This fall, in a 90 minute special airing in October as part of the BBC’s Centenary Celebration, the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate as the Fourteenth Doctor comes into being. After all the speculation as to who would follow Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in the TARDIS, the BBC announced Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the Doctor’s fourteenth regeneration (well, you know, fourteenth not counting the Fugitive Doctor, the War Doctor, the Morbius Doctors, and every incarnation of the Doctor we’ve met and/or seen alluded to with the Timeless Child). Naturally, there’ve been many pieces reporting the announcement and compiling quotes from Ncuti Gatwa, returning showrunner Russell T Davies, Jodie Whittaker, Chris Chibnall, and everyone else in the orbit of Doctor Who willing to comment on the news. This piece isn’t that. Others have written it (and have done a better job than I could (that’s not my strength as a writer)). Instead, I want to talk about feelings (much more my forte!) about this impending regeneration when our ever-changing Doctor will change once again.
On the eve of the premiere of Doctor Who: Flux, “The Halloween Apocalypse” (best. title. EVER.), I figured it was apropos to reflect on the Timeless Child. Tomorrow, the first episode of Jodie Whittaker’s final full series as the Doctor will air. Shortened due to Covid affecting filming, Doctor Who: Flux will be one single six episode serial story. It, along with three feature length specials with Jodie airing next year, will also mark the end of Chris Chibnall’s time as showrunner for Doctor Who. The Timeless Child is the largest narrative plot point developed during his time at the helm. It’s one of the most hotly debated, too. I wanted to write about it as soon as the episode aired…but I had SO MANY feelings and I had NO IDEA how to sort any of them. They needed to percolate. I needed time to think. But now, with Doctor Who: Flux about to begin, I want to discuss the Timeless Child. And, oddly enough, it was the model set in Spider-Man comics which helped me get to the point where I could see how the Timeless Child fits within the world of Doctor Who.
A little over a year ago I wrote a piece reflecting on the seemingly unbearable struggles of pandemic teaching. At the time, I used Tony Stark’s journey through Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as my frame to help me understand what I was going through and all I was feeling. Writing it was very personal and deeply cathartic. In the end, I survived last year! I didn’t quit! I even managed to find incredible beauty in all the struggle, too. Now I’m a month and a half into a new school year and, well, I thought it would be easier. Yet I find myself pulled down in this dispiriting emotional mire once more. This time Doctor Who offers a more apt lens to frame my experience. Given today is World Mental Health Day – and we’re all struggling in our own ways and we all deserve to be heard and validated in those struggles – sharing this seemed appropriate. When the school year returned, I needed the Doctor. I still do. I think we all do.
As I write this, it’s the eve of the 2020 presidential election. I’m anxious. I’m concerned. But most of all, I’m hopeful. I say that with absolute sincerity. I’m hopeful that tomorrow will yield a change of course after the last four years that have felt like fifteen. I’m hopeful. It’s a welcome feeling in an age when, for so many reasons, hope feels like a far rarer commodity than it did even just a few years ago. However, I wasn’t planning on writing tonight. I probably shouldn’t be, as I’m sure I’ll be up late watching election returns tomorrow. But I was rewatching “Orphan 55” tonight and it felt remarkably relevant. Seeing the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) navigate this hostile planet, a post began to grow. So what the heck? I guess I’ll sleep Wednesday…hopefully soundly.
Last spring, for our Fiction’s Fearless Females series, I wrote a piece about Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. In it I said she had officially taken the top place in my heart from David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t adore Ten with all my heart! I just love Thirteen more. So last week, as both Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant joined James Cordon (who was also on Doctor Who with Matt Smith!) on The Late Late Show, I was in heaven. Then I started thinking about how AMAZING it would be if we could see these two together on screen, side by side, both playing their respective Doctor. And, while I trust showrunner Chris Chibnall to pull it off far better than I could, I contemplated how I’d do it. So, as far as I’m concerned, this is how these two Doctors could meet. Continue reading
In celebration of International Women’s Day today and Women’s History Month to follow, I’ve teamed up with a group of other bloggers to write a series saluting some of our favorite female characters. Going first was a bit intimidating. Who could I write about? Who has the gravitas worthy of beginning our month-long celebration of these incredible characters? Then it hit me – it’s the Doctor! It seemed so obvious once I thought of her. So, in honor of International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and to kick-off our month-long series I’m exploring the Doctor, as portrayed by Jodie Whittaker in Series Eleven and Twelve (with more to come!) of Doctor Who. Continue reading
Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Doctor was special for me. I’ve only recently come into the world of Doctor Who, watching all ten (modern) seasons of the show last year. I began in the fall of 2017 with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor (well, technically I started with David Tennant but my friend Theresa kept making sad sighs when she heard I didn’t start at the beginning so I went back and did) and finished Peter Capaldi’s run in the spring of 2018. So Jodie Whittaker became the first Doctor I got to watch as the season aired. It was so exciting! As this eleventh season (or series if I’m being English about it) of Doctor Who unfolded, I kept thinking of a post I wrote awhile back about being exhausted by binging and streaming TV shows. Jodie Whittaker and company have consistently delivered everything I’ve come to love about a Doctor Who episode! But I think part of the magic of this season came from watching it on a weekly basis. Continue reading