Doctor Who's Jodie Whittaker Explains How She Landed The Coveted Role

The Doctor Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who BBC America

The world has heard just about every former Doctor Who cast member's thoughts on Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor, and we've even seen a sneak peek of what to expect when she's in action for Season 11, but very little has been said about how she actually landed the coveted role. Now, Whittaker has revealed some details, saying the offer was sprung on her during a visit with now-showrunner Chris Chibnall. Whittaker, who'd thought the meet-up was tied to the two's shared former series Broadchurch, was thrown off-guard but remained eager to accept his offer: In her words:

It was hilarious because, I was going, 'Are you looking forward to starting your new job?' And he said, 'It's interesting that you bring that up. Would this be a part you'd consider auditioning for?' It took me [just] a second to go, 'I'm throwing my hat in the ring.'

Jodie Whittaker immediately accepted the offer, although the deal wasn't sealed just because she said yes. Whittaker then had to audition using a special script written by Chris Chibnall and Doctor Who executive producer Matt Strevens, which was a test to see if she could accurately capture the Doctor's wide-ranging personality and emotional states. Whittaker didn't describe anything from the scene she performed, but given her brief performance in last year's Christmas special, we can imagine it was in line with the actors who've portrayed the Doctor in the past.

Following the script-based shenanigans, Strevens and Chibnall asked Whittaker to tape herself speaking in "sci-fi gobbledygook," which is how she described it to EW. (Hilariously enough, that sounds exactly like something the Doctor would say.) Whittaker also had to pretend to diffuse a faux-bomb, which had to elevate the pressure to spurt nonsense immensely:

I had an iPhone, wires, in a box. I pretended to defuse something, and I loved it.

Jodie Whittaker was doing something quite a bit different than what she had done with Chris Chibnall when she worked on Broadchurch, and it didn't seem to rattle her much. The actress said she loved playing out the tryout scene, and apparently Chibnall and Matt Strevens loved what they saw. The duo quickly realized Whittaker was their only option for the role, and soon signed her up to be Doctor Who's first female Doctor.

Jodie Whittaker ultimately got the job, but in some universe where she missed Chris Chibnall's call, it's still incredibly likely the world would've gotten its first female Doctor. Matt Strevens revealed Whittaker wasn't the only actress he and Chibnall had audition for the role, but she was certainly the most compelling:

[Chris Chibnall and I] saw a few actresses for the part. [Jodie] was just so compelling. In a way, it was a no-brainer. The fact that we were casting a female Doctor disappeared really quickly from our minds. We were just casting the Doctor and she felt like our Doctor. [It] was the easiest decision I made in my whole career.

Doctor Who fans have already seen Jodie Whittaker a couple times as the Doctor, but they'll get their first adventure with her when Season 11 premieres on BBC America this fall. For some information on some other upcoming television, head on over to our summer premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.