'Doctor Who' twist unveils show's first ever black Doctor

Jo Martin and Jodie Whittaker  in the latest episode of Doctor Who
Jo Martin and Jodie Whittaker in the latest episode of Doctor Who. (BBC)

This weekend’s episode of Doctor Who brought several surprising twists – not least the appearance of the show’s first black Doctor.

The episode saw Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor encounter a supposed Gloucester resident named Ruth.

However, Ruth isn’t all she seems and is eventually unveiled as a previously unseen regeneration of the Doctor, played by Holby City star Jo Martin, the first time the famous role has been played by a black person.

Read more: Jodie Whittaker hopes a female Doctor will not be headline news again

With Whittaker already confirmed for the next series, it is not certain if Martin’s Doctor is a one-off appearance, or if she will be a regular character or eventually take over the role.

You would assume there is surely only room for one Doctor at a time, and with the pair seemingly struggling to work together already, it’s certainly interesting to consider the direction in which show bosses will take the latest twist.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 21/01/2020 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 12 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 5) - Picture Shows: PRE TX   **STRICTLY EMBAROGED UNTIL 21/01/2020 00:00:01** Yaz (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ryan (TOSIN COLE), Ruth Clayton (JO MARTIN), Lee Clayton (Neil Stuke) - (C) BBC  - Photographer: Ben Blackall
From left: Mandip Gill, Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole, Jo Martin and Neil Stuke in Doctor Who. (BBC/Ben Blackall)

The role was played only by white male stars until 2017, when Whittaker took over from Peter Capaldi, a casting decision that led to a lot of debate.

Whittaker has previously said she hopes if a female is cast in the role after her, the actress following in her footsteps won’t face the same media scrutiny she did.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 06: Actress Jodie Whittaker visits the Build Series to discuss Season 12 of the BBC America series “Doctor Who” at Build Studio on January 06, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
Jodie Whittaker says she hopes any actress following in her footsteps as the Doctor won’t face the same media scrutiny she did. (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

She told The Big Issue last year: "The gender question is now going away. Hopefully it won't make the news next time."

Read more: Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker now an actual doctor

The episode also saw the return of previous show favourite John Barrowman, who reprised his role of Captain Jack Harkness.

Barrowman was something of a groundbreaker himself in the Doctor Who world, as he played the show’s first ever openly non-heterosexual character.

Barrowman, currently a judge on Dancing On Ice, has not confirmed if he will return to the role again, though he has said that if asked he’d be back “at the drop of a hat”.

Doctor Who continues on Sunday at 6pm on BBC One.