When Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated I had no idea what would happen next. I knew Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the next Doctor. But I also knew David Tennant and Catherine Tate were returning for a trilogy of specials for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary next November. Whose face would I see when the regeneration energy faded?? In all my time watching Doctor Who, there’s never been a regeneration mystery like this! Jodie Whittaker smiled into the rising sun, arms wide…and then there was David Tennant! The announcement posted on the BBC’s Doctor Who site immediately after the episode aired made if official-official, “As Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated on Sunday 23rd October, it was none other than David Tennant who appeared as the Fourteenth Doctor.” They included a statement from Russell T Davies as well, “If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way! The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”
So, David Tennant is the Fourteenth Doctor. Ncuti Gatwa is the Fifteenth Doctor. And Russell T Davies has invited us to a year of speculation (hence my “Part 1”). How fun :D. Let’s get started!
“I wish…I wish this could last forever.” Those were the Doctor’s final words, spoken as she skipped stones on the beach with Yaz in “Legend of the Sea Devils,” her last adventure before her regeneration in “The Power of the Doctor.” The first time I watched the special I found the line poignant. The closer I got to “The Power of the Doctor,” the more I echoed her sentiment. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye! I couldn’t lose the Thirteenth Doctor! I couldn’t lose Yaz! Not yet! However, as the personification of Time itself ominously told the Doctor at the Temple of Atropos, “You can leave here, but you won’t outrun me. Your time is heading to its end.” Defiant and with more than a little fear the Doctor said, “No…it’s not. You’re wrong.” But Time solemnly replied, “Nothing is forever. No regeneration. No life.” I wish Time was wrong! But alas, the Doctor regenerated, whether I was ready for her to or not. This piece is me processing; it’s a reflection on the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration and her era of Doctor Who.
Soon (I can’t be more specific as the BBC still hasn’t released a date and time), Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate in “The Power of the Doctor,” her final special airing as part of the BBC’s Centenary Celebration. Months ago Ncuti Gatwa was announced as the Fourteenth Doctor with Russell T Davies returning as the Doctor Who showrunner. Just seven days later David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s return was also announced as part of a trio of specials for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. Speculation began immediately. Was this a missing Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble adventure? Was this an alternate universe? Or could it be possible – could it really be possible – Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor would regenerate into David Tennant’s Tenth (or Fourteenth?) Doctor before then regenerating into Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor? The latter two theories were first born from David Tennant wearing a suit and coat he never wore as the Tenth Doctor. With weeks (or days??) until “The Power of the Doctor” airs, I figured it’d be fun to write a li’l speculative piece about all this :D.
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.
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 →