Doctor Who: Russell T Davies explains why David Tennant didn’t regenerate wearing Jodie Whittaker’s clothes
Russell T Davies has explained why David Tennant’s Doctor was not wearing Jodie Whittaker’s clothes when he regenerated.
Typically in Doctor Who, when the Time Lords regenerate, the new incarnation is introduced while wearing the same costume as the previous actor.
However, when Tennant returned as the character at the end of the most recent special, he was wearing a different outfit, which was the first time since 1966, when William Hartnell transformed into Patrick Troughton. This led many fans to question what has inspired Davies’s decision.
In a new interview, Davies, who has returned to showrun the BBC series, said he “was very certain that I didn’t want David to appear in Jodie’s costume” as he was worried it would “make a mockery” of drag culture.
He told Doctor Who Magazine: “I think the notion of men dressing in 'women's clothes', the notion of drag, is very delicate. I'm a huge fan of that culture and the dignity of that, it's truly a valuable thing. But it has to be done with immense thought and respect.
“With respect to Jodie and her Doctor, I think it can look like mockery when a straight man wears her clothes. To put a great big six-foot Scotsman into them looks like we're taking the mickey.”
Davies also said that, should the still of Tennant in Whittaker’s clothes have leaked, “I guarantee you it's the only photograph some of the papers would print for the rest of time.”
He continued: “If they can play with gender in a sarcastic or critical way, they will. We could have the Doctor dressed as a knight, or dressed as God, or dressed as William Hartnell, and the only photo they'd print would be of David in what they considered to be women's clothes. Then it becomes weaponised – as a mockery of feminire traits, a mockery of drag, of that culture. So that was never going to happen.
“Knowing that David was coming in, I was absolutely certain that the clothes would regenerate. Nothing would've change my mind.”
Tennant will return as the Doctor for three episodes in November 2023 alongside former companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate).
A brief teaser for the specials has also hinted at the debut of Ncuti Gatwa, who will succeed Tennant in the role.
Find The Independent’s review of Whittaker’s final episode here.