whittaker a hit as Dr Who

Dr Who producers Matt Strevens (far left) and Chris Chibnall with the star of the 11th season of Doctor Who, English actress Jodie Whittaker, at the New York Comic Con on Sunday.
Dr Who producers Matt Strevens (left) and Chris Chibnall with the star of the 11th season of Doctor Who, English actress Jodie Whittaker, at the New York Comic Con on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON •At one point in the debut episode of the 11th season of Doctor Who on Sunday, the titular timetravelling character says: "Don't be scared. All this is new to you and new can be scary."

But who is afraid?

Going by the comments on social media, the strategy to freshen up the 55-year-old show, with Jodie Whittaker signed on as the first female Time Lord, has proven the right medicine.

Comments ranged from "a breath of fresh air" to "this is everything the show was ever meant to be" and "Jodie has nailed it at the first attempt", according to the BBC.

Within minutes, Whittaker, 36, "made it clear that yes, being a woman suits the Doctor just fine", noted trade publication Variety of the show, which traces its roll-out in Britain to 1963.

Doctor Who has been either on the air or published under some other format since 1963, four years before Star Trek and 14 years before Star Wars.

On Sunday, the plot had the Doctor - in the 13th incarnation - falling to Earth in the middle of an alien invasion.

On that day, Whittaker and new show producer Chris Chibnall were at the New York Comic Con, in a packed hall at Madison Square Garden, to watch and discuss the first episode.

The English actress made sure that the actors who had portrayed Doctor Who in the past got credit.

"The majority of my research was reading and taking it from that, purely because you can never be wholly unique and wholly inventive, but I wanted to feel I was open and responding and using my instinct and not thinking, 'Have I just nicked that from somebody else?'

"I mean, I probably have and there are happy accidents within the comparisons, but none of it was intentional."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2018, with the headline 'Jodie Whittaker a hit as Dr Who'. Print Edition | Subscribe