Having vanquished the idiots who mocked her arrival, it would be a shame if Jodie Whittaker left Doctor Who

<p>Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord</p> (BBC)

Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord


Though it remains unconfirmed by the Time Lords’ press office or by Gallifrey’s mainstream media, there have been reports that Jodie Whittaker is packing in her role as the Doctor at the end of the next series. Not since the reptilian Silurians has Doctor Who encountered such a cunning species as the British tabloid journalist.

If it’s true, it’s a great shame. For Whittaker grew in the role as fully as any of her predecessors, and made a mockery of that all the fuss that was made about her appointment in 2017. Whittaker shouldn’t have had to, but three years ago she likely felt she had something to prove, in an episode that might be called “Doctor Who and the Sexists”. She vanquished them.

Someone should also remind the sexists – an eternal enemy – that if it hadn’t been for the brilliance of Doctor Who’s founding BBC producer, Verity Lambert, back in 1963, there would be no Daleks, no Cybermen, no Sontarans and no Whovians either.

The consolation is that, as so often with previous regenerations, there are plenty of fine candidates who can take over. Apart from my favoured option of bringing back the fourth doctor, Tom Baker (now 86 in your Earth years), I have an open mind and a few ideas of my own, as all fans must.

I’d also prefer to see an older figure in the role, which hadn’t really been the case since the first doctor, William Hartnell.

The character really requires someone who can personify that familiar blend of intuition, eccentricity and authority, with a touch of sentimentality. I’d have thought Harriet Walter (who appeared as a cynical populist prime minister in the latest edition), or Doon Mackichan, who you might recall from The Day Today, Smack the Pony, Toast of London and Two Doors Down, and is now ready for full national treasure status. I think she’d know how to tell the Clockwork Droids to get lost.

I’d also suggest Nina Sosanya and Ruth Wilson as versatile actors who’ve shown themselves able to carry off sci-fi scripts.

As a mild Whovian (if that’s not a contradiction in terms), and innately conservative, I am always distressed to hear the news about a new Doctor. I’m still getting over (the third doctor) Jon Pertwee’s retirement, and miss Roger Delgado, the original and definitive Master.

Three years seems to be about the average run for an incarnation of the Doctor. Hartnell himself lasted just under three, with later actors lasting between two and four years for the most part. The only three to take the role on for significantly longer than that were Baker (close to seven years) and then Pertwee and David Tennant (around four and a half years each).

The franchise itself, despite periodic attempts by BBC managers to banish it to another universe, is as robust and durable as ever, albeit with some odd quirks, as the Tardis itself, a global brand and cultural export of the kind that Brexit Britain desperately needs.

Now, would anyone like a jelly baby?

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