Jodie Whittaker insists she’s not a role model after being unveiled as the first female Time Lord

Jodie Whittaker has played down claims that she helped redefine the female place in the television industry after becoming the first woman to play Doctor Who.

The British actress, 36, prompted an inevitably divided response from fans of the long-running science fiction series after being unveiled as the 13th Time Lord in 2017.

But she dismisses any notion of blazing a trail for women in a traditionally male dominated industry, telling the latest edition of Radio Times that she has never viewed her gender as a stumbling block.

Groundbreaking: Jodie Whittaker has played down claims that she helped redefine the female place in the television industry after becoming the first woman to play Doctor Who

Groundbreaking: Jodie Whittaker has played down claims that she helped redefine the female place in the television industry after becoming the first woman to play Doctor Who

Groundbreaking: Jodie Whittaker has played down claims that she helped redefine the female place in the television industry after becoming the first woman to play Doctor Who

‘Thing is, I’ve never felt that there was a glass ceiling to break, because I’ve never put a glass ceiling up there. When I was little, not looking like someone didn’t stop me from looking up to them.  

‘I wanted to be Mikey in The Goonies or Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story. I didn’t care it was a boy playing the part.’ 

She added: ‘I don’t want to defend the decision to have a female Doctor because there’s nothing to defend – I’m playing an alien. (Former Doctor) Matt Smith wasn’t qualified. (Former Doctor) Peter Capaldi wasn’t qualified.

‘They can challenge me about my academic qualifications – fine – but no one can be properly qualified for this job unless they’ve got two hearts and come from Gallifrey.’

Divisive: The British actress, 36, prompted an inevitably divided response from fans of the long-running science fiction series after being unveiled as the 13th Time Lord in 2017

Divisive: The British actress, 36, prompted an inevitably divided response from fans of the long-running science fiction series after being unveiled as the 13th Time Lord in 2017

Divisive: The British actress, 36, prompted an inevitably divided response from fans of the long-running science fiction series after being unveiled as the 13th Time Lord in 2017

A change in Doctor also brings with it a change in costume, and Whittaker admits she had a helping hand from an old friend – and a very familiar band – while seeking inspiration for the Time Lord’s new wardrobe. 

‘I created my Doctor’s costume with Ray Holman, the costume designer who worked on Broadchurch. I had an initial meeting with him and brought lots of images and bits and pieces that I’d seen. 

‘For example, I found an old black-and-white image on Google that spoke to me. It’s of a woman walking with purpose in crop trousers, boots, braces and a T-shirt, and she just looks so comfortable and non-gender specific – that was my style point.

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‘And I needed it to have colour because I respond to colour. I really love the use of colour on Coldplay album covers, which I also showed to Ray. Which is where the rainbow came in – nothing evokes a sense of hope in me more than hundreds of rainbows!’ 

Speaking out: Jodie dismisses any notion of blazing a trail for women in a traditionally male dominated industry, telling the latest edition of Radio Times that she has never viewed her gender as a stumbling block 

Speaking out: Jodie dismisses any notion of blazing a trail for women in a traditionally male dominated industry, telling the latest edition of Radio Times that she has never viewed her gender as a stumbling block 

Speaking out: Jodie dismisses any notion of blazing a trail for women in a traditionally male dominated industry, telling the latest edition of Radio Times that she has never viewed her gender as a stumbling block 

Whittaker’s announcement as the first female Doctor opens up a broader debate that includes Daniel Craig’s successor as the next James Bond, with Idris Elba frequently touted as the poster boy for a diverse new generation of potential candidates. 

But the actress believes point of view is more important than gender and ethnicity, a fact driven home by her multicultural team of time travelling companions – Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole.

‘I truly hope that in a couple of years casting a woman in a traditionally male role won’t be so exciting – because when it’s not celebrated, it will mean it’s no longer unusual to have this sort of parity,’ she said.   

Read all about it: The full interview is available in the latest edition of Radio Times

Read all about it: The full interview is available in the latest edition of Radio Times

Read all about it: The full interview is available in the latest edition of Radio Times

‘I’m always asked, “Do you think James Bond should now be a woman?” But that’s not the conversation. It’s really – “Should every point of view be the same?” And the answer is no. Stories shouldn’t always be told from the same perspective. 

‘It’s a mistake to think that the only heroes are white men. I’ve spent the last nine months hanging out with my Doctor Who family – Tosin, Bradley and Mandip – and those are very different points of view.’ 

She added: ‘I get to see the world for a fleeting moment through their eyes. How lucky am I? It’s the representation of humanity that matters. That’s The Conversation.’ 

Doctor Who airs on BBC1, Sunday 7th October at 6.45pm.

 

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