As we go through our first Christmas with the tragedy of not having a Doctor Who Christmas Special this year, the universe continues to make up for it by giving us other presents. Now it’s former companion Karen Gillan writing an op-ed praising Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the first female Doctor and why it matters.
Gillan, of course, played Amy Pond, the 11th Doctor’s first companion, a feisty Scottish lass who took no guff and gave as good as she got. Amy married her boyfriend Rory and became the mother of River Song, who became the Doctor’s wife in showrunner Steven Moffat’s most continuity-heavy, timey-wimey seasons of the show. If you’ve never seen the show before and read the previous sentence, well, that’s just how things went on that show.
Since leaving Doctor Who, Gillan has gone on to starring in the flawed but likable ABC comedy series Selfie with John Cho, the horror movie Oculus, and entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Avengers: Infinity War. She has also written and directed short films before starring in her first feature film as a writer and director, The Party’s Just Beginning, which opened in the US recently and is now available on VOD.
The brief guest column was part of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Rule Breakers issue. The text is presented here in full:
“You can’t grow up in the U.K. and not be aware of Doctor Who.
You’re practically born knowing what a Dalek is. But whenever there have been rumors about Doctor Who being played by a woman, there was resistance. People would write to the BBC and complain. I thought it was crazy: Who says Doctor Who can’t be a woman? So when I watched this season’s premiere with my mom — she’s a huge Whovian, even before I was on the show — it was emotional.
Jodie Whittaker knocked it out of the park.
She has elements of Matt Smith and David Tennant — that manic energy, brain going 100 miles an hour — but she made it her own. And that’s the great thing about the role — it has no limits. It can be played by any race or gender. All you need is a great actor. A great British actor. Or one who can do a convincing British accent.”
Despite the haters’ complaints, series 11 of Doctor Who has experienced higher ratings in both the UK and the US than the last series, so non-haters seem to be voting with their eyeballs. Whittaker will be returning to series 12 of the show when it returns sometime in 2020.