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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the new Doctor zipping through space and time, saving the universe from alien threats and exploring the edges of unknown galaxies.
But the new Doctor is special: she’s a woman. The Thirteenth regeneration of the Doctor in Doctor Who (2018, Season 11, exclusively streaming on Showmax) is played by Broadchurch (2013-2017) actress Jodie Whittaker – the first time the Doctor has been played by a woman in the epic 55-year run of the sci-fi series.
So pick up your sonic screwdriver, put on your Doctor Who cloak and let’s explore the universe of the new Doctor…
1. “A kid in a sweetshop”
Jodie brings a breath of fresh air into the serious with a childlike innocence.
“Most of the previous Doctors were known for their more serious attitude, while Jodie brings something completely different to the show,” says executive producer Chris Chibnall.
Moving away from the Doctor’s traditionally stoic mannerisms and way of speaking, Jodie is more childlike. “I’m still a kid in a sweetshop. I wanted that kind of child-like awe and continual enjoyment of discovery, and not to have those social censors that we have when we get older. She’s the greatest friend you could wish to have as your guide around the universe.”
And 36-year-old Jodie agrees. “It reminded me that there is hope for change within the entertainment industry as well. The wonderful thing about playing an alien – yes, the Doctor is an alien with two hearts from a race known as The Time Lords – is that all those male-dominated rules go out of the window!”
Keeping the secret that Jodie was the new Doctor, she and hubby Christian Contreras came up with a codename to use if they wanted to talk about it in public: The Clooney. “To me and my husband, George is an iconic guy, so it was just fitting for such an iconic role,” says Jodie.
2. New bright and shiny things
There are certain things the Doctor can’t do without. For starters, the sonic screwdriver that fixes literally everything, even those nasty rips in the time fabric, something your granny can’t do with her sewing machine.
“As it’s a new Doctor, we updated all the gadgets that every Doctor had in every episode,” says Chris.
Gone is the bland, rustic looking sonic screwdriver with its glowing green healing light. “The new one has a more traditionally sci-fi look and was made from scratch,” reveals series designer Arwel Jones. “The new one has a curved handle that’s slightly separate from the main screwdriver, containing strips lights to match the light at the tip. Where the others were dark coloured, there new one is coloured silver with dark cracks through it, and it fits neatly in Jodie’s hand. In another interesting change, the light on the tip of new screwdriver is an orange-y colour. I can’t wait for people to see how the Doctor acquires it,” an excited Arwel says.
3. Dress for intergalactic success
“It’s bright, colourful and a bit eccentric, where all the previous doctors had a darker look,” says Jodie about the new Doctor’s look.
For one, there is no sign of the Twelfth Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) sunglasses. The new Time Lord’s outfit includes deep blue trousers and socks, light brown braces and a black shirt with yellow, green and red stripes. And to top it off, the costume comes with a swish large grey-scale coat, with the same coloured stripe patterns on its edges. “When designing the new outfit, we nit-picked designs and colours from all the previous Doctors and incorporated it in the new outfit,” says Arwel.
The new Doctor also sports an earring – at the top of the ear and at the lobe, imparting a swashbuckling space-pirate vibe.
4. Upgrades to the time-travelling TARDIS
Jumping across the galaxy could be a problem if you don’t have a reliable means of transport. Enter the TARDIS – the Doctor’s time-travelling Police Phone Booth. Don’t let the small exterior fool you, if you open those doors you step into a huge spaceship interior.
“For the new season we gave the Tardis a bit of a facelift,” explains Arwel. Gone is the dark blue paint and it’s now a light greyish colour. Subtle changes, like the police sign on the door now white on black, and new handles, are throwbacks to the Tardis from the 1970s. The only thing that is still a big secret is the new look for the interior of the Tardis, as it (SPOILER ALERT) was destroyed at the end of Season 10 (2017).
“We’re very excited about showing Whovians the new design, but it won’t happened in the first episode,” Arwel teases.
5. A new team of sidekicks
Saving the universe is not an easy task and the new Doctor will need help. In the past, the Doctor had one companion to assist with the menacing robotic monotone-speaking Daleks, the cyborg race Cyberman and other slimy problems, but now, with a new Doctor in the Tardis, there are three friends, and not one companion.
“This is part of the fresh look of the show,” Chris reveals. These friends are Tosin Cole (Lieutenant Bastian in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015) who plays Ryan Sinclair, Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan, and Bradley Walsh (Ronnie Brooks in crime series Law & Order: UK, 2009-2014) as Graham O’Brien.
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