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What is Jodie Whittaker's accent on Doctor Who?

The UK is a rich tapestry of nigh-incomprehensible accents.

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who
Image credit: BBC

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There are many things that make Jodie Whittaker’s time as the Doctor memorable. She was, of course, the first woman to portray the Time Lord in the long history of Doctor Who and brought a unique sense of style to the show. However, the thing that caused the most confusion among fans wasn’t how she looked – it was how she sounded.

For fans outside the UK, it might have been quite the shock when the Doctor first opened her mouth. Whittaker is famously from a small city in the north of England called Huddersfield, which sits about halfway between Sheffield and Leeds. Her West Yorkshire accent isn’t particularly thick when compared to others from the area – we’ve spent a fair amount of time in the region – but it can be a tough to understand if you’re used to the Doctor sounding more like they’re from southern England. The West Yorkshire accent isn't even the most difficult to understand in England - that honor belongs to the Brummies who hail from Birmingham.

And remember, Whittaker will be appearing later this month at Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con 2024. You can reserve Jodie Whittaker ECCC '24 Photo Ops and Autographs now to avoid waiting in line one you're at the event.

Why did Jodie Whittaker keep her West Yorkshire accent when she played the Thirteenth Doctor? She hasn’t said exactly why she didn’t adopt a more familiar English accent for the role like Scottish-born David Tennant did, but it had some advantages. Aside from simply being a new quirk of the Doctor following their regeneration, it gave some much needed representation to what is typically a deprived, underrepresented area of the UK. After all, even alien planets will have a northern region to them.

Of course, her accent has caused confusion for fans and celebrities, like when Kevin Hart admitted he couldn’t understand Whittaker while on the Graham Norton Show, but it is a testament to how many regional accents there are in the UK despite its smaller area. Ultimately, Jodie Whittaker’s West Yorkshire accent brought a unique flair to the character during her time on Doctor Who.

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