Content Warning: This article contains references to mental health and death.
One of the most inspirational actors to play ‘The Doctor’ in recent years has undoubtedly been Jodie Whittaker. As well as being a strong role model for young children everywhere, she has proven herself to have a heart of gold and delivered a highly engaging performance in the titular role.
Many fans as a result have been saddened by the news that Jodie Whittaker will be leaving the role next year, with some believing that she had plenty more to give. Nevertheless, Whittaker has still managed to achieve many great things during her time on Doctor Who, both on-screen and outside of the show.
9 Playing The First Female Doctor
Perhaps Jodie Whittaker’s greatest achievement is becoming the first female Doctor to grace the role. Before the Broadchurch actor was cast, the part had only previously been played by white British males, leading some viewers to believe the time was right for more diversity to be shown in the casting choices.
On the other hand, there were still plenty of audience members against the concept of a woman taking the lead role, making this one of the most controversial creative decisions in the show’s history. Jodie Whittaker agreeing to undertake this part was an extremely courageous move and one that made her an inspiration to many new young viewers of the show.
8 Her Speech In “The Woman Who Fell To Earth”
Every Doctor has their own defining moment that proves to the fans they are still the same person they were before reincarnating. Sometimes this arrives early in their series, and on other occasions, it can come much later, with some actors needing a little more time to get into the role.
Whittaker’s significant turning point as the Doctor came towards the end of her first episode, which IMDB considers her fifth best Doctor Who episode so far. As she confronts Tim Shaw on the crane, she gives a rousing speech about ‘sorting out fair play throughout the universe.’ Whittaker manages to capture the heart of the character with ease, as the Time Lord who never refuses to help those in trouble.
7 Her Friendship With Mandip Gill
Over the years, there have been many Doctors and companions who have established friendships outside of the show. However, perhaps none have been as strong as the off-screen friendship between Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill, who plays the Doctor’s companion Yaz. The pair appear inseparable in behind-the-scenes material and often speak highly of one another to the press.
It’s this real-life friendship that Jodie Whittaker shares with her co-star that is no doubt reflected in the clear bond between the Doctor and Yaz on TV.
6 Developing A Rapport With Bradley Walsh
When British comedian Bradley Walsh was announced as the Thirteenth Doctor’s companion Graham O’Brien in 2017, eyebrows were raised by some viewers of the hit television series. Whilst Bradley Walsh had developed a successful acting career, he had since become known mainly for his presenting work, on shows such as The Chase and Cash Trapped.
Thankfully he proved the doubters wrong, although perhaps part of the responsibility for his success as popular Doctor Who companion Graham can be attributed to Jodie Whittaker. With their chemistry particularly seen in episodes such as “Rosa” and “Resolution,” Jodie Whittaker developed quite a rapport with her co-star, with the pair providing many memorable moments.
5 Her Speech In “The Haunting Of Villa Diodati”
As much as the Doctor preaches the virtues of hope and kindness, there are still some occasions where the character gives in to the arrogance of being a Time Lord and takes a somewhat darker turn. For the Thirteenth Doctor, this came in the episode “The Haunting of Villa Diodati,” which saw the Doctor’s companion Ryan Sinclair question some of her motives.
Whittaker plays this speech brilliantly, as her Doctor finally snaps and declares herself to be at the ‘summit’ of the TARDIS team structure. The actor is clearly having a ton of fun being able to play more vicious shades of her character, and it’s chilling to watch how quickly this Doctor can crack after previously displaying a more joyful demeanor.
4 Meeting Children For Charity
Ever since the revival began, Doctor Who has retained a strong presence on the BBC’s Children In Need telethon. Since 2005, the show has presented everything from minisodes to special concerts, but perhaps the most heart-warming was “Anna’s Doctor Who Surprise,” which saw Jodie Whittaker and her co-stars meet with nine-year-old fan, Anna Mark, who has cystic fibrosis.
Jodie Whittaker displays such warmth and kindness with this young fan, taking time to not only answer her questions but to also listen and learn about her condition. The Doctor Who crew would later repeat this idea a year later in 2019, when they met the young girl Anastasia, and Jodie hands her a Sonic Screwdriver, in a move that brought tears to many viewers’ eyes.
3 Singing For Charity
In 2019, a number of big name actors from the UK’s film and television industry came together to create an album of covers in aid of Children In Need. Among them was Jodie Whittaker, who chose to cover the song ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay, in honor of her late nephew Harry, who sadly passed away at three years of age.
Whittaker’s take on this musical number proved so popular that it charted at #33 in the Official Big Top 40 charts. She gives a beautiful rendition that’s arguably better than the original and imbues the tune with so much meaning that the emotion in her voice can be heard.
2 Reprising Her Role For Maze Theory
Doctor Who has had a patchy history with videogames, so many were skeptical when gaming company Maze Theory were announced in 2019 as the developers of the VR game ‘The Edge Of Time.’ Thankfully it proved a hit with audiences, and resulted in a further two games from the company – one which contains hints for Series 13’s direction – but this may not have been the case without Jodie Whittaker’s involvement.
Whittaker provides her voice for all three games, and her voice work truly shines. Whilst her third game “The Edge Of Reality” has yet to come out, Whittaker’s performance in the previous two releases matches the tone of the videogames perfectly, and brings a bright and energetic piece of voice acting that perfectly captures her performance as the Thirteenth Doctor on TV.
1 Supporting Children’s Mental Health Week
One of the core demographics of Doctor Who‘s audience is without a doubt the children. Since the show first began, kids have been a big part of the show’s viewership, with many children looking up to the Doctor as a hero. It’s fitting, therefore, that Whittaker chose to appear in a special speech for Children’s Mental Health Week in February, in collaboration with BAFTA.
In the video, Whittaker talks about the importance of mental health and encourages young children watching to express their feelings through various creative means (such as writing, dancing, or simply by wearing a specific color). It’s a speech that the Doctor would no doubt be proud of as Whittaker talks of the significance of a ‘healthy mind’ and urges viewers to stimulate their imaginations.