After William Hartnell left Doctor Who in 1966, the show’s creators were given a chance to get creative. Instead of recasting the character with little more than a throwaway explanation, they revealed within the Doctor a unique ability: the power to regenerate into a new body. In doing this, the show has been able to survive for as long as it has (54 years), earning the rank of the longest-running television show in history. More importantly, however, it’s given audiences twelve unique takes on the character — and beginning in Christmas 2017, the show will introduce its thirteenth.
Peter Capaldi will then officially be handing over the reigns to Jodie Whittaker, the first woman ever cast in the role. He’s a lifelong fan of the show and a fan favorite himself (despite criticism over the writing he had to work with), but Whittaker may very well give him a run for his money. That may seem like nothing short of sacrilege, but the odds are actually more in her favor than Whovians might like to believe.
So, before the regeneration even takes effect, let’s go ahead and explore 16 Reasons Why Jodie Whittaker Will Be Better Than Peter Capaldi.
16. She’s Got Serious Doctor Who Connections
Jodie Whittaker may have never actually starred in Doctor Who, but that hasn’t stopped her from making solid connections with some of its all-star characters. In Broadchurch (which is in its third and final season), Whittaker stars alongside David Tennant (the 10th Doctor), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), and David Bradley (who starred in a single episode as the villainous Solomon, as well as William Hartnell in the TV movie An Adventure in Space and Time). Even Olivia Colman showed up in Matt Smith’s first episode — who Whittaker also happens to know, incidentally.
While Peter Capaldi may be the ultimate Whovian, Whittaker has some rock solid support behind her. She’s taking on a role that is 54 years strong, so anxiety is inevitable. Between staying true to the series, as well as bringing something fresh to the character, she’ll need to master some serious juggling skills. However, being friends with actual past iterations of the Doctor can’t hurt, and chances are that she’ll be willing to take all the advice that she can get.
15. She’s Got Solid Sci-Fi Street Cred
The sci-fi genre isn’t always the easiest thing to approach. Comedy and horror may come with their own hurdles in need of mastering, but science fiction can be wholly inaccessible for some. Thankfully, though, Whittaker is hardly a stranger to the genre.
In 2011, she starred in an episode of Black Mirror (back before Netflix got its hands on the series). Though not exactly the sort of sci-fi adventure that the Doctor might explore aboard his/her TARDIS, the episode in which Whittaker stars in, titled “The Entire History of You,” ought to earn her some serious credibility within the genre.
In the episode, Whittaker is (along with many others) given the ability to replay her memories. Naturally, seeing as it’s an episode of Black Mirror, things don’t turn out especially well — and the Doctor isn’t even around to save the day — but Whittaker, at the very least, has had a solid go at the world of science fiction. Which she’ll be glad to have explored once filming for the eleventh season of Doctor Who is underway.
14. She’ll Likely Benefit From The “Soft Reboot” Effect
Every so often, Doctor Who is unofficially rebooted. The first time was in 1966 with Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, and then again in 1996 with the made-for-TV movie with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, followed by the 2005 series reboot with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor. Finally, 2010 marked a sort of “soft reboot” when showrunner Steven Moffat and the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith came aboard. Though still the same show, the overall tones shifted, making way for a considerably different series altogether.
Unfortunately, Capaldi missed out on this opportunity. He entered the show near the end of Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, and ultimately rocked a sort of “same old, same old” vibe. It wasn’t his fault, but such is show business.
During its “soft reboots,” Doctor Who is at its most entertaining — which is precisely why Whittaker has an advantage. A new Doctor, new companion (possibly), and new showrunner offers potential for something Capaldi never got the chance to experience. And though his time on the show was hardly a catastrophe, Whittaker definitely has the upper hand.
13. She Has More To Prove
At 59-years-old, Peter Capaldi has been a professional actor for well over 30 years. He’s exercised his dramatic muscles, perfected his comedic timing, and sculpted an expression so striking that he ought to consider getting his own eyebrows professionally trademarked. In short, he’s been around.
Jodie Whittaker, on the other hand, is 35, with a career just over a decade long. In fact, Capaldi’s career is exactly as old as Whittaker’s been alive (in case you wanted some context). But why is this important? Capaldi’s already a seasoned actor. He’s already “been there and done that,” whereas Whittaker is still very much building her career.
Capaldi was hardly resting on his laurels during his tenure on Doctor Who, but he had already crafted a hell of a reputation in his career prior to the show. Whittaker, on the other hand, will undoubtedly put her talents to the test. Nobody just handed her this role. She fought for it. And you had better believe that she’s going to prove her worth in spades, no matter how nasty her critics may get.
12. She’s (Arguably) More Emotive Than Capaldi
Peter Capaldi is a wonderful actor. Let’s just get that out of the way. In no way whatsoever is this article trying to throw him under the bus (because we all know he’d want to be driving the bus in the first place anyway). That said, there are some creative directions that he takes in his performances that don’t necessarily line up with what we expect to see from Jodie Whittaker.
So, just as a disclaimer, nobody is saying that Capaldi can’t act — or even that he didn’t make for a solid Doctor. It’s just that Whittaker’s strengths differ a bit from Capaldi’s, which could very well be the reason Chibnall chose her in the first place. With the Doctor, different is good.
Capaldi’s biggest strength is in his line delivery. Seriously, though. He may as well be a maestro for his mouth. Whittaker, on the other hand, is an emotional powerhouse. In Broadchurch, Venus (which she starred in alongside the late Peter O’Toole), and Adult Life Skills, to name just a few noteworthy roles, she’s stolen the show more often than not. Bringing this dramatic energy to Doctor Who will definitely do a kind of justice to the character that Capaldi may not have tackled as strongly.
11. She And Chris Chibnall Already Have A Seasoned Working Relationship
Whittaker’s most notable role in her career so far is arguably the character Beth Latimer from Broadchurch. A grieving mother awaiting the truth behind her son’s killer, Whittaker’s portrayal is devastating, to say the least. So, for anyone wondering if she has what it takes to live up to the acting caliber set forth from the previous twelve actors portraying the Doctor, fear not. She is more than capable.
However, what’s especially noteworthy regarding her role in Broadchurch is the fact that its showrunner, Chris Chibnall, is also joining Team TARDIS. In fact, he’s the one who hired her.
Their work relationship has proven to hold some considerable weight, and one can only assume that this will do wonders for the future of Doctor Who. These two have a strong working relationship, and it’s safe to say that their compatibility will significantly aid in how they tackle the character. The Doctor is the Doctor, but with each iteration comes some new quirks, and it’s safe to assume that the quirks they come up with will be exactly what the Doctor ordered.
10. She’ll Bring More Humanity To The Role
If there had to be one major critique concerning Capaldi’s take on the Doctor, it’s that he wasn’t as concerned with individual lives as he was with the masses. Though he may have had a point (sacrificing one life for the lives of many is certainly the logical thing to do), he exposed a distinct lack of humanity in his character. Over his three-year arc, he softens up a bit, but at his core, the 12th Doctor came off a bit heartless at times (despite having two hearts of his very own).
While it’s anyone’s guess what sort of quirks Whittaker will ultimately bring to her interpretation of the character, it’s safe to say that she’ll take individual lives into consideration far more than her predecessor did.
Regeneration offers up the potential to fix whatever issues a previous incarnation of the Doctor might have had. In fact, he even calls himself out a few times for being a bit insensitive some of the time, so there is a solid chance that a less hard-hearted take on the Doctor is a future worth betting on.
9. She’s More Culturally Relevant
No offense to Peter Capaldi, but age isn’t always easy to hide. It’s also not easy to sell. And seeing as Doctor Who is a fictional property relying on the masses to tune in and give the BBC enough faith to keep it on the air, casting is key. And as an extension, so is relevancy.
Again, this isn’t meant to be a jab at Capaldi himself, but at the way the world works. On one hand, you have a gentleman whose age isn’t exactly a secret, and on the other hand, you have a young up-and-comer eager to prove herself. Though there’s no guarantee that Whittaker will draw in a larger audience on account of her youth, married with the fact that she’s jumping off the success of Broadchurch definitely helps in her defense.
Jodie Whittaker is simply more culturally relevant than Peter Capaldi, so in terms of what can make for a more exciting take on the character, this simple fact may actually do wonders (though a sincere apology to the Capaldi loyalists of the world is definitely in order).
8. She’ll Be More Physical
Speaking of age, Capaldi has been more than open about the physical toll that playing the Doctor has taken on him. The stunts he’s had to perform were by no means the reason he decided to leave the show, but a man nearing 60 can only do so much. Citing Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t count.
If you hadn’t already noticed, Capaldi goes from flying out of an airplane in his first season to spending most of his time bound to chairs in his last. That isn’t exactly happenstance. That’s the body begging for some R&R.
Now, not to be ageist, but it’s safe to say that Whittaker will have a noticeably easier job in performing physical stunts, which means that audiences will most likely be getting a considerably more active Doctor. And while it’s true that Doctor Who isn’t necessarily a show centered around high-octane action, a bit of vigor can’t hurt.
7. She’ll Have An Easier Job Relating To Younger Characters (And Audiences)
In the fourth episode of season 10, titled “Knock Knock,” the Doctor starts to become aware of just how old he really is. Trying to hang out with a group of college students proves to be more difficult than he had imagined — what with them saying that he looks old enough to be their grandfather. This isn’t the first time that the Doctor’s age has been the focus of a conversation, but it’s definitely been the most blatant in terms of making him feel as though he didn’t fit in.
This is where the 13th Doctor stands to reap some benefits. No longer grey in the hair/looking the part of a seasoned college professor (which is exactly how the Doctor bides his time in Season 10), Jodie Whittaker stands to bring some refreshing youth into the character. Which honestly stands to benefit the Doctor in the long run.
To be a time and space-traveling alien, fitting in helps. So, even though there are plenty of Classic Who loyalists happy to see the Doctor stepping in the shoes of an older man, the times they are a-changin’, and it’s about time the Doctor starts leveling with the younger folk on his/her travels.
6. This Isn’t Her First Rodeo With Aliens
Few characters are more familiar with extraterrestrial creatures than the Doctor. So, with that being the case, it helps that Jodie Whittaker isn’t exactly a stranger to space aliens herself. Though she’s never had to fend off against Weeping Angels or Daleks before, she did help fight off a horde of savage space monsters in the 2011 sci-fi comedy Attack the Block.
Starring alongside John Boyega (who would later get launched into stardom as Finn in The Force Awakens), Whittaker plays Sam, a nurse who ends up getting mugged on her way home from work. However, the robbery doesn’t go quite as planned when an alien falls from the sky (you know, as they do), forcing Sam and her ragtag band of muggers to fend off the oncoming storm of extraterrestrials.
There aren’t any sonic screwdrivers to speak of, and her character doesn’t have a PhD, but a degree in Nursing, but she proved how capable she can be when extraterrestrials strike.
5. She Won’t Be Quite As Intimidating
It’s safe to say that Peter Capaldi is kind of… scary. Right? Once you get to know him, there are obvious comedic and warm-hearted undertones, but on the surface, everything about him is very sharp and harsh and even a little threatening.
Maybe it’s the eyebrows.
He’ll do his best as the Doctor to hopefully save the day (as he tends to), but there’s no escaping the fact that he is not your average hero. Whittaker, on the other hand, seems like someone who can really fix a situation. She feels like a proper doctor.
It’s one thing to bring unique elements to the Doctor, but making him coarse and unlikable isn’t one of them. In his first season, especially, Capaldi verges far too heavily on being too alien for his own good — and for the audience’s own good. Whittaker seems like the kind of Doctor who’d want to take someone on an adventure. Capaldi was often the Doctor who simply wanted to pick a fight.
4. She’ll Likely Last Longer Than Capaldi
As far along into his career as he is, Capaldi could have easily remained the Doctor for as long as he was allowed to. He’s already proven his worth among fellow thespians, so if he decided to go all out on playing the Doctor, then nothing but the BBC’s interference would stop him. That said, it turns out that Capaldi never intended to spend very long in the TARDIS. Having consulted with other actors who have played the character, he decided that bowing out was the best move to make.
Whittaker, on the other hand, is no stranger to television, nor is she in any rush. Doctor Who has made plenty of actors famous, and with each passing season, the show’s quality has only gotten more refined. In short, any actor would be lucky to play the Doctor. So, given her youthful zest, and assuming that audiences take kindly to her portrayal, Whittaker stands to pilot the TARDIS for quite a solid chunk of time.
3. Capaldi Is Growing Progressively Jaded
For whatever reason, Peter Capaldi is growing tired of playing the Doctor. At first, casting him in the role seemed like a match made in heaven, but the few years that he’s been in the role have proven otherwise in certain ways.
Where once there was magic resides only a jaded heart. Or two. Capaldi has stated he’s not necessarily tired of being the Doctor, but he understands that that time may come. He wants to leave before it all begins getting too repetitive. Which you might argue is already happening with him…
This is precisely why it’s time for some new blood. It’s time that the role was given to someone who sees nothing but potential in the character. Doctor Who is a show about exploration and wonder, and Jodie Whittaker, while not necessarily someone who is simply “happy to be here,” has the potential to embrace exploration and wonder with open arms.
2. She Won’t Feel As Restricted To The Source Material
Peter Capaldi has been a fan of Doctor Who since he was a wee lad. In fact, he was even called out on The Graham Norton Show for penning a letter to the BBC, thanking them for creating the show. On top of that, he wanted very badly to be the head of a Doctor Who fan club. That’s right. Not just a member, but the man in charge. (It didn’t ultimately pan out as successfully as his younger self would have liked, but the point is that Peter Capaldi is as hardcore a fan as hardcore fans can be.)
Now, enter Jodie Whittaker. As much of a fan as anyone else growing up in the UK, she was by no means on the level of Capaldi. But that’s a good thing. While Capaldi may have wanted very dearly to do justice to the legacy that Doctor Who has created over the past half-century, Whittaker will ultimately bring something fresh. She won’t be nearly as restricted in her portrayal by staying too true to the original, so to speak, and as a result, the show can do exactly what it absolutely needs to do: evolve.
1. A Female Doctor Opens Up A World Of Possibilities
No time like the present to tackle the elephant in the room, eh?
While Doctor Who has reminded audiences time and time again that gender means practically nothing to a Time Lord’s regeneration process, there are still plenty of people criticizing the casting of Jodie Whittaker. For the sake of brevity, though, let’s do the right thing and ignore the haters. Doctor Who may be a show centered around the concept of weaving forward and backwards through time, but this is still a topic that really isn’t worth anybody’s time.
Since this is the first time that the Doctor has ever been portrayed as a woman, there will be obvious changes. There is no denying the fact that a female Doctor lends itself to new layers being revealed within the character. How will traveling into the past affect the Doctor now that he is a she? How will it affect her relationships? And more importantly, how will it affect the way in which she’s treated by others?
We wish nothing but the best for Jodie Whittaker during her run as the Doctor, but in terms of how her gender will affect the character, it seems that only time will tell.
Are you a Capaldi loyalist who has some serious beef with these points? Don’t be shy — sound off in the comments!
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