Doctor Who Star Jo Martin Talks "Groundbreaking" Role, Fan Support

With Doctor Who fans expecting to hear more details on holiday special "Revolution of the Daleks" soon (reminder: only eight weeks left until the end of the year), attention slowly turns towards any and all news regarding Series 13. For us, the biggest question we need answering is if we'll be seeing more of the Doctor. No, not Jodie Whittaker (though there's no such thing as too much of her Doctor, either)- we're talking Jo Martin's Doctor, a canon-crushing incarnation of the Doctor who may very well tear up and throw out everything we thought we knew about the Doctor, the Time Lords, and Gallifrey.

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton - Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Ben Blackall/BBC Studios/BBC America
Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton – Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Ben Blackall/BBC Studios/BBC America

While we're still waiting for that answer, Martin revealed to the outpour of love and support she received from the Black geek community. "A lot of Black geeks who love sci-fi have sent me pictures of them doing cosplay. They thank me and tell me it's great that they now have someone to dress up as," Martin said. "I was a fan of 'Doctor Who' back in the day and not seeing myself on screen as a child was tough. It's an awful thing to grow up thinking it's wrong to be Black. So it's fabulous that there are now characters like this who young kids can look up to."

While not exactly what you would call similar roles, playing both the Doctor on Doctor Who and hospital CEO Max Gerry on UK medical drama Holby City does have one thing in common. "What's really special about these parts is that they're groundbreaking. No one would expect a Black, middle-aged woman to be Doctor Who, but there we have it," explained Martin. "And on American medical shows, there's a lot more black representation in terms of status. So for Holby City to have a black female CEO is an amazing thing as well. I feel honoured to be a part of both these shows and to be representing these characters. It's great for everyone."

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.

"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."

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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