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Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker's big fear was letting future Doctor Who actors down

The Doctor is an iconic role, but that wasn't the only weight on Jodie Whittaker's shoulders

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who
Image credit: BBC

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There's an excess amount of pressure when it comes to being a trailblazer, and trailblazing actor Jodie Whittaker felt that pressure when she took on the role of the Doctor - the first female Doctor - on classic sci-fi show Doctor Who. Popverse had a chance to chat with Jodie Whittaker at her Spotlight panel at Emerald City Comic Con 2024, and we asked Whittaker what she was most nervous about with taking on such an iconic role.

Whittaker shared that her biggest fear was how her performance might effect other actors' opportunities in the future, just because of how people treated her casting in the role. Whittaker said, “I always felt, and I could be totally wrong, it’s just my opinion and maybe the slightly insular thing that happens when you are panicking about playing a role and whether you’re good enough or can do it and all those things... But my main feeling was, up until the announcement of me, it was as if each individual actor had represented themselves. Matt was announced, and it was like, 'Can Matt or can David or can Chris…' Whereas the language around me was, 'Should women be given the opportunity to be the doctor?'"

This reaction had an effect on Whittaker and how she approached the project. She continued, "I felt terrified that I would let down other actors that’s what I was scared of. That if I was wrong, me as as an individual if I had made the wrong choices, that I would somehow suggest that anyone else couldn’t do it because of their gender. I felt that was my biggest fear."

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If you want to start watching Doctor Who and don't know where to start, check out our handy Doctor Who watch guide. Or maybe you're already finished with the show - We've got the perfect Ten shows to watch when you're done watching Doctor Who guide for you too. If you're already heads over heels for the Fifteenth Doctor and want to learn more about the actor playing him, check out what he's been in before here. Or maybe you just need to figure out how the new series numbering is going to work (Are there really gonna be two series 1s? Yes.) - if so, this is the explainer you want.

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