Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker Thought She Was Playing the Doctor "Wrong"

While fans await word on when the Doctor Who "Revolution of the Daleks" holiday special will grace their screens as well as any production news on Series 13, series star Jodie Whittaker is opening up about what it was like during her early days with the series. During a conversation with Guy Garvey on the recent episode of BBC Radio 6 Music program Finest Hour (which you can listen to here), Whittaker revealed that she questioned her entire approach to the Doctor after seeing Peter Capaldi's regeneration scene that would lead to her taking over the role in 2017. Thankfully, a conversation with showrunner Chris Chibnall helped her brush off the old ghosts of past performances and create a version of the Doctor that works for her.

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Patrick O'Kane as Ashad, Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Ben Blackall/BBC Studios/BBC America

"When I saw the episode, where Peter's [Capaldi] Doctor regenerates into myself – we were midway through shooting and that was the first time in a long time that I'd been watching it – I hadn't watched it to try and give myself that freedom to step on set. I was like, 'Oh my God, I've done it wrong. I've done it wrong' and we were only like six weeks in and I had seven months left. I came in to work I was like, 'You should have told me, I've been doing it wrong!'", Whittaker revealed. "They said, 'No, this is the point,' like, 'You know, you aren't supposed to be doing what someone else did'. But all the energy of the Doctor and all the references and the Whovian kind of pearls are in there. And you then take it and run with it. And actually, it's much more freeing."

As for how she made her way to the audition stage to play the Doctor, Whittaker and Chibnall have Broadchurch to thank for bringing them into each other's universes. Though Whittaker had no clue that Chibnall had her in mind- she thought it was all about coffee and a good conversation. "It was a real funny one for me because when I started to audition – I know the showrunner really well because he was the showrunner and creator of 'Broadchurch' – and so when I went for my initial kind of chat – which I didn't know was a chat – I thought we were meeting up for coffee because we were mates," she explained "Then he tricked me into saying, you know, 'Would you want to audition for this?' It was very much an audition, it wasn't in any way, 'You will walk in and nail this part.' It was, 'Here's something very epic, see what we can do with that.'"

It was during that conversation that Chibnall laid out what he was looking for from Whittaker regarding her take on the Doctor. "He was very clear that he wanted me to come in with a very fresh perspective and to not necessarily sit at the beginning and work through the entire thing because his vision was that I came in with a new energy for that." she explained. "So it's wonderful to discover that actually, a lot of it contradicts, a lot of it maybe has a suggestion in one episode, that this is who the Doctor is and then in another season by another actor, it's a completely different version. So you are really free in that role."

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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